Barcelona World Race - Technical stop for leader

Virbac Paprec 3 - Barcelona World Race
Barcelona World Race leaders Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron are preparing to make a technical stop in Brasil to make a repair to their main sheet track on Virbac-Paprec 3.

A length of around 2.50 metres of the track is reported to have been lifted away from the deck.


Virbac-Paprec 3 is sailing presently off the coast of Brasil in SE’ly winds of 15 knots under full main and Solent headsail.

The duo lead the race by approximately 50 miles from Foncia, Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) and Francois Gabart (FRA), who are also preparing for a stop in or near Récife, arriving between Friday night and Saturday.

Dick and co-skipper Loïck Peyron (FRA) have made the decision to head for Récife, Brasil which is 434 miles to their SW, to repair this vital control. The duo are expecting to arrive in the Brasilian port in around 48 hours (Saturday) where their technical team will be waiting for them.

Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA), winner of the first edition of the Barcelona World Race contacted by phone said: 'I was outside when it happened. Loïck was sleeping. The mainsail track came away for 2.5 m. We can’t really trim the mainsail. It happened in the conditions which were bizarrely benign. There was a little choppy, 14-15 knots, nothing exceptional. It was an otherwise nondescript afternoon. There was not even great pressure on the track, we were under full mainsail and Solent. I don’t really know exactly what happened. We will head for Récife to repair it. It is better to have it happen, than in the South!'

Wouter Verbraak (NED) on taking on the world, Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) on crossing the Equator and making ready to stop, Dee Caffari (GBR) on settting the level to make sure they finish and Alex Pella (ESP) on being generally content with their progress to date.

Today's quotes.

Wouter Verbraak (NED) Hugo Boss: ' There have been 24 hours of mixed emotions. On the one hand we are very happy that the decision has been made. We are very happy that we can go on, but at same time we can see that Alex is going through a very tough time at home, and so our thoughts are with him. And we hope that it is all resolved for the best.

We have discussed this a lot. We always had the focus on Alex joining the boat in Cape Verde. We have had to make a mental switch, and I have had to inform my family that I wont be home but will probably be home in another 70 days. So it is all a bit surreal really.

We got the message from our team yesterday around midday. And at that stage it came as a bit of a surprise to us. We have been taking this whole trip so far just living in the moment and doing the best we can, but we said ‘ well actually this has been working quite well, let us continue doing what we have been doing, and let us concentrate on being fast to the equator, and try to catch up with the group ahead of us.

There will be a bungee effect but yesterday afternoon we were next to one of the other Open 60’s and we have put 12 miles on them so we have potential and that we can do a job.

Long term we have to realise that this is like a basketball game, there will be a lot of opportunities to go back and forwards, and making some good moves and trying to put some points on the board, but in the end it goes down to the last few minutes of the race, the final sprint up the Atlantic and so our focus is to keep in the game, focus on making good moves and not wearing ourselves out and being ready to punch in the last part of the game
Physically we have to say that this boat is a handful. Having gone from crewed sailing it is a very different level of exhaustion that we are learning to experience. But mentally we have been in such limbo these last days that today it is a feeling of relief, and focus on catching up.

Actually as Alex would not have been able to bring anything on the boat, we have all his clothes on the boat. Before the race start there was too little time to get a full supply of clothes for myself. So I find myself in Alex’ clothes for this trip around the world. And he is an XL (Extra Large) and I am a Large, I have plenty of space in them!

Actually the funny thing is there is a lot of Norwegian food on the boat which only I am able to know what it is (he lives in Norway). Andy has to ask me what we can have for dinner.'

Dee Caffari (GBR) GAES Centros Auditivos: 'We expected more of a drop in the breeze, but we still have 15-20 knots, and more in the puffs. But we are keeping up good boatspeeds. I think we will some changes in the weather and maybe suffer a bit today.

I have a feeling their crossing of the Doldrums they hardly slowed and they are away and we will not have it so easy. Ours will be slightly different.

It is about time that the Renault boys caught up with us, we have been waiting for them.

We got stuck. We fell of the back of the pack we were with and for quite a while it was hard to push. It was such a white knuckle ride. I bottled it a little bit and we went for a more conservative option for a while. While everyone was on the edge all the time, we have everything working, we have no problems with the boat, but we did lose some miles.

So it is good to have a pacemaker with us, even just to give an indicator of how we are doing on the rankings.

It was like being in the rinse cycle of a washing machine. At that stage it is quite physical to drive and you have to drive all the time to be fast. And at that stage we lost a bit like that. Someone like Iker and Xabi, they are born to do that, and it shows in their speed which was amazing to see.

I don’t think they will have the same effect in the Southern Ocean.'

Alex Pella (ESP) Estrella Damm: 'Inside the boat we have 30 degrees, we have 10-12 knots and we are doing about 11 knots of boat speed. We have a bit to go to the equator. We have passed a really easy Doldrums. We are really happy with the way the race is going. We have the new boats ahead of us and they set a really high level and so we have to keep making the distance bigger. We only really have to see how they go.

These Doldrums have been a really easy, comfortable passage. The boat has been going very well, we are very comfortable, enjoying the day to day life. We have made some mistakes but we have learned from then, but there are still a lot of things can happen, we have made some small repairs and work, nothing significant but we need to have the boat at 100%.'

Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) Foncia: 'We swapped hemispheres after crossing the Equator last night. Francois is hardly a beginner. He will not need me.

With wind will be a little stronger, more southerly. But it starts to heads us and we are well heeled.

We are under Solent and full main. We are almost fully ballasted. We have about 15 knots of wind and are making nearly 10 knots. The seas is always a bit disorganized where the northern hemisphere meets the southern hemisphere. They are hardly in agreement.

We should arrive in Recife during the night of the 14th to the 15th. The shore team is already there and is seeing what the best place will be. Either it will be Recife or Suave where we have some French contacts who could help with the job. We hope to spend as little time as possible there, but that will depend on what conditions that we get to work, and what the exact state of the repair required is. At the moment the foam is still there with some small holes on either side. Part of the laminate is still there on the port side.

We will take the advantage because there is waiting time while the resin hardens. We could have done some of these repairs at sea, but on land it will be easier and there will be help for us.'

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