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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hooligan Wins Audi Victoria Week

Marcus Blackmore, owner of TP52 Hooligan on winning Audi Victoria Week
Photo: Lulu Roseman
“We’re very happy as we set this regatta as a target to win and we managed to achieve that so that makes us all very happy," Blackmore said while enjoying a few cold ones on Australia Day with his crew.

“The boat is obviously going well. We have a good boat and I don’t think there is any doubt about that. But you only had to be out on the track to see the crew work which was very good during this regatta like the mark rounds and there the sort of places you win and lose races and pick up valuable seconds, probably more so than on the beat or the run unless you’re going the wrong way. I’m indebted to my crew to what I think was an outstanding performance.
Photo: Lulu Roseman
“We had Tom Slingsby on tactics, who has just won Rolex ISAF Sailor of the Year, the first Australian to do so and I think re really warrants the title. He sees wind shifts and he was picking wind speeds to half a knot and he’d say to me ‘I think that is down nine knots and I think it will go down half a knot ‘ and I couldn’t see a damn thing when I was looking out there. He made quite a contribution for us this regatta.

Blackmore is a patron of the Australian Sailing Team and is keen for Olympians like Slingsby to sail with his crew when they can get them. "Their primary commitment of course is to get to the Olympics. Tom will be on board again but not all the time."
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Since taking delivery of the boat that dominated the Audi Med Cup TP52 Circuit in 2009/2010 as Emirates Team New Zealand, Blackmore has built a team comprising of six crew that sailed with him when he raced his Mumm 36 about fifteen years ago.

“They include Doug Pratt, Tim Sheridan, Billy Merrington and Richie Alleson from North Sails. The guys are the core crew and we bring in some outside help that we did last year for the Rolex Trophy. The boat is not new and yes it has been a great performing boat and we had ETNZ’s Tony Rae for that regatta who was regular onboard at MedCup. Tyson, from South Australia who was involved in the build and is now our forward hand so we had a nucleus of people who know the boat. It’s two year’s old so it wasn’t like putting a brand new boat in the water.
Photo: Lulu Roseman
“I think we knew what we were doing we just needed to sail a bit more together and we only had a few hours to do that so winning here in Geelong certainly exceeded our expectations. I think we’ve really sailed well and that’s the difference in this regatta.

“Tom really did quite well. On the last day the others went for the boat end on the start line and we went to the pin end and as it turned out that was the place to be. In short racing like that the start is terribly important and the conditions were very shifty."
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Blackmore laughed when he recalled one particular highlight during the week where all the crew stay together in the same apartment.

“That is part of our team plan and we meet there every night for dinner. One of our guys, Tim Sheridan, aka Rubsy, is a bit of a character and he had the movie Wind with him. It’s about the 1987 America’s Cup in Freemantle. Anyway, Rubsy has a speaking part in that movie and while it was a long time ago, it was one of the funniest things to watch. I think if there was any defining thing that happened during the week it was the laughter and the psychology of that that gave us a lift.”

Lulu Roseman

Monday, January 24, 2011

F18 Australian Champions Reveal All

Winners Are Grinners
Photo: Lulu Roseman
What the winning Father/Son Team Greg and Brett Goodall said after winning their first Australian F18 National Champions.
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Greg Goodall:

“It’s been a long time coming as we have been the maiden in five Nationals before and it was great to finally get across the line and win it.

“This was a good tough regatta with very trying conditions the whole time and the whole weekend.

“We started the regatta pretty badly with a 13th in the first race on Saturday and we thought that wasn’t all bad as then we knew exactly where we shouldn’t be going on the course because we found every hole and every wrong way to go you could have found and we did that and then we won the next race followed by a second and a fifth.

“The next day we came out and had a three firsts and a fifth so that wasn’t bad for the day and that set us for being consistent. So that set us up and today that made it much harder the other guys to run us down as they had to put in brilliant performances while we had to put in just good solid results.”
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Brett Goodall:

“Our success is due to the time we spend on the water and while we are sailing as father and son but once we get out the water we are team-mates. We’ve been sailing together for so long now, about six years, and we are in tune with each other. We really don’t talk that much as we just know where we are going and we just stick to the game plan and off we go.

Looking ahead towards the World Championships in Hungary in July.

