Hard slog in light winds for Barcelona fleet

Hugo Boss ©Chris Cameron / DPPI / Barcelona World Race

Slowly but surely moving up into the North Atlantic, Paprec Virbac 2 and Hugo Boss are currently doing similar speeds in light, irregular trade winds.

After a short spell heading west Boss has tacked back and a little further to the east than the front runners is following the track of the Franco-Irish leaders. Temenos II and Mutua Madrileña are both up to speed, with a similar average of 12 knots, their passage towards Gate 7 facilitated by steadier east north-easterly trade winds. Dominique and Michele are now just over 400 miles from Fernando de Noronha, with the Spanish boat just 91 miles behind both should cross the gate in the next 48 hours.

Educación sin Fronteras is currently the fastest boat in the fleet and is now making good progress in south easterly winds off the coast of Brazil. Servane and Albert should close in further on the leaders as they benefit from an area of low pressure lying off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

Temenos II is still progressing towards the next Brazilian scoring gate of Fernando de Noronha in unstable trade winds, which means a lot of foresail changes. The Franco-Swiss couple should cross the 7th gate tomorrow or the night after. This morning, Michèle Paret explained to their shore team. 'For the last few hours, we have had between 16 and 20 knots. The swell picked up ahead of us, the boat speed increased and we started to hit the waves:more violently. Once again it is wet on the deck. This fluctuation of the trade winds was not announced on our weather files. We should get lighter winds this morning, the files forecasted something stronger but more to the North.. This could reach us and if that is the case, it should be like this for another 50 miles.

The conditions should be lighter when we arrive at Fernando de Noronha, but we will still have stable trade winds. Strategically, we have to avoid sailing too close to the shore: there is a large windless area along the Brazilian coast”.

Andrew Cape on Hugo Boss this afternoon. 'We are going dead upwind and it’s painfully slow. It’s going to be a while but we are doing our best. Right now we have about fifteen knots north-easterly; it’s a bit grey, overcast and not much sunshine. We are getting there that’s all I can say. We are definitely not going to speed up, it is always going to be slow towards Gibraltar and never really pointing at it, and we still have about nine or ten days before we get there we really haven’t go the full weather picture in we have to see how it works out. It isn’t bad going but you slow down as the wind goes through and your VMG to the mark decreases, whereas the timing is similar about 3.5 days and unless there is a weather break towards the end we probably wont improve on that, you will probably notice the boats behind us closing in the next few days by about 250 miles. When they get through the Doldrums they will slow down again so it will be maintained.

The equipment and measures are the same, there is no real change you look after yourself at the end of the day - you still make sure you are clipped on when going forward and take it easy. With shorter handed boats when you are doing sail changes you tend to come away from the wind and don’t have the danger of being washed overboard, which in a fully-crewed boat doesn’t happen because you usually want to push hard all the time. It is similar as regards the equipment – two life rafts on here which is pretty normal. So far so good with us! People keep saying we are close to home only two weeks away, but we sunk with Movistar about 500 miles from my front door so I am going to wait until we get well and truly in! The rudder is hanging in there we are not heavily loading it so it looks fine - and fingers crossed with that one as well. It think it should do the job, if we have any hard reaching or running it might get a little tricky but I think it will hold up ok, and we will live in hope.

I’ve never been in a complete panic but when we were down South in the Indian Ocean and the temperature dropped dramatically there was the feeling that there were icebergs around and we certainly didn’t see one. But the ice is always my biggest concern of the other thing most things you can more or less control. When we broke the record that wasn’t really hard, that was just the boat being powered up and keeping it going forwards but you do get to the point where what you have is pure adrenalin that keeps you awake, keeps you driving the boat and keeps you working. I haven’t been radically scared I have to honestly say but when you do get that feeling you normally just want to go below and hide but to keep the boat going the adrenalin is the main one.

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