Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Give or take a mile:
For Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron on Virbac Paprec 3 today has provided an unwelcome breather, thanks to the retirement of close rival Foncia. And with the looming arrival of a high pressure zone the French duo look set to experience another relative pause, as their pace begins to ease this evening to around 15 knots.
No doubt the Spanish teams of MAPFRE and Estrella Damm, now in second and third respectively, feel their promotions were equally unasked-for. However, both making the most of their opportunities as Estrella Damm claims the top speed this afternoon with nearly 18 knots average VMG since 1500hrs, while MAPFRE were sailing at a similar rate at this evening's 2000hrs sched. At that pace, the Spanish contenders are clearly keeping pace with the race leaders – Estrella Damm's mileage deficit has increased by less than 0.5 mile over the course of the afternoon, likewise Renault Z.E. in fifth by just 1.5 miles.
MAPFRE's Xabi Fernandez (ESP) explained how that pace translates into life on board: “We've been sleeping with our boots on for two days now, ready to jump up onto deck at any moment should our companion need a hand, a sail change or a squall moves in and the wind picks up lots. You can't be too careful down here. You've really got to watch out, whilst thinking about the race at the same time.”
Behind the leading trio, both the rankings and relative positions are virtually unchanged: Groupe Bel remains in constant fourth, Mirabaud and Neutrogena have each shed just 10-25 miles from the leader. The only marginally more significant mileage losses are for those boats currently placed 8th to 12th, still above the critical 40th degree line of strong breeze, with 30-50 miles lost to the leader.
Posted by Editor at 6:44 PM