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Sail-World.com : Barcelona World Race fleet facing brutal conditions

Barcelona World Race fleet facing brutal conditions

'Toño Piris and Pachi Rivero, Renault Z.E.'    Patrick Thierry / Barcelona World Race

Barcelona World Race day 102.

Renault Z.E and are expected to break the finish line off Barcelona between 0700hrs and 1000hrs local time Friday. At the time of publication, they had less than 100 miles of Mediterranean between them, the finish line and third place.


Childhood friends who met at the age of seven or eight in Santander, the duo have been enduring a final slow sub-five knots drift northwards since the Balearics in only light breezes, covering only 20 miles this afternoon.

It is a startling contrast to the brutal conditions which were encountered by Estrella Damm in the Straits of Gibraltar yesterday, with Pepe Ribes reporting this morning that he and co-skipper Alex Pella had made 23 tacks in the 30 hours since Gibraltar, but the quieter conditions this afternoon were a welcome relief to the Barcelona based duo, who – true to their promises – look set to take the advantage of an equable routing past Calpe, on the peninsula just WSW of Ibiza, - where Ribes grew up and first sailed his Optimist as a nipper.

Estrella Damm was only 12 miles off this afternoon, with their friends and rivals on Renault Z.E more than 100 miles to their north. For sure the dream of a podium place was finally blown away by the strong Levant of the last few days. Estrella Damm are expected in Barcelona Saturday morning, early.

Expected sometime between late Sunday and mid Monday, Neutrogena’s Ryan Breymaier said today that despite their keel problems which have compromised their attack in the Atlantic since Cape Horn, he and Boris Herrmann will get off their 2004 Lombard design with their heads high, content that they have made their best possible race. Their race strategy and execution has attracted widespread admiration, and their worries, concerns and regrets are already squared away.

'We have to reflect on how lucky we are to be doing this, more than anything at this point. I do think we have sailed a good race. With the tool that we have, we have done as well as people would expect and a little bit below the expectations we had set for ourselves privately. I wish we had not broken the keel because it would have made the last bit a lot easier. In any case it is a nice feeling to be where we are.

I don’t want to jinx us, but being a comfortable amount ahead of Dee and the other guys out of reach more or less, then we are just sailing our own race, having a chilled out time and just getting there, preserving the boat, doing our thing and seeing how the cards fall. That has been the philosophy the whole time.

As they say……. shit happens, and it happened to us with the keel, but there is nothing you can do about it, we were sailing fairly gently when it happened and it is just one of those things.

So I don’t think either of us will look back on it and think we did not do our best, or give it everything, we could have done better, should have done better, would have done better. I think we get off the boat and feel pretty happy with the performance of our first non-stop around the world for sure.'

So the final weekend miles in the Med should be ones to enjoy for Boris and Ryan. But, as Breymaier’s wife warns: 'I don’t think even the arrival of the US President himself would get between him and a cold beer and a kebab.!'

And for Wouter Verbraak, in search of the stronger trade winds today, late Friday or Saturday should see Hugo Boss pass the latitude of the Cape Verde Islands, the point at which the Dutch navigator was supposed to be replaced by Alex Thomson: 'That will be quite a strange point to the one that I had to tell my wife I am not coming home in two days, but in 102 days.'

Ryan Breymaier (USA) Neutrogena:'We are feeling pretty good about getting back. We are still in good shape, we have had our share of difficulties, it is nice to be getting close, the conditions are not that bad for us at the moment, we are going upwind at the moment, we have nice waves and so it is quite easy actually even

We are expecting something normal around 35-40kts this will be the fifth time in a year, but each time we have had plenty of breeze either out or on the way back in. It says 30 on the forecast and the gusts will be to 40, that is what expecting and we set up with three reefs and the Solent and then in the Alboran Sea it should be something only like 20kts so that’ll be nice to keep us moving. We have to reflect on how lucky we are to be doing this, more than anything at this point.

I do think we have sailed a good race. With the tool that we have, we have done as well as people would expect and a little bit below the expectations we had set for ourselves privately. I wish we had not broken the keel because it would have made the last bit a lot easier. In any case it is a nice feeling to be where we are. I don’t want to jinx us, but being a comfortable amount ahead of Dee and the other guys out of reach more or less, then we are just sailing our own race, having a chilled out time and just getting there, preserving the boat. That has been the philosophy the whole time.

As they say shit happens, and it happened to us with the keel, but there is nothing you can do about it, we were sailing fairly gently when it happened and it is just one of those things. So I don’t think either of us will look back on it and think we did not do our best, or give it everything, we could have done better, should have done better, would have done better. I think we get off the boat and feel pretty happy with the performance of our first non-stop around the world for sure.'

Wouter Verbraak (NED) Hugo Boss:'We should see the trade winds back with us soon and we will be bouncing upwind soon. We are enjoying the lighter conditions. One thing that we do have to do is do a bit of a tidy up, on deck we have a lot of smelly flying fish and seaweed.

We are still counting up at the moment, we reckon on 110 days. We hope we are in for Easter it is a very special day and want to be in then for sure.

The daily routine consists of approximately three hours on, three hours off, and at around two or three o’clock in the afternoon we have lunch. And we sit around drinking tea and talking stories until dinner, about eight o’clock. It is quite a sociable routine and then we get back into the watch system.

Getting through Gibraltar I am not too worried about. I have been through ten times and sometimes it has been really windy so I am not too concerned, if it is not it is a bonus. If it is slow to the finish then, that is just the way it is.

The outside world is a real surprise when we get to land, apparently half the world is on fire and we just are sitting here worrying about a flying fish hitting us on the head, so it is quite a different world.

We are for sure desperate for any contact with the outside world it is something that we notice on this long journey we feel so isolated, we are social animals, a social species and we like human interaction. It will be strange to pass the Cape Verde Islands too, the point that I had to tell my wife I am not coming home in two days, but in 102 days.'

www.barcelonaworldrace.org




by Barcelona World Race

  

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6:38 PM Thu 7 Apr 2011 GMT






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