Paprec-Virbac 2 extends lead over Hugo Boss

Michele celebrating Christmas onboard Temenos II - ©Temenos II

A nice gain overnight for Paprec-Virbac 2 who awoke on Christmas eve to fine a they'd picked up over 40 miles on Hugo Boss over the past 24 hours and have now extended that to just over 220 miles.

Boss is directly behind, there very little lateral separation, and both boats are engaged in a speed contest this morning. ETA for Cook Strait is still Christmas Day for Paprec-Virbac 2, although with the wind becoming a bit fluky near NZ, a precise time is difficult to predict.

Temenos II is heading directly for Cook Strait, still somewhat slower due to their keel problems.

There's nothing wrong on Mutua Madrilena however, as they racked up the best 24 hour run in the fleet at 386 miles. Similarly, Educacion sin Fronteras is now heading directly at the Australian safety gate with a good forecast for Christmas - no dramatic Southern Ocean storms for the next couple of days...

Positions at 12:00hrs 24 Dec 2007
1 Paprec Virbac 2 11,842
2 Hugo Boss + 222
3 Temenos 2 + 1662
4 Mutua Madrileña + 2015
5 Educación Sin Fronteras + 3138

Damian Foxall on Paprec-Virbac 2 had a unique take on the Barcelona World Race to this point when he was speaking on the video conference today. 'Yep, just about halfway. But there's a long way to go...this has just been the warm-up really!'

'It's still very close, with Hugo Boss pushing us now. We have to try and maximise our lead before we deal with Cook Strait.'

Michèle Paret compares Christmas at sea and ashore:

From Temenos II: 'It’s nice to have a touch of colour aboard, the garlands moving in time to the waves. Moments like these evoke images of land, which clearly makes you a little nostalgic. On shore during these periods there is just a whirlwind of people. At sea, you don’t have to trawl around the shops and you have time to immerse yourself in your memories, especially with the conditions being very calm at the moment…'