Barcelona World Race finish line in sight for Virbac-Paprec 3

Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron - Barcelona World Race 2011
Virbac Paprec 3
Barcelona World Race leaders Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron are preparing to spend their last night at sea together in reflection and anticipation while Boris Herrmann and Dee Caffari welcome distractions.

In terms of the total course distance, 25,200 miles and their 93 days since leaving Barcelona, the final 89 miles which the French duo had to still complete at 1400hrs UTC is but the blink of an eye, but Dick and Peyron will enjoy a serene final night at sea anticipating the huge release the finish line will bring and the frenzy which inevitably follows.

Niçoise skipper Dick has a better idea of what awaits having enjoyed the warm welcome from the Catalan capital which he received in February 2008 when he won the first edition of the race with Damian Foxall, but for Peyron – despite dozens of accolades and honours offshore and inshore – it will be his first round-the-world triumph in an ocean racing career spanning more than 30 years.

He claimed today that one of his plans for the final 24 hours was to sleep as much as he can, while Dick – who has admitted in the past that he is something of a hard driving perfectionist who struggles to ease off – looked much more relaxed today, knowing that their three month marathon is all but over with the main goal nearly completed.

'Mapfre is a respectable distance behind and so I think we can say we have almost won. We can touch victory!' smiled Dick.

After a slow passage north of the Balearics this afternoon the duo are now expected to break the finish line at around breakfast time Monday morning.

For the rest of the fleet today, as much as any recently, the imminent first place arrival might be a catalyst for the realization that the podium now has a certain solid shape, and opportunities for promotion and demotion through the rest of their race look quite low.

Boris Herrmann and Dee Caffari, speaking on today’s live Visio-Conference, did not acknowledge as much but both were more focused on the release from recent long days of tedium and the routings which will get them finished quickest.

Herrmann even admitted that a complex seven hour rebuild and repair to their autopilot hydraulics had been a welcome distraction, and Caffari said she was looking forward to more trimming, sail changes and manoeuvres after days of upwind sailing.

But their die are cast and their respective achievements within reach: Caffari and Corbella as the first woman to complete four circumnavigations and the first Spanish female circumnavigator and Herrrmann and Breymaier have really stamped their mark on this race: with smart, fast sailing and maturity well beyond their racing years, to highlight their prospects for the future.

And for Renault Z.E Sailing Team, 340 miles from Gibraltar this evening and making a direct course, their third step on the podium is by a margin of 200 miles just now to Estrella Damm. In the Mediterranean – contrary to their lacklustre departure three months ago – Rivero and Piris are usually as accomplished and strong as anyone duo in the fleet.

Standings of Sunday 3rd April at 1400hrs UTC:
1 Virbac-Paprec 89 miles to finish
2 Mapfre + 247 miles to leader
3 Renault Z.E at + 799 miles to leader
4 Estrella Damm Sailing Team at + 1004miles to leader
5 Neutrogena at + 1305 miles to leader
6 Gaes Centros Auditivos at + 1952 miles to leader
7 Hugo Boss at + 3127 miles to leader
8 Forum Maritim Catala at + 3972 miles to leader
9 We Are Water at + 6441 miles to leader
10 Central Lechera Asturiana at + 10389 miles to leader
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