“It’s a real confidence booster to know that we are fast and that will definitely help us. We have raced in the World Championships for the past five years and are looking forward to competing. We will try and get some training in beforehand and just have another dip at it.”

What do you think might have given you the edge in this event?

“It would have to be Scotty Anderson’s steaks on the first night. I ate three steaks and five roast potatoes. He is a good mate who lives here in Gosford and he cooked us this beautiful BBQ after the first day’s racing so that may have been our secret weapon.”

Lulu Roseman

Gnarly Cat: The F18 Windrush

An interview with Brett Burvill, Director of Windrush Yachts from Perth, Western Australia
Photo: Lulu Roseman
How did the idea evolve for the new Windrush F18? 

“My production Manager, Josh Fugill, and myself got together with Stuart Bloomfield from Catamaran Plans in Victoria. We decided to build a Formula 18 boat a few years ago and after pouring over 40 sets of plans we eventually finalised the design to be exactly what we wanted. We were then able to produce the boat in time for last year’s Australian National Championships held at Geelong. We had no time for testing, just straight on the water for that event.”

How many Windrush F18 boats have you produced so far? 

“We had two at the Australian Nats last year and we really had no development time before we went to Europe where we competed in the Texel Regatta in Holland, the world championships and some other F18 regattas in Germany. We had some good results and the boat has been performing very well but we really haven’t had time to further develop it as yet. So we arrived in Gosford in a similar situation this year whereby we produced two new boats that were finished the day before we left Perth. “

What sails are you using? 

“This year we are trying the Goodall sails and we still have the Landenberger sails as another option.

“Andrew Landenberger is an awesome catamaran sailor and he’s been in the Olympics and you don’t get to go there unless you’re pretty special. He’s been very successful in the A class and he’s also had much success in the F18s in the past. However I think he is a little bit out of the development loop as far as F18s go just now because he hasn’t been sailing these boats for a few years. It would be nice to see him back in the boat.

“He was actually keen to sail our boat at the Worlds last year but because the event started just one day after the A Class Worlds finished so he decided not to do it unless he could do a really good job of it so he decided not to do it. So he didn’t sail in the end and we lent the boat to a French team who were just pretty novice sailors and they really loved the boat.”

How would describe the performance of your two boats? 

“For me personally I am very happy where I placed in Nationals because only 11 weeks ago I had a full shoulder reconstruction. So we’re very happy to be able to compete as highly as we did to finish in seventh place overall.

“We won the first race of the event which was also the first race for this new boat and that was a really great thing. So we were able to give it a special first race and Josh is very happy with his boat and we’ve also had Stevie Brewin and Jack Benson taking the boats out for a sail and they absolutely love it. I don’t know if we’re going to be able to afford to give them a boat to race on as we are only a very small company but they love the boat and if we can do something with them in the future that would be amazing.”

How are you building a fleet?

“There are some guys up in Taiwan who are holding a boat show and they are very keen for us to display so we are currently talking to them. They also have a regatta on around March or April that they have invited us to so we are planning to attend that too.“

What did you notice about the boat’s performance during this regatta? 

“We noticed we struggled getting up the first windward leg on the first day and we just kept going the wrong way and making bad choices and having to come back from fairly far back in the fleet.

“We’d see the pressure and which side of the race course the lifts where at and it looked good for the guys that where on the left who looked like they were getting a bit more pressure. It appears that when the wind is a bit north here you really need to be on that left side.”

Lulu Roseman

F18 Final Results - Goodalls Know What it Takes to be the Goods - F18 National Champions

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Images from Australian F18 Catamaran National Championships 2011

Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman

Bundy Drops into F18 Nationals

Darren Bundock was catching up with mates at Gosford Sailing Club during the event

"It’s a real shame that I was not here racing because there is such a good fleet. Unfortunately I have just gotten back from Oman where I have been coaching the two Oman teams for the X40s. They're preparing for the season ahead and they’re all new guys on the boat so it took a bit of time catching up but they have progressed really well.
Photo: Andrea Francolini
"I’ve been out watching the racing and they looked really good. With over 30 F18s out there it’s great to see them all here at Gosford and to see the fleet building. It looks like there is some really good competition and very close racing so," Bundock said. 

