Pacific Beckons

Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam set the fastest 24 hours run of this edition of the Barcelona World Race so far making 478 miles to 1400hrs this Monday afternoon on Cheminées Poujoulat.

News FEB 9, 2015 16:57

The Swiss-French duo should enter into the Pacific Ocean early tomorrow morning and hold a lead of 237 nm over second placed Neutrogena.  The race's only two paired skippers who are both aged over 50, racing at near 50 degrees south the vastly experienced pairing have been able to maintain high averages propelled by favourable conditions on the leading edge of a low pressure system. Cheminées Poujoulat have gained an extra 26 miles on their margin to Guillermo Altadill and Jose Munoz over that same period.

Their 24 hrs maximum for this edition of the Barcelona World Race still falls about 38 miles short of the 24 hours record for the race which was set on January 22nd 2011 by Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron. But for comparison their IMOCA 60 Virbac Paprec 3 was a brand new generation at the time, whilst the current Cheminées Poujoulat was launched in 2007 as Michel Desjoyeaux's Vendée Globe winning Farr designed Foncia. Stamm has been quicker before, setting his own mark at 507 miles solo in the Vendée Globe in December 2012.
 will pass into the Pacific in good shape. Last time they sailed this stretch of water they were fifth and sixth in the Vendée Globe, Stamm lead his current co-skipper by more than 700 miles.

Comparisons for this race with previous editions of the Barcelona World Race become more and more difficult in real terms now. In fact the real pace set by Stamm and Le Cam is close to that of the race leaders in 2010-2011 but recall that Dick and Peyron stopped into Recife for 48 hours. And now, from this point as they enter the Pacific, in previous editions the leaders would be starting an ascent north to pass through the Cook Straits between North and South Islands New Zealand. This is the first edition to pass directly south of New Zealand, trimming about 2000 miles off the original course distance. And of course Dick and Peyron also made a technical stop in New Zealand. So for sure, this race should be faster and it is already closer between first and second.
The intensity for the battle for third and fourth has also been raging harder these past 36 hours because of the tough, strong wind conditions which have been affecting GAES Centros Auditivos and Renault Captur. Fourth placed Renault Captur's German co-skipper Jorg Riechers was succinct when asked today how conditions are:
"Windy"  He replied.

And when posed the relatively standard off the shelf question by a young Spanish school pupil by satellite phone today, 'what has been your worst moment of the race so far?' Riechers responded that last night's big gybe had been pretty hairy. In big seas and winds to 55kts, the southern ocean rookie was not sounding too enamoured with the the notoriously hostile region baring its teeth.

Skippers quotes:

Sébastien Audigane (Renault Captur) :
Weather conditions
We have between 25 and 40 knots of wind from the SW. It’s tending to shift a bit. A while ago, we gybed. During the night we had to gybe close to the exclusion zone. We had a good angle from the NW and during the night, we don’t know why, it backed to the west, which meant we lost a lot of miles to GAES, as it looks like they stayed longer in the NW than us. This morning the westerly is due to back SW’ly and that seems to be happening now, so we have gybed again. These are fairly tricky conditions with 7-8m high waves and heavy squalls. During the night we had up to 57 knots. It is calming down during the day.

Ok on board?
Everything is fine. It’s not very comfortable though. We have got ourselves organised and do watches for an hour and a half to two hours. It all depends.

Attack GAES?
We don’t really feel like we are on the attack. We have been sailing rather cautiously except on two occasions. Once yesterday evening and once a couple days ago. These were short periods during which we set the cursor a bit higher, but it didn’t last very long. The rest of the time, we have played it safe. In any case, the conditions mean you can’t go crazy. You have to keep an eye on the equipment. We haven’t really gone on the attack. We just find the right angle carrying out gybes. So far, we have coped well and were a bit disappointed by what happened during the night, as we had a decent angle, but the weather is like that. Maybe it was because we were further south and west than GAES… It doesn’t matter that much. There is still a long way to go and plenty to do.
I’m still not feeling cold. It is cooler now, but it’s not that bad for the moment. Yesterday evening I changed foulies. I put on the dry suit, but I still have a thin fleece on and one under layer. It’s very wet inside the boat. The duvets are really wet outside we have to protect them in a bag. It is the atmosphere you expect in the south. It isn’t that cold, but we closed the watertight doors to get some warmth and we have two protective tarpaulins outside which stop the cold and damp from getting in. Apart from that we’re getting ourselves some hot food and that seems to be the solution for the moment.

Anna Corbella (ESP) GAES Centros Auditivos:" We have gone from the tropical summer to the winter. Now we have 30-35 knots of wind. Now it’s easing, we have had up to 45 knots a while ago, with showers and some hail also, and a very difficult sea, with very big waves. It hasn’t been easy for the boat, but now we are passing it and it seems the wind will go down a bit.
We are not cold at the moment and we do have heating. We can’t have it switched on all the time because it works with diesel, but till now we have saved a lot of diesel and we have enough to be able to use the heating till cape Horn, something like 2 hours each night. Apart  from giving us some warmth, what it also does is to dry the boat inside and then all the electronics work better. The cold for the moment is not a problem."

Standings at 1400hrs UTC Monday 9th February 2015.
1 Cheminées Poujoulat (B. Stamm - J. Le Cam) at 12.362,9 miles to finish.
2 Neutrogena (G. Altadill - J. Muñoz) + 236,8 miles to leader
3 GAES Centros Auditivos (A. Corbella - G. Marín) + 1.344,0 miles to leader
4 Renault Captur (J. Riechers - S. Audigane) + 1.592,0 miles to leader
5 We Are Water (B. Garcia - W. Garcia) + 2.181,5 miles to leader
6 One Planet, One Ocean & Pharmaton (A. Gelabert - D. Costa) + 3.190,6 miles to leader
7 Spirit of Hungary (N. Fa - C. Colman) + 3.719,9 miles to leader
ABD Hugo Boss (A. Thomson - P. Ribes)