Virbac-Paprec Sailing Team passed the Barcelona World Race Crozet ice gate before the storm forecast! The duo is relatively relieved, since they did not get to close grips with it, i.e. head wind and waves; which would have been a very difficult and demanding situation for Virbac-Paprec 3.
However, they will be sailing in strong weather downwind for 12 hours. The leaders have prepared their boat accordingly, since they are wary of the Indian Ocean, which they often describe as dangerous. Official radio contact with Loïck Peyron this lunchtime:
'It is true that we passed through a narrow weather band. The big thing is when the precautionary principle creates a dangerous situation (editor’s note: the ice gates); it’s the debate of the 20th century. As Mr Attali wrote on the subject, when Mr Volt and Mr Watt invented electricity, if they had known that this would result in a million deaths by eletrocution in the century to come, we would not have allowed it. Yesterday, passing this notorious ice gate came close to resulting in a disastrous consequence. We made it just in time.
Now, we are more relaxed than before passing the gate. It is true that we prefer to have foul weather at our backs than head on. The wind should strengthen again during the night and in the 12 hours to come. On board, we have prepared the rigging: 3 reefs* and staysail (headsail). We have just prepared the fourth reef. If and when the wind strengthens, which is likely to happen, we will change this small head sail for the smallest orange sail on board, which likes to be taken out every now and then: the storm jib.'
* to take in a reef is to reduce the surface of the mainsail