Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dick and Peyron win the Barcelona World Race

From VendeeGlobe

Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron have just won the second edition of the Barcelona World Race, the double-handed race around the world starting and ending in the Spanish port.
This win rewards an experienced, solid duo, whose combined skills enabled them to sail an exemplary race aboard Virbac-Paprec 3.
Unless they suffer some last minute damage, the Spaniards on Mapfre and Renault Z.E are likely to complete the podium in a race marked by the retiral of four crews that were expected to do well: Président, Foncia, Groupe Bel and Mirabaud.

We look back today at the key moments in these past three months of racing.

By winning the Barcelona World Race on Monday, Jean-Pierre Dick has achieved his second victory in this event, while Loïck Peyron adds another line to his remarkable list of achievements.
The magic certainly worked between these two experienced sailors, enabling them to dominate the race almost from start to finish, in spite of two pit stops in Recife and in Wellington.
But winning was no easy matter, as Jean-Pierre Dick stressed on the eve of this win by Virbac-Paprec 3 : “The competition was tougher this time (tougher than in the first edition three years ago, editor’s note) with a playmate to keep us company from the outset (Foncia). Then after New Zealand, we had to fight it out with MAPFRE right up to the finish. It was only when we were in the Indian Ocean that we really found ourselves alone.”

Duel at the front
Barcelona, 31st December 2010.
Fourteen duos crossed the starting line of the Barcelona World Race.
Very early on a duel developed between Virbac-Paprec 3 and Foncia, who were the first two boats to pass through the Straits of Gibraltar.
The start of the race was marked by the forced retiral of Jean Le Cam and Bruno Garcia, following on from the dismasting of their Président.
At the front, the duos of Dick/Peyron and Desjoyeaux/Gabart stuck with each other and both put into Recife in Brazil for a pit stop.
The battle continued until Foncia was dismasted in the South Atlantic a few miles from the Cape of Good Hope.
Michel Desjoyeaux and François Gabart were reluctantly forced out of the race.
Virbac-Paprec 3 began to tackle the southern ocean with a comfortable lead over the boats chasing after them, MAPFRE, Groupe Bel and Estrella Damm.
Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron were all alone at the front in the Indian Ocean and were the first to cross the longitude of Cape Leeuwin.
But when they were forced to put into Wellington for a pit stop, the suspense built again.

MAPFRE manages to keep up, while Groupe Bel retires
The pit-stop lasted 48 hours and they set off again just 128 miles ahead of Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez, who achieved a remarkable recovery on board MAPFRE, the boat aboard which Michel Desjoyeaux won the last Vendée Globe.
Constantly on the attack, the Spaniards clawed back the miles and almost grabbed the lead.
Behind them, Estrella Damm and Groupe Bel carried out a pit stop in Wellington.
This situation benefited Pachi Rivero and Pepe Ribes, who took third place aboard Renault Z.E.
Still at the front, Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron extended their lead as they approached Cape Horn, and went on to round it with a good lead.
On board Groupe Bel, Kito de Pavant and Sébastien Audigane rounded the Horn too, but were forced to retire with a damaged keel. Kito de Pavant would not complete his first round the world voyage.
“This was a difficult decision, as we have completed the hard part of this Barcelona World Race, “ he explained, before adding, “It is of course very frustrating, as we just had the Atlantic left and we had hoped to continue the fight to earn our place on the podium.”

Dick-Peyron a winning duo

Dick and Peyron in control
A few days later, Mirabaud was dismasted after rounding Cape Horn.
The adventure was over for Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret, after their third place in the first edition of the race.
At the same time, Dick and Peyron were continuing their climb up the Atlantic.
But stuck in the Doldrums that were particularly active, they saw their lead over Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez melt away as they were slowed down much less in the intertropical convergence zone.
But the French were to recover and extend their lead again.
The two crews went into stealth mode as they rounded the Azores high, but this little trick was not to change anything on the ground. Virbac-Paprec 3 could be confident of winning the race unless they suffered some damage.
With strong headwinds and boat-breaking seas, the end of the race was particularly tough on the leaders. As they passed Gibraltar, the boat experienced the worst conditions since the start of the race. After this violent episode, they were to find themselves becalmed.
The Mediterranean certainly lived up to its reputation.
Virbac-Paprec 3 went on to cross the finishing line at 10h20 GMT on Monday, after 93 days 22 hours and 20 minutes of racing.

Second place
Unless there is a major upset, MAPFRE is set to take second place today.
A fine result for this crew, who managed to make up