Bundock left a few days later to return to Europe to prepare for the European season but he will return to Australia for the start of next season for the regatta up in Forster at the end of October.
Photo: Andrea Francolini
"I'm looking forward to racing against many of the guys here at the Worlds in Hungary in July. I’ll be sailing with Jerome Van Leeuwen, a Dutch guy on the C2. We’ll do the whole season together in Europe. The first main regatta is the EuroCat event in France at the end of April, beginning of May," he added.

Lulu Roseman

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Wild Ride From The West for Barcelona World Race Fleet

Three weeks since they set off, the Barcelona World RACE fleet has taken a new shape. Yesterday evening Foncia surged into first place, and this morning Virbac Paprec 3 joined them at the head of the race in second place.
Photo: © M.Desjoyeaux/FONCIA
Together the pair, which each stopped in Recife, Brazil have maintained a samba pace since leaving the South American coast. Today they have been enjoying a fast ride on their journey back from the western frontiers of the course, both averaging over 20 knots of boat speed in solid northerlies. In the past 24 hours the French duo covered over 400 miles – on average 150 miles more than the boats on the east of the course.

Michel Desjoyeaux and François Gabart (FRA) were first to reclaim their place at the front of the leaderboard, arriving in first place yesterday evening ahead of Estrella Damm, who had led the fleet for the previous six days.Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes (ESP) exited the light winds zone yesterday, but in moderate easterly breezes their speed has leveled out at around 11 knots. This has allowed the other western rebels on Virbac Paprec 3, riding ahead of the same low pressure system as Foncia, through into second place overall this morning.

In fourth place Kito de Pavant and Sebastien Audigane (FRA) on Groupe Bel have stuck close to Estrella Damm. However, the next potential threat to the status quo could come from MAPFRE, who also struck out on an independent course and are currently the most westerly boat on the track in fifth. Some 200 miles further north than Virbac Paprec 3, the 49er pairing of Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez (ESP) don’t have quite the same white-knuckle conditions as the new leaders, but at the edge of the low pressure system they are still making 16 knots average speed and may well be able to maintain this momentum into third place.

Although the low pressure system seems to be moving more rapidly south-east than previously predicted, if the westerly boats are able to stay ahead of the front their advantage will continue to extend to Gough Island, with the first boat likely to reach this remote Atlantic waypoint on Sunday. Meanwhile, with two high pressure zones set to merge across the southern Atlantic over the next two days, the boats on the easterly side of the track will need to find a route south if they are to remain in contention.

As Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) explained: “We are sailing with two digits of boatspeed and the first digit is a ‘two’ so it’s good news, but on board it is a little shaky. Fortunately we’re under the coach roof so we can be protected. With the weather that is set to arrive it’s better to be in front because you have more options.”

Seventh-placed Renault Z.E. and Neutrogena in eighth have pulled away from GAES Centros Auditivos over the course of the day by maintaining a steady 11-12 knots. Meanwhile Dee Caffari (GBR) and Anna Corbella(ESP) on GAES Centros Auditivos have once again been lassoed by a light winds zone, with their average speed dropping to under 5 knots this afternoon.

Hugo Boss is now in fact more southerly than GAES, but at just over 100 miles further west is still ranked one place behind them in 10th. Behind them Central Lechera Asturiana and We Are Water have each held their easterly line, with Forum Maritim Catala in 13th, now some 630 miles behind the first boat.

There was news too of the 14th boat to start the race, as Bruno Garcia (ESP) and Jean Le Cam (FRA) of the dismasted Président paid a visit to Barcelona World Race headquarters and spoke to some of the competing skippers in this morning’s live video conference.

Standings at Friday 21 January at 1400hrs UTC
1 FONCIA at 20057 miles from the finish
2 VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 at 49 miles from the leader
3 ESTRELLA DAMM at 130 miles
4 GROUPE BEL at 164 miles
5 MAPFRE at 198 miles
6 MIRABAUD at 234 miles
7 RENAULT Z.E. at 283 miles
8 NEUTROGENA at 296 miles
9 GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS at 350 miles
10 HUGO BOSS at 430 miles
11 CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA at 451 miles
12 WE ARE WATER at 499 miles
13 FORUM MARITIM CATALA at 633 miles

Barcelona World Race Media

Lake Sailor Grabs Crown

The SB3 sailors competing in yesterday’s Audi King of the Docklands were smoked by Nathan Outteridge of Lake Macquarie in NSW who has taken out his third Audi King of the Docklands title.

