Petite fatigue passagère
Hey, Hey, Out of the Grey and into the Blue.
Sonntag 13 Februar 2011
Land of the long white cloud beckons for Virbac-Paprec 3
Three boats in the Pacific now.
Technical stop for Groupe Bel confirmed
After a tough weekend Barcelona World Race leaders Virbac-Paprec 3 are now making good speed north east toward the Cook Straits.
This afternoon they passed the latitude of the tip of the South Island, 280 miles off Cape Providence, and for the leaders this ascent of the Tasman and through the straits will not be without its challenges, but it promises to be one of the most memorable stages for Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron.
The duo have their lead at 504 miles this afternoon over MAPFRE who crossed into the Pacific this morning, and Estrella Damm who passed from the Indian at 1420hrs UTC this afternoon.
There have been glimpses of sunshine and often benign conditions in the south, but after three weeks in the high latitudes – spirits and moods will climb as the typically grey southern oceans vista, chill temperatures and drizzle gives way to the vibrant colours, blues and greens, and summer temperatures of New Zealand in its pomp.
For Dick and Peyron’s it will be their first sight of land since their technical stop in Brasil on 15th-16th January, for MAPFRE and Estrella Damm probably since leaving the Mediterranean five weeks ago.
It is summer today in Nelson, NZ, of the NW corner of the South Island, 24 degrees C with sunshine, and while Northern Europe is in winter mode, it is the equivalent of August in the Northern Hemisphere summer.
And as the leaders approach the land of the long white cloud, New Zealand, for most – who perhaps are feeling fatigued and a little flat in terms of morale – the passage of the first boat through this iconic stage will also be a psychological boost, perhaps especially to those who are chasing across the Australian Bight, dealing with the very physical and mental challenges of the Australian safety barriers and then plunging south before their approach to the Tasman.
They now have a physical target to count down to, interaction with the human world on the horizon.
Virbac-Paprec 3 are still expected to start their passage of the Straits on Wednesday afternoon/evening. Their arrival to the northern corner looks set to become increasingly slowed by the light winds of the high pressure.
And while the half way point in terms of the actual 25,000 race mileage was broken yesterday night by Virbac-Paprec – theoretically now with less distance to sail than they have completed – in fact the Cook Straits is considered by most of the teams as a more physical and mental mid-way milestone.
The physical challenge of the Australian barriers has perhaps been more than crews expected. Pachi Rivero from Renault Z.E Sailing Team confirmed they had made nine gybes – each one up requiring up to one hour of hard labour – VMG running down the corridor imposed by the Australian Bight’s high pressure to the north and the gates to their south.
In effect the Spanish duo would have made more gybes there than one might expect to make in the whole passage of the Indian Ocean on a ‘traditional’ southerly routing.And Mirabaud’s Dominique Wavre, glad to see the back of the safety gates, described them as having an ‘almost physical presence’.
The technical stop in New Zealand for Groupe Bel was confirmed by Kito De Pavant and Seb Audigane. They will have the resources of North Sails New Zealand standing for their own team’s sailmaker, who is travelling there with the technical team. De Pavant said it was a difficult decision to take, but with a lead of just over 560 miles on Renault Z.E Sailing Team, the French duo have a fighting chance of at least leaving within touch of the Spanish pair, at best staying ahead of them.
Course Direction relayed to the fleet the message that the ice gates in the Pacific have been supplemented by a, the Mid Pacific gate. The second gate, Pacific West has been moved about 120 miles north.
Rankings at 1400hrs UTC Sunday 13th February
1 VIRBAC-PAPREC at 12162 miles to finish
2 MAPFRE at 504 miles to leader
3 ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team at 627 miles
4 GROUPE BEL at 908 miles
5 RENAULT Z.E at 1471 miles
6 MIRABAUD at 1796 miles
7 NEUTROGENA at 1796 miles
8 HUGO BOSS at 2091 miles
9 GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS at 2189 miles
10 FORUM MARITIM CATALA at 3651 miles
11 CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA at 3981 miles
12 WE ARE WATER at 4057 miles
Ryan Breymaier (USA) Neutrogena: “ If you have spring time in Barcelona we have winter time Barcelona conditions. It is grey, cold and damp. The wind has been variable today 14-25 knots, normally from fairly far aft between kite and gennaker.
It is a good game. This little rubber band effect happens when there is a difference in breeze. They get ahead or we catch up, we are not sure if Dominique has the magic touch and just gets away into the breeze or we just make little errors.
t is nice to have a boat to sail against. We spent the last two days with the big spinnaker up, not the small one, driving during the whole time to try and catch up to him again.
We have had of communication by e-mail, it is subtle, it is like Dom needs to shave and is snoring right now, and we say ‘yes Boris is snoring right now as well.
My motivation is always the same, especially with these guys close to us, it keeps me motivated for sure, but my mood changes from day to day for sure, based in whether we are 100 miles away from them or 30 miles away I am a completely different person.”
Iker Martinez (ESP) MAPFRE:“We have crossed an area with really strong winds and big seas. Now we are already thinking ahead to Cook Straits which will be complicated because there will not be much wind and so we are looking at where we put ourselves strategically. We never had such a strong wind in this low pressure system we had, but the waves were very short and steep, big holes. And so you really had to look after the boat and not break her. One big jump can drop you into the next wave as well and so you really had to moderate your speed. Here we used very small sails to avoid any risk. Small sails are best to have the same speed as the waves and not hurt the boat.
We are in good spirits. It is important to have someone you trust in completely alongside you, but of course you sometimes think ‘what the hell are we doing here?”
When we are downwind it is hard to tell if we lose much, maybe it will be different when we are reaching. Upwind maybe it will be the worst situation but we have not calculated or thought about it.
Going into a low, before a storm, being prepared is everything. Everything needs to be in its place: sails, food and water to eat, that is just fundamental.”
Pachi Rivero (ESP) Renault Z.E“We are going south course 152-153. We gybed nine times in these Australian barriers, every time moving everything up, the sails the stack, weight, bags everything. But that is finished, it is behind us. And now we have a fixed target to be aiming at and we are comfortable and content. We have missed out on the typical Indian conditions, the wind and waves, and now we have 18-20 knots and the forecasts promised 20-25 knots
There is an area of ice right ahead of us and so we have the radar on.”
Dominique Wavre (SUI), Mirabaud:“It is not going so badly today we have some good speed. We have just got a little wind again from behind. These last few days we were trapped between the anticyclone and the barriers which go on like to the Great Wall of China. You almost feel them like a physical presence. We made so many gybes, heavy operations with all the stacking and so on, but I’m glad to say they are finished now..
It is cool to have Neutrogena beside us, to have a rival alongside, that is in the spirit of the race. We write in English and they write back in French.”
Sebastien Audigane, Groupe Bel” Logistically everything is set and ready for the stopover in New Zealand. The decision was not easy to make because we planned to go on without fixing the sails but we have realized that it would be difficult to go on without fixing them. Our sailmaker from Vannes will be on the spot with all the resources required from North Sails New Zealand. And then the technical team from Groupe Bel will be there as well and will make a complete check up of the boat and fix any small things we may have. It is better to leave with the boat at 100%.
Otherwise it is typical Southern Ocean conditions, flat light, low skies, crossed seas in all directions. It is not easy to control the boat in these conditions and you need to be vigilant. The weather is very cold, we have 3-4 fleece layers, hats, foul weather gear. But it is the hands which suffer.
We have heating on Groupe Bel and I am not so fond of waking up and you would think you were in the Sahara! But Kito needs a little bit of sunshine indoors.”