Gibraltar – Although speeds through the night have been lower – making just 65-70 miles through the night between the 1900hrs and 0500hrs ranking – the leaders of the Barcelona World Race are still comfortably on schedule to set a new record for the 538 miles passage from the Barcelona start line to Gibraltar.
At 0600hrs UTC this Friday morning Alex Thomson and Pepe Ribes are around 100 miles east of Gibraltar making around 7-8kts as they slide downwind in the light E’ly breeze of the western Alboran Sea. The leader is expected to be off Gibraltar between 1430 and 1530hrs this afternoon.
The rhythm may not exactly be fast and furious but it is intense for the leaders, who have had very very little sleep, zig-zagging downwind in the best of the breeze, gybing approximately every hour or so. Hugo Boss have extended slightly on their closest pursuers, Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam on Cheminées Poujoulat and on the early morning ranking are 8.8 miles ahead. The Swiss-French duo appear to have had one particularly slow period during the night.
GAES Centros Auditivos, Anna Corbella and Gérard Marin look to be breaking more to the south, towards the Algerian and Moroccan coast where there can be some better breeze but there is more contrary current on this side so this could be a higher risk option. Meantime they have ceded third place to Neutrogena. Guillermo Altadill and Jose Muñoz who remain in phase with the Hugo Boss and have sailed a good night with solid average speeds. Renault Capture, Jörg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane, seem to be opting to break south too, in fifth place at 50 miles behind the leaders.
Weather files suggest that the favourable E’ly breeze should build from 10-15kts in the west of the Alboran Sea to as much as 30kts as they accelerate out of the Gibraltar Strait late this afternoon and in the evening.
The boats placed sixth to eighth are developing their ‘race within the race’ with Didac Costa and Alex Gelabeirt on One Planet One Ocean Pharmaton in sixth, heading slowly SW towards the Algerian coast, in seventh the Garcia brothers have a solid middle ground courseon We Are Water, while Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman are still quite north on Spirit of Hungary. But there is just 20 miles in terms of DTF between the three who are really in the grip of the light winds which see them slowed to less than three kts, unfortunately increasing their split away from the five boats in front.
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