The fleet after battled wild south sou'westerly winds gusting over 20 knots in the course area in Victoria Harbour off Dockland’s Waterfront City.

Points from Tursday’s cycle of races were added to yesterday’s cycle, which is where Outteridge’s string of race wins and places held him in good stead.

“Thursday was light and we were a little sore afterwards. Today was hard work and the crew work very demanding,” said the winning skipper this evening.

Outteridge combined well with new crew, Ian Brown, Olympic 470 bronze medallist and the boat’s owner, and foredeck hand David Cheyne, the Irish SB3 class president who promised Outteridge a boat for the class’ next world championship in return for a ride in the Audi King of the Docklands. An exhausted Cheyne literally fell out of the boat onto the dock this afternoon announcing breathlessly “I’m taking up rugby, it’s easier”.

Outteridge is aiming for the next SB3 world title, amongst other classes, but the big fish he’s really looking to land is another chance to represent Australia in the 49er class at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Second place in the Audi King of the Docklands went to three time European SB3 Champion Glenn Bourke who was hit by a gust in the middle of a late kite drop and clipped the turning mark, resulting in a re-round followed by a penalty turn. 

“We went for a late drop thinking we might get Nathan on an overlap but a big gust hit us and the kite got away from us,” Bourke said.

“Nathan did a great job, he’s as good as there is. He’s found the middle ground between being aggressive and chipping away.”

Third on the leader board was Geelong sailor Brendan Garner.

The 14 man Audi King of the Docklands fleet raced in an elimination style competition aboard the SB3 keelboat class, putting on a brilliant two-day show for the crowds

All but two of the crews are planning an assault on the 2011 SB3 World Championship in May in Torquay, UK.

Outteridge won an Audi A4 Avant last year, this time he’ll spend 12 months behind the wheel of the brand new Audi A1.

Following the final race this afternoon a number of TV and sporting celebrities donned life vests for the Audi King of the Docklands Celebrity Race Challenge. Daniel Harford, former football player and now SEN presenter was lucky enough to be on the winning SB3 skippered by Dean Joel.

F18s National Championships - Perfect Conditions Served Up for Day One

Gosford, NSW
Saturday 22 January, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, Prepare Your Weapons
Photo: Lulu Roseman
The Central Coast of NSW was bathed in blue skies and sunshine this morning as the 34 strong F18 Catamaran fleet prepared to compete in the Australian F18 National Championships. The competition may be fierce but these adrenalin charged sailors revel in the challenge and rush of pushing their boats and bodies to the limit. These cats are capable of reaching speeds of up to 30 knots and this is what excites these guys and girls.
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Lulu Roseman

F18 Cats On The Water

Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Photo: Lulu Roseman

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Espana Continues to Dominate the Barcelona World Race

Jean-Pierre Dick, Virbac-Paprec 3 Photo: © Yvan Zedda
Having long left their pitstops behind, Foncia and Virbac Paprec 3 are not only accelerating out of the west Atlantic, but rapidly overtaking their way through the Barcelona World Race.

Still in pole position, Estrella Damm lead the fleet south, having escaped from the light winds in the small hours of this morning. Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes (ESP) are no doubt getting accustomed to looking in the rear-view mirror. After a sustained period of compression in the windless zone, which saw the leaders parked solid as the chasing pack reduced their lead, to within 30 miles for second-placed Groupe Bel this morning, the Spaniards must now watch for Michel Desjoyeaux and Francois Gabart’s rise up the rankings.

Foncia this afternoon is second, placed fewer than 20 miles from the leader. In real terms the boats may be more than 500 miles apart, but Foncia and Virbac Paprec 3’s diversion to South America has seen them re-enter the race track with a clear lane, heading south-east at speed.

The ‘laughing cow’ team on Groupe Bel remain on Estrella Damm’s tail, and have in fact continued to gained ground in the newly re-established breeze, now in third place. Virbac Paprec 3 now lie in fourth place, one ahead of Mirabaud.

