Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam lead the Barcelona World Race from the Indian Ocean into the Pacific Ocean at 2130hrs UTC Monday night with a lead of over 240 miles ahead of Guillermo Altadill and Jose Munoz on Neutrogena.
As if on cue Stamm and Le Cam were greeted by a moderating sea state, a glimpse of blue skies and even slants of occasional sunshine as they closed their Indian Ocean odyssey with a 48 hours spell of their quickest sailing yet. Their best 24hrs run of the race, 479 miles, in the period up to 1900hrs yesterday evening.
The Spanish-Chilean pair Altadill and Munoz show every sign of keeping up the relentless pressure that they have maintained on the leaders so far. As the strong breeze abated and the seas dropped, Neutrogena rallied with a 14 miles gain this morning. They too passed into the Pacific at speed, crossing the 146 deg E longitude at 1020hrs UTC, after also passing some 400 miles south of Hobart.
The Cheminées Poujoulat duo were pleased to have passed into the Pacific - even if Jean Le Cam sounded fatigued and typically downbeat - it is the first of three big moments this week for the leaders. This Tuesday afternoon they had about 250 miles to make to the midpoint of the theoretical course distance which is now 23440 miles. And racing at 152 deg East, Le Cam was looking forwards to the AntiMeridian or International Date Line, which he said they anticipate later in the week, in around 60 hours. By whatever measure chosen certainly by the week's end they should be getting ever closer to home than further away.
For the chasing pack such milestones are often an important boost to morale, making their own targets feel that much closer.
Monster at Leeuwin Longitude for GAES
In turn GAES Centros Auditivos passed their second Great Cape together early this morning. Anna Corbella and Gerard Marin crossed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin at 0045hrs UTC. The duo took time when they could to celebrate with a photo and some jamon, but they had a very tough night which was precluded by a 'monster' squall, according to Corbella:
" The first squall came as we expected, stronger though, sailing with a sailplan which would take us to 28kts, reef and A7. and then when I was sleeping I heard Gerard shouting:
" I looked across to the wind indicator and, shit, it said 47kts. I got out as fast as I could and saw Gerard on the helm. Fully concentrated to not lose control. I told him to hang on and I would roll away the sail myself. It is not wise to go on to the pilot. Bearing in mind I was asleep two minutes ago I was on the pedestal winch and was amazed at the speed I could turn it when I needed to. I kept on and on with all my strength thinking it would be rolled in, but it was not. I looked through the hail and could see that the furler had broken. "
Corbella is about four days quicker to Cape Leeuwin than the last edition which she sailed with British mentor Dee Caffari. She and Marin have made more miles on fourth placed Renault Captur. Jorg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane had around 100 miles to the Cape Leeuwin line this morning and were making 14.8kts to GAES 15+kts.
Jean Le Cam, FRA, Cheminées Poujoulat:
Conditions in the Pacific ?
"The skies have cleared a bit, we have winds of 20-25 knots and downwind at the moment. These are better conditions now as the last few days have been a bit hard. The seas have calmed down a bit an hour or two ago. You get used to everything so it feels OK. It does not feel so bad after two days of big winds, so it is not too bad, there is some blue skies and even some sunshine."
High speeds, conditions or pushing hard?
"We’re not quite as fast as we have been, but that’s fine. The sea is calmer though, which should allow us to go faster again. The seas were good before and meant we could go faster. It is always the sea state and not the wind which slows boats down. At times you just cannot fight it."
How do you sail as the hunted rather than the hunter?
It is better this than the opposite, right? But they are quick too. You have to watch them too. It is not easy.
Pacific and almost at the midway point, how does it feel?
"We will have had a real good look at the boat and taken stock. It's all OK. The diesel level is good. We have checked the main things. We will pass the Anti Meridian in 60 hours, we are at 151 deg east, so in 60 hours we will move from east to west.
"Today it does not feel cold at all. As soon as the N'ly winds it is OK, pretty good, but then we will have a bit of time with the S'ly and they come straight off the ice. Then it's cold. So then we dress up warm, and we have a little heater which is good. You put it on it dries the inside of the boat, it is nice. And to sleep it is good too. It is great, Meantime we are all good, a bit tired after a hard day, but no worries."
Willy Garcia, ESP, We Are Water:
" We are well, we have good sailing conditions right now. For the next few days we are going to have more wind from the NW, and for Friday strong NW winds. At least that wind is from the back, so we will make a lot of miles.
For the first days in the Indian Ocean you are impressed so much by the cold, the grey skies and the seas, the waves are high and there is always more wind in the forecast. But in a few days you get used to sailing here. Tonight we will have 25 to 30kts and for Friday 30-35kts. At the beginning of the cold days we ran the heater for a day and after that it stopped. So it would not switch on again but thanks to the help of our technical team and Cheminées Poujoulat's we can have it running. It is very important now and for the days to come. Every four days we email to One Planet One Ocean and also to Cheminées Poujoulat, sometimes with GAES also.
We are very, very, very happy with our race. For us it was just great to be at the start, now to be in the south, near to Australia is nearly a dream.
Anna Corbella, ESP, (GAES Centros Auditivos):" We finally left behind the 'monster' which made us suffer so much these last few hours. We are now in the back of the front a bit. The first squall came as we expected, stronger though, sailing with a sailplan which would take us to 28kts, reef and A7. and then when I was sleeping I heard Gerard shouting:
I looked across to the wind indicator and, shit, it said 47kts. I got out as fast as I could and saw Gerard on the helm. Fully concentrated to not lose control. I told him to hang on and I would roll away the sail myself. It is not wise to go on to the pilot. Bearing in mind I was asleep two minutes ago I was on the pedestal winch and was amazed at the speed I could turn it when I needed to. I kept on and on with all my strength thinking it would be rolled in, but it was not. I looked through the hail and could see that the furler had broken. Another thing to fix. Luckily the squall passed over us quickly and we waited for the night. And what a night it has been, a real show of big winds and waves!
Ranking at 1400hrs UTC Tuesday 10th February 2015 :
1. Cheminées Poujoulat (B Stamm – J Le Cam) at 11941,5 miles from finish
2. Neutrogena (G Altadill – J Muñoz) at 219,6 miles to leader
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella – G Marin) at 1401,1 miles to leader
4. Renault Captur (J Riechers – S Audigane) at 1698,2 mlles to leader
5. We Are Water (B Garcia – W Garcia) at 2332,7 miles to leader
6. One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert – D Costa) at 3251,9 miles to leader
7. Spirit of Hungary (N Fa – C Colman) at 3908,8 miles to leader