As the first two boats in the Barcelona World Race fleet are safely home and already enjoying the pleasures of life back on shore, three continue to battle it out on the water.
Screenshot of the AIS system showing all the cargo ships in the area ©Temenos II - Barcelona World Race
And it has been a real crusade for Temenos II as the third-placed Swiss-French boat made their way through the Straits of Gibraltar, officially passing the penultimate scoring gate in the Gibraltar Straits early this morning 15th February at 01.30h GMT and with an elapsed time of 13days 08hours 45minutes, the fastest so far.
Yet again the entry into the Mediterranean has proven harsh as the Swiss skipper reported: 'We are very tired after such a long night and strong and unstable winds. There were cargo ships all around us; we had to call them all and be extremely careful to avoid collision. It is quite incredible just how much traffic is on the water. It is like crossing a huge highway, and with the strong seas the ships are not easy to spot or to negotiate their route.'
Temenos II should have lighter conditions in the next 24 hours, and at the 1200 GMT position report are only 440 miles from home - due to arrive in Barcelona early evening on Sunday 17th February.
Conditions are also going to be testing for Mutua Madrileña, who despite making up 120 miles in the last 24 hours on a direct heading to Gibraltar, now has to confront the big seas, and gusts of up to 40 knots that will accompany them on their passage through to the scoring gate.
'It won't be enough,' admitted Javier 'Bubi' Sansó this morning, 'realistically thinking, the weather configuration that we have from here to Barcelona means we don't have enough hours to recover those 180 miles. It is virtually impossible unless something bad happens, and now we want to be conservative as it is going to be 'hairy' passing Straits. We have to be careful as the boat is tired and we don't want to push anything. We want to arrive back safely with everything as it is right now.'
Bubi and Pachi are currently due to arrive in the Catalan capital on Monday afternoon, 18th February.
Educación sin Fronteras, 1700 miles from the Gibraltar scoring gate is making steady progress north, and now on a latitude with the Cape Verde Islands.
'The weather situation is quite complicated,' explained skipper Servane Escoffier this morning, 'I am thinking about it and studying a lot. We have seen that it is better to do 10 knots upwind, than reaching and covering less miles.'
Conscious of the wear and tear on their boat; Educación sin Fronteras is one of only two in the fleet that has not stopped at all during the race, co-skipper Albert Bargues admitted that they were praying for calmer conditions when they reach Gibraltar in about a week's time.
Day 96 - February 15th, 14:00 GMT - Position report with distance to leader
1. PAPREC-VIRBAC 2 - Jean Pierre DICK / Damian FOXALL - finished 11/2/08
2. HUGO BOSS - Alex THOMSON / Andrew CAPE - finished 14/2/08
3. TEMENOS 2 - Dominique Wavre / Michele PARET- 428
4. MUTUA MADRILENA - Javier SANSO / Pachi RIVERO - 602
5. EDUCACION SIN FRONTERAS - Servane ESCOFFIER / Albert BARGUES - 2192
Quotes - Servane Escoffier, Educación sin Fronteras: 'It is very hard to live with the same person for three months at sea and it doesn't matter who! People have their faults, you have to question yourself every day and think 'maybe I'm right but maybe I'm wrong'. Two people don't always think the same, nor have the same mind set of how to do things, but if you want to keep your common goal you have to think and compromise every day. It is an adventure within an adventure in this Barcelona World Race.'
Temenos II see their first ship in the Atlantic ©Temenos II - Barcelona World Race