MAPFRE, who have taken a directly southerly line between the westerly duo and the main group, are currently in sixth place but at 18 knots is matching Virbac Paprec’s speed and just a shade under Foncia’s 18.7 knots during the past hour, sailing in similar north-easterlies.

The forecast low pressure system looks set to bring continued north-easterly pressure for the westerly boats, likely to build to a strong northerly which will see them sailing a little high en route to Gough Island. For the easterly boats more moderate easterly breezes are predicted, but the real trial will come as a large high pressure expands across the southern Atlantic, creating another parking lot and preventing access to the motorway of the deep south.

Adding to the headache for the skippers is the fact that the weather routing files are not yet conclusive – the only thing they seem to entirely agree on is that a South American pit stop turned out to be rather fortuitous .

Alex Pella (ESP) on Estrella Damm explained: “This weather looks like it will continue for some time so we will have to study it very closely to decide our strategy, and if we should go further south or, conversely, to go east. This decision is getting a little more complicated. Grib models we are showing different options and so we have to make a decision as soon as possible of what is right.”

In order to avoid the hold up, the chasing boats are also experimenting with various routes to keep making gains to the south. GAES Centros Auditivos manoeuvred themselves further east in search of better breeze, and although they have overtaken Neutrogena into eighth, Renault Z.E. remain one place ahead in seventh. Hugo Boss, by contrast, has gone slightly to the west of the main group in their bid to continue to gain on the leaders.

Wouter Verbraak (NED) on Hugo Boss commented today: “The next five days are looking pretty tricky, the St Helena high is pretty erratic in its movement so the weather models are not very much in line in what they think about the future. Short-term we are finally going into the transition that the other guys have been fighting for the last couple of days, and this afternoon we should be back in good winds so we’re looking forward to that.”

Standings at Thursday 20 January at 1400hrs UTC
1 ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team at 20456 miles from the finish
2 FONCIA at 29 miles from the leader
3 GROUPE BEL at 23 miles
4 VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 at 75 miles
5 MIRABAUD at 105 miles
6 MAPFRE at 123 miles
7 RENAULT Z.E at 135 miles
8 GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS at 148 miles
9 NEUTROGENA at 151 miles
10 CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA at 277 miles
10 HUGO BOSS at 296 miles
12 WE ARE WATER at 316 miles
13 FORUM MARITIM CATALA at 436 miles

Barcelona World Race Media

Outteridge is King of Docklands on SB3s

Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI Victoria Week
Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI Victoria Week
Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI Victoria Week
Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI Victoria Week

Audi Victoria Week - Docklands Day 1

Melbourne, Australia Jan 20, 2011

Racing is still underway.
Secret Mens Business 3.5 - 2011 Sydney to Hobart Handicap Winners Photo: Andrea Francolini/AUDI

F18 Cats Set to Heat Up Brisbane Waters

Get set for some of Australia's leading multi-hull sailors to carve up Gosford this weekend in the Australian F18 Championships.

Tornado Gun and Four Time Hobie Cat World Champion  Jason Waterhouse will face off against his dad, Rod, who has recruited Farr 40 Skipper, Chris Way as his crew.
Photo: Courtesy of F18 Class Australia
Other high profile competitors in this class include Andrew McDougall, Adam Beattie, Mick Guinea, Greg and Brett Goodall.

In latest news, it is uncertain if ETNZ's Dean Barker with crew Glenn Ashby, will be competing at all after the pair learned that their chartered boat had fallen through. However Barker's fellow team mate, Adam Beashel is a confirmed starter with crewman Grant Pellew, who just happens to be James Spithill's brother-in-law.

America's Cup winning helmsman, Spithill was rumoured to be participating but according to class president James Ogilvie, is not registered to race in the three day event that officially kicks off on Saturday 22 January, 2011.

Tomorrow has been set aside for sail measuring and weigh ins to ensure all competitors and their boats comply with the class rules. It is expected that many of the crews will spend the afternoon training  and familiarising themselves with the course area.

Gosford Sailing Club, home of the Lord Howe Island Race, will play host and are expecting a large number of competitors and their supporters to enjoy the Club's facilities after racing each day.

Lulu Roseman

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bracelona World Race - What The Skippers Say...

