Barcelona World Race skippers keen to cross finish line

Hugo Boss - Barcelona World Race 2011
© Hugo Boss
Barcelona World Race duos on Hugo Boss and on Forum Maritim Catala are eager to cross the race finish line later this week. In the end it will be down to the vagaries of the Mediterranean weather but the skippers have different other reasons to be keen to be home.

Andy Meiklejohn has an expectant young son’s birthday Friday while Gerard Marin would like to be in for Saturday, returning from his first circumnavigation to give his girlfriend her traditional rose on St Jordi’s (Saint George’s Day).

Marin, from Girona, was wearing probably the biggest smile yet of his 108 days at sea – save perhaps the big grin that he wore for his Cape Horn rounding – today when he was linked with Barcelona. The combination of fast reaching towards home, making easy miles towards the target on the former Kingfisher, and knowing that by tomorrow night or Wednesday morning they should be back in the Med, are reasons enough to be happy especially after many tense, difficult days.

Speaking on this morning’s Visio-Conference he said, 'These are great farewell times for our round the world race. The Med is very difficult to predict and forecast, so it could take up to four days from the Straits, but I think between Saturday night and Monday morning. I am not sure that I will be back in time for St Jordi’s day (Saint George’s Day) to give my girlfriend a rose.'

Forum Maritim Catala has made a further 100 miles on Hugo Boss over the 24 hours to mid morning today, and were 380 miles behind Andy Meiklejohn and Wouter Verbraak this morning.

Hugo Boss were well into the stiff easterly Levante conditions by this morning, expecting up to 30knots with difficult seas which will require the Kiwi-Dutch pairing to take care of their boat before what looks like a relativey straightforward upwind passage to Barcelona.

This morning the duo had 605 miles to the finish – some 80 miles of upwind sailing to get to Tarifa – where they were expected to pass around midnight tonight. Both will enjoy the moment this morning knowing they have less than one Fastnet or one Sydney-Hobart to go, but a short sprint compared to their ultra-marathon. But the difficult conditions and heavy shipping traffic meant they could not join Barcelona for the visio-conference this morning.

Gerard Marin (ESP) Forum Maritim Catala, 'We are happy, sailing on a beam reach at 15 knots with 400 miles from the Straits of Gibraltar and we hope to get there tomorrow night. The wind is a bit more than forecast and there are some squalls coming in. We are sailing with the low pressure buyt once we get to the Straits we will get to headwinds, beating and it will be difficult to make more miles on Hugo Boss after that. At the moment we can catch a few more miles, but I think it is impossible to catch them. It is down to the meteorology now but I don’t think we can. It is just part of the game.

For me sailing back into the Med after the whole circumnavigation is very important. It is an important stage in my career as a sportsperson, but of course I have to finish it. But it will take a few days to discover how it really feels. It is a good thing for the future. And hopefully it will lead to other things in the future. The D4 and D3 diagonals have stretched a bit and are too long, so with the wind as it is just now with a reef and a genoa it does not affect us too much. We cant set the full main and usually we have to take in the reef two or three knots before we would usually do so.

These are great farewell times for our round the world race. The Med is very difficult to predict and forecast, so it could take up to four days from the Straits, but I think between Saturday night and Monday morning. I am not sure that I will be back in time for St Jordi’s day (Saint George’s Day) to give my girlfriend a rose.'

Barcelona World Race website