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Barcelona World Race After Two Weeks

By Richard Proctor

Okay, in reality the world of boating has many classic races and you can spend a lot of time following many different events. Of late, we have been taken by the Barcelona World Race. A number of factors come into play. A fairly large fleet of similar yachts, a classic round the world course and a collection of talented racers. Also, in the first two weeks the yachts have had almost ?a bit of everything?! There have been Light winds, strong winds, dismasting and running into obstacles. Good TV coverage at the start and a modern interactive website also helped raise the profile of the Barcelona World Race. Whilst these boats are ?off? and over the horizon, modern technology means that we can all follow the events closely. Indeed, if you want, you can enter the virtual race known as ?the game? and try your luck, albeit from the comfort of your living room.

Well it all kicked-off in Barcelona on New Years Eve. Prior to the race, Alex Thomson was taken ill and had to be replaced. Plans were in place for him to rejoin his yacht Hugo Boss but this has been postponed at present. An overcast day with rain showers. A light breeze to take the fleet away from the start line. A large crowd had gathered on the water, in the marina and along the shoreline. The Barcelona World Race fleet gathered and at the appropriate time, they were off. A short leg along the coast for the crowds. First to start was Groupe Bel with Foncia following on. At the first mark, the lead was 1minute and 13 seconds. The next leg comprised 530 miles across the Mediterranean to the ?Gibraltar Straights? gate. On paper a fairly straight forward matter of keeping Spain on your starboard (righthand) side and passing to the port (left) of the Balearics. The reality was some surprisingly difficult conditions. Fickle winds and strong adverse tides proved to be very testing. The fleet stayed together up until the headland at Cabo de Palos, but then a split soon developed with a group containing Foncia, Virbrac Paprec 3 and Estrella Damm heading south to catch better breezes off the North African coast. President, Mapfre and Groupe Bel hung onto the Southern Spanish Coast for too long and the switch paid off with the African side of the course being the better.

Virbac- Paprec 3 sailed across the Gibraltar gateway and took the first of the six stages in the Barcelona World Race at about 1955hrs on the 3rd January 2011. Foncia and Mirabaud crossed soon thereafter but by that time the lead had been set at about 56 miles. In terms of the total distance to be sailed (25,000 miles approx) a small gap but for those boats left in the Med? this might as well have been a lot further. Indeed the very last yacht didn?t escape the grip of the Mediterranean until the 6th January 2011 nearly some three days later.

Some of the fleet may well have thought that the race didn?t start until the large expanse of the Atlantic was set out in front and indeed the more predictable nature of the wind and sea must have been a comfort. The leaders setout to search for the elusive trade winds and the general direction was to get some few hundred miles out into the Atlantic whilst endeavouring to head south. At all times closing the distance on the next gate which is positioned way to the south. The African continent is a vast expanse of land and the time required to move along its coast can be measured in weeks rather than days. Of course, with a following wind, spinnaker and a 60? foot racing yacht the miles start to pass swiftly under the keel (or daggerboards!). On the 6th January, Virbrac- Paprec3 and Foncia rounded Madeira with Estrella Damm and Mirabaud passing to the east. The following yachts tried to close the gap by ?peeling off? to the south sooner. The leading group of yachts then headed towards the Western Island of the Canaries (Isla de la Palma). A steady breeze and this significant landmass was soon on the horizon and the two leaders passed late on the evening of the 7th January 2011. The general direction of travel was southwest and the following yachts were upon La Palma on the 8th January 2011 but heading further out to sea. Trailing yachts including ?We are Water? and ?Central Lechera Asturiana? passed between the Islands on the 9th Jan?. The lead changed. Foncia chose to dive further south whilst trailing Virbac- Paprec3 and this move pushed Foncia ahead. Virbrac- Paprec3 picked up on the change and chose to head south a little later. However, Virbac- Paprec 3 soon regained the lead with the distance recorded at 41.4 miles at 20.00hrs on the 9th January 2011. As the trade winds became more consistent, boat speeds across the fleet consistently picked up with all exceeding 15 knots. The leaders were even powering along at up to 19 knots.

At these speeds, each boat?s size does become significant and at times hard to control. The chance of gear failure increases. It was thus unfortunate to hear that the yacht ?President? lost her mast. All onboard were okay but she had to make her way back to the Cape Verde Islands under power. Foncia also reported that she had hull damage to her bow section. It is likely that she hit an object. There is a sacrificial section (like a bumper !) that is designed to take a collision and protect the main hull and this will now need to be replaced. Plans are in place for her to stop and make the repair before rejoining the race. However, this is likely to result in the loss of time and position.

As at 12th January 2011, places remained relatively unchanged with the top three comprising Virbac-Paprec3, Foncia and Estrella Damm. In these types of races, there are many factors that come into play and the race is not over until you cross the finish line.


Central Lechera Asturiana. Estrella Damm Sailing Team. Foncia. Forum Maritim Catala. Gaes Centros Auditivos. Groupe Bel. Hugo Boss. Mapfre. Mirabaud. Neutrogena. President. Renault ZE Sailing Team. Verbac-Paprec 3. We are Water.

Barcelona World Race Review. First Two Weeks Of The Race Reviewed Barcelona World Race Review, and further news, views and marine articles Skippers Guide News

categories: Barcelona World Race,Yacht Race,IMOCA Open 60,Sailing,Yacht Racing,Boating,Sailing News,Maritime News,Sport

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Proctor, Richard "Barcelona World Race After Two Weeks." Barcelona World Race After Two Weeks. 18 Jan. 2011. 4 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Proctor, R (2011, January 18). Barcelona World Race After Two Weeks. Retrieved August 4, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Proctor, Richard "Barcelona World Race After Two Weeks"

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