SKIPPER QUOTES from Wednesday 19 Jan

Pepe Ribes (ESP), Estrella Damm

“We knew the area of no wind was coming, we have done like 50 gybes tonight. What we didn’t have during the Doldrums, we have now. It’s absolutely dead.

“We shall see what’s going on today, and whether the people from the right take the advantage. Foncia andMAPFRE are very well positioned, and of course there’s Virbac Paprec 3 in ghost mode.

“It depends on how long we stay stopped, the rankings may vary – we could still be becalmed for another 10 hours. Desjoyeaux is a master of strategy, as he’s showing once again. Right now he’s taking miles off us. We were all near the Brazilian coast and he’s the only one still there, so he’s far away but well positioned.

“The gate is still far away and those in the south have the advantage because they get the best of the low pressure. Being further south is the most important thing here. But it’s still 2,300 miles to the gate and anything can happen.

“We not even wearing t-shirts at the moment, but I’ve just prepared my bag with the cold weather clothing because next week we will see very drastic changes, we’ll go from 30 to 10 degrees temperature.”

Iker Martinez (ESP), MAPFRE:

“We are sailing close hauled with little wind and the Code Zero. We started our ghost mode because we were thinking of going to the west and then when we saw the new weather we chickened out and went back east. We shall see in our group who escapes out of the calms first, the problems Virbac Paprec 3 and Foncia had with their stops in Brazil ended up favouring them with the forecast.

“We’ll be in trouble with our dietician - with the meals and drinks you never keep to their instructions as there is a lot of food and we wish we could get as rest as much as they keep telling us to! But these past few days we have been able to rest more. We have also had some problems with boils because of the heat and humidity!

“We aren’t having the best race in our lives, but it’s not too bad, and has only just started.

“We are worried about Foncia and Virbac Paprec 3 as in a few days they could be 500 or 1,000 miles ahead. But we should worry about ourselves as this is an important moment in the race. We always take all strategic decisions together, and whoever is on watch makes the decisions about sails etc. We make major decisions together because we don’t we want one of us to resent it.”

Kito De Pavant (FRA), Groupe Bel:

“The St Helena high is a bit tedious because there is no wind so it’s difficult to progress to the south.

“It’s the ‘second Doldrums’ for us, the weather is very fine but not fine for us. There is no rain, but we think there’s a small weather system coming where the wind may change a little bit, it could move away or ‘die’. So it’s just a rubbish bit we’re going to have to go through. We’ve had a lot of light winds between the Mediterranean from Barcelona, Madeira, Canaries and now the St Helena anticyclone so it’s starting to get a bit much. 

“I think Alex and Pepe are pretty much in the same sector as us, which is unfortunate for them because they had a big lead but they’re being gained on by everyone so it can’t be easy aboard Estrella Damm – or on Groupe Bel– because it's hard to see our friends from the west on our heels.

“Right now we are about 20 miles from the island of Martin Vaz. Gough Island is 40 degrees South, but it seems to get further and further away because every day it takes one more day to get there, but we must suffer this with patience and hopefully we’ll leave this bubble of no wind by finding a little strong easterly to get down into the South.

“Here, it looks like Lake Geneva, with just a minimum windspeed of 3 or 4 knots, so if we get up to 5 knots it’s a pleasure and really feels on the water! But the boat is still rather heavy, even Seb hasn’t managed to eat enough yet!”

Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), Virbac-Paprec 3:

“The ‘ghost’ mode is interesting because it means we can sail to our own strategy and the others are not influenced by our position. It’s a nice advantage to have.

“All is going well here and there are beautiful sailing conditions, I love sailing in the South Atlantic – I don’t know why, but it's a pretty serene ocean, and we’ve seen some extraordinary seascapes with the moon illuminating the whole night.

“We’re counting down to our arrival in the deep South. One day we’ll go from tropical conditions to polar cold, so we’re savouring the moments in t-shirts.

“Right now we are not far from the border between Argentina and Brazil, and as we sail close to these countries we’re starting to imagine good Argentinian steaks because freeze-dried food starts to get you down a bit.”

Dee Caffari (GBR) GAES Centros Auditivos:

“It’s a little hot, a little sweaty, but very happy here. The closest boat to us is Renault, and obviously we’ve always kept an eye on Neutrogena after we let them get away in the north Atlantic, and it’s been really good for us to see that we’re just doing the same speed if not a little bit faster. And we’ve been trying really hard not to look over our shoulders at Hugo Boss coming down on us, we’re trying to look forward.

