Christmas Day Round up

Damian and JP celebrating Christmas onboard Paprec-Virbac 2

Christmas Day Round Up

Barcelona World Race

Christmas is already behind the Barcelona World Race fleet, and the front runners are about to say farewell to the Indian Ocean as well. Jean-Pierre Dick and Damian Foxall on Paprec Virbac 2 are now 215 miles ahead of Hugo Boss; a great turn around when just a couple of days ago the Black boat came within twelve miles of the Franco-Irish entry!

A combination of clever weather work maybe, but certainly not pure boat speed alone. It looks like Jean Pierre Dick and Damian Foxall will have a slightly later arrival in the Cook Strait than was originally the case; they should arrive sometime on Boxing Day - 26 December.

Temenos II is now 1642 miles behind the leaders, and although she is making very good average speeds, their pit stop in Wellington is going to seriously put them behind. Mutua Madrileña has reduced the difference to 300 miles of Dominique and Michele; still averaging 16-17 knots of boat speed, the Spanish boat also moved closer to the leaders overnight.

Christmas Eve in the northern Hemisphere was already Christmas Day for the fleet and much windier than predictions would have had us believe, might not have been the easiest time to celebrate.

Barcelona World race positions at 08:00hrs 25 December 2007
1 Paprec Virbac 2, DTF 11,582 nm
2 Hugo Boss + 210
3 Temenos 2 + 1635
4 Mutua Madrileña + 1963
5 Educación Sin Fronteras + 3137

IDEC 2
Francis Joyon on IDEC 2

Francis Joyon has continued his race through the ice, seeing a fifth iceberg in 48 hours, 'a huge ice floe that was filling the horizon'. The strong winds, up to 50 knots and very rough seas are slowing his progress today.

Joyon is still covering 450 miles each 24 hours. Solidly sitting at the north edge of the depression, he is relying on the movement of this impressive system to maintain the pressure south-westerly up to the shores of South America. He is some 2,000 nm from Cape Horn this morning.

Thomas Coville on Sodebo
SodebO
.. .

Thomas Coville on Sodeb'O is currently sailing flat out and was due to cross equator last night, after a little over 7 days racing, that is with a day and a half's lead over Ellen and a few hours extra than Francis Joyon's record time. It has to be said that Thomas Coville has been going flat out since Ushant despite harsh conditions and that it’s at the cost of some intense physical effort that he’ll pass into the Southern hemisphere this Christmas Eve.

No roast turkey or yule log on the menu, just some soup and a slice of wholemeal bread for starters, followed by a little hot Sodeb'O dish with a rice base accompanied by a drizzle of olive oil.

In the coming hours, Sodeb’O will hit the SE’ly tradewinds. The squalls are gradually becoming rarer even though, mid conversation with us at the start of the afternoon, a rather ominous black cloud was climbing quickly towards him. This type of cloud is typical of the doldrums and brings gusts of violent wind.

They’re forcing the solo sailor to stay on the look out for fear of capsize. Indeed in the early hours, Thomas had a real fright. Dozing after a night spent manœuvring, he was woken by violent rain and only had time to let the sheets fly once he realised that the boat was very high on one hull.

The underperforming weather part of the scenario will become more complicated with the obligatory rounding of the Saint Helena High, which is barring the route in the middle of the Southern Atlantic and is today preventing him from benefiting from the shortest route for joining up with the roaring forties and the big downwind conditions in the West.