Hugo Boss chipping away at Paprec-Virbac 2 lead

Temenos II leaving Wellington after pit-stop ©Chris Cameron / DPPI / Barcelona World Race

Barcelona World Race leader Paprec-Virbac 2 had picked up a Southern Ocean low pressure system today, with winds of 30 to 35 knots and a lumpy sea state. Although uncomfortable, it's a welcome breath of wind for the leader, who had seen second-placed Hugo Boss chipping away at their lead. And this low pressure should carry Paprec-Virbac 2 the bulk of the way to Cape Horn, still some 1700 miles away.

'It's very windy indeed with the low pressure coming in. It's not very big, but very deep so it's making quite strong winds,' was the way skipper Jean-Pierre Dick described the state of affairs. 'It's making the sea very chaotic. We're expecting North-Northeast and then South winds that will bring freezing conditions. It's not going to be very much fun for the next three days. We'll have to fight hard to keep the boat in good condition and keep the lead.'

Indeed, Hugo Boss made more gains overnight, but today has been better for Paprec-Virbac 2, who have just about held their position over the past 24 hours, dropping just 10 miles.

'Where we are, the low has come down from the Pacific and we've missed that bus already. We used it yesterday, but now it's going and we're falling back under high pressure until the next train comes - another low - which will pick us up again and put us on our way,' said Hugo Boss co-skipper Andrew Cape. 'It's not the best situation for us right now, but we should have a good run coming up.we'll pick a latitude we're happy with, we don't want to get too cold, or see too much ice!'

Behind them, Temenos II has rejoined the race, but it's been a slower restart than they might have hoped for, with light headwinds hampering their early progress. Meanwhile, Mutua Madrileña remains at the dock in Wellington, making repairs in an effort to be ready to rejoin the race as soon as possible.

They are catching a slight break with Educación sin Fronteras stalled on its approach to New Zealand. Nearly becalmed all day, it's been a frustrating 12 hours for Servane Escoffier.

'We only have 3 or 4 knots wind,' she told us this morning. 'We are really stuck! We dropped the mainsail in order not to damage it (from flogging back and forth in the calm airs). The Mutua Madrileña guys decided to stop at the right moment: they are not going to lose a lot of miles to us. If the weather stays like this, we won't even be there tomorrow. On EducaciónSin Fronteras, we are better when it's windy!'

Team making repairs to the hull of Mutua Madrileña ©Chris Cameron / DPPI / Barcelona World Race


Day 55 - January 4, 14:00 GMT - Position report with distance to leader

1. PAPREC-VIRBAC 2 - Jean Pierre DICK / Damian FOXALL - 0
2. HUGO BOSS - Alex THOMSON / Andrew CAPE - 825
3. TEMENOS II - Dominique Wavre / Michele PARET- 2639
4. MUTUA MADRILENA - Javier SANSO / Pachi RIVERO - 2734
5. EDUCACION SIN FRONTERAS - Servane ESCOFFIER / Albert BARGUES - 3027

Abandoned - VEOLIA ENVIRONNEMENT - Roland JOURDAIN / Jean Luc NELIAS
Abandoned - ESTRELLA DAMM - Guillermo ALTADILL / JONATHAN MCKEE
Abandoned - DELTA DORE - Jérémie BEYOU / Sidney GAVIGNET
Abandoned - PRB - Vincent Riou / Sebastien JOSSE

Quotes - Andrew Cape, Hugo Boss: 'You can't worry about the things you can't control, you can't let it drive you nuts. You just look for the next opportunity and the cards you've been dealt and work it to the best advantage. Over time - which I've got! - you get used to taking the rough with the smooth.'

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Mutua Madrileña ©Chris Cameron / DPPI / Barcelona World Race