“We’re enjoying the glorious sunshine while we’ve got it, because it will be short-lived. But the weather’s really complex in the South Atlantic so it’s going to be a really difficult week. This morning is lovely, the wind is decreasing, we’ve only got 8 knots and it’s a little up and down, but we’ve got really flat water which means we can open the hatches and actually get some air flow in the boat which is really nice. It’s blue sky and scorchio. We know the cold weather is coming but we can’t even think about it at the moment.

“This time in the South Atlantic, although it’s complex it will actually go quite quickly and we’ll be on that train going round the bottom pretty quick so it’s important we do as many checks as we can while conditions allow and make life easy. But we’re in pretty good shape on GAES so nothing’s too stressful.”

Anna Corbella (ESP) GAES Centros Auditivos:

“We don’t have any reason not to be happy. And these calms are an opportunity to shorten the distances between the boats ahead, so we have to take advantage of it as much as we can.”

Barcelona World Race - Latest News

It was all eyes right on the Barcelona World RACE yesterday, as Virbac Paprec 3 was unveiled from ‘ghost’ mode, having concealed themselves from six consecutive position rankings.

Perhaps unsurprising, Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA) and Loick Peyron (FRA) on the new Verdier-VPLP design have reappeared on the western side of the course, approximately 75 miles north-north-east of their long-term rivals Foncia.
Anna Corbella and Dee Caffari Photo: © GAES Centros Auditivos
Jean-Pierre Dick’sebullient appearance in this morning’s video conference certainly gave an indication that he was happy with their progress. This afternoon’s position report places them in ninth overall, one place behindFoncia. However, the weather models currently suggest that the boats on the far west of the fleet could reach the ice gate of Gough Island anything between a few hundred and 1,000 miles ahead of the current race leader, Estrella Damm.

To gain the maximum advantage would depend on the westerly boats’ ability to steal a march on a fast moving low pressure system, while such a massive variation in predicted outcomes indicates that, when it comes to the South Atlantic, nothing is ever certain. The two French teams are currently enjoying a solid 15-20 knot north-easterly off the South American coast, which is anticipated to build to a stronger NNE’ly flow as the low pressure zone picks up speed and travels south.

While Virbac Paprec 3 is also the fastest boat on the course, making 14.2 knots over the past hour, Spanish leaders Estrella Damm are suffering as the slowest boat on the track, averaging less than 3 knots. This has allowed the rest of the fleet to continue to attack Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes’ (ESP) advantage, which is now less than 40 miles over second placed Groupe Bel, with Mirabaud just over 16 miles further back in third – a gain of 100 miles over the past 24 hours.

Only MAPFRE has avoided the compression zone by escaping to the west. Whether Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez (ESP) have made a sufficiently radical or early move remains to be seen – certainly in today’s live video conference Iker admitted that after going into ‘stealth’ mode they had changed their minds and opted for more conservative tactics.

The increasingly compact easterly group also sees Neutrogena in fourth, while the all-female team of Dee Caffari (GBR) and Anna Corbella (ESP) on GAES Centros Auditivos now move into fifth place on the rankings, one ahead of close rivals Renault Z.E. Sailing Team. Likewise, Hugo Boss, Central Lechera Asturiana and We Are Water find themselves in similar conditions and are working hard to maximise every opportunity to gain on the front group – whether they will be able to cling to the leaders closely enough to avoid being shut out of the south by an expanding high pressure zone later in the week is as yet in doubt.

Standings at Wednesday 19 January at 1400hrs UTC

1 ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team at 20641 miles from the finish
2 GROUPE BEL at 37 miles from the leader
3 MIRABAUD at 56 miles
4 NEUTROGENA at 103 miles
5 GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS at 108 miles
6 RENAULT Z.E at 111 miles
7 MAPFRE at 132 miles
8 FONCIA at 133 miles
9 VIRBAC-PAPREC 3 at 169 miles
10 CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA at 249 miles
11 HUGO BOSS at 274 miles
12 WE ARE WATER at 317 miles
13 FORUM MARITIM CATALA at 460 miles

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