Race leader Cheminées Poujoulat is positioned nicely ahead of a strong cold front, making a fast pace east in relatively flat water and building NW winds. The same cold front has just passed Neutrogena, giving them a strong SW wind with which to sail northeast toward New Zealand. Further back, the rest of the fleet is getting overtaken by a series of fast moving fronts.
Neutrogena, Guillermo Altadill and José Munoz, pitstopped into Bluff - a port 30 kms by road from Invercarcgill - at 0522hrs UTC this Friday morning. The duo came in in 12kts of breeze and clock is now ticking to make sure they can resume racing at 0522hrs Saturday morning. The Neutrogena team had technicians on the dock ready to fix their engine problems and give the IMOCA 60 a good once over. They suspended racing just at the entrance to the harbour.
Race leader Cheminees Poujoulat is riding strong winds in the wake of a sub-Tropical low which moved into the Wílies yesterday. The pack south of NZ is negotiating a high pressure area with lighter winds. Further back, the Wílies remain active with a couple of weather systems, generally support fresh winds downwind sailing conditions.
News Flash: Renault Captur turn back to pitstop in New Zealand Following damage to their starboard rudder which became obvious between Sunday 15th and Monday 16th February Jorg Riechers (GER) and Sébastien Audigane on Renault Captur have made the decision to reroute to New Zealand to undertake a technical pit stop to try and make a more effective repair. The duo, racing in fourth place in the Barcelona World Race, were 585 miles SE of the southerly tip of South Island NZ at 0500hrs UTC. They believe it will take them between two and three days, sailing in mainly favourable SW and S'ly breezes which look set to become lighter as they close to New Zealand, to reach a suitable landfall. Riechers and Audigane have attempted two repairs to the rudder blade so far but the boat has proven uncontrollable at higher speeds. Further information will be issued shortly.
Winds for most of the fleet are good, except around New Zealand. A complex high pressure is expanding light winds south to near the ice boundary. This will be a challenge for We Are Water as they work to pass south of New Zealand. But it will be particularly difficult situation for Renault Captur as they sail toward New Zealand for repairs. A front and possibly low will move toward southeast New Zealand on Saturday, with new breeze arriving.
The boats east of the dateline are making rapid progress now in favorable winds. A very strong storm is expected to pass from north to south between race leader, Cheminées Poujoulat, and the chasing two. Further back, Renault Captur is facing some headwinds on their sail toward Wellington, as a minor low pressure sits between them and New Zealand South Island. At the back, a strong cold front will give Spirit of Hungary some gale to storm force winds.
Renault Captur were approaching Wellington NZ this Saturday afternoon ready to set in motion their plan to repair their damaged starboard rudder blade. With 60 miles to go, sailing upwind in a short, choppy sea at the eastern entrance to the Cook Strait, Jorg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane confirmed once again that they aim to be finished their technical pit stop and on their way during Monday. "We are calm and determined to stay in the race." they said as they prepared to make their New Zealand landfall.
Renault Captur arrived in Wellington at 23H04UTC on Saturday 22nd of February the start of their technical pit stop where they aim to have their starboard rudder repaired and also sort out the problem with their keel. When they last communicated Jorg Riechers and Sésbastien Audigane were in very positive spirits and ready to make sure their pitstop is as quick and efficient as possible. Meantime they have dropped to sixth on the rankings with One Planet, One Ocean Pharmaton up to fifth.
Hungarian Skipper Nandor Fa and Kiwi co-skipper Conrad Colman on board Spirit of Hungary have tonight confirmed a pitstop in Invercargill, New Zealand, to get a replacement part for a jammed and broken halyard lock slide. After both co-skippers repeated attempts to release the damaged slide have failed, this technical stopover has become inevitable.
After at least four mast climbs between them, Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman have made the hard decision last night (UTC) to bring Spirit of Hungary to Invercargill, South Island NZ, for a minimum downtime techncial pit stop to remove and then repair or replace a damaged, jammed halyard lock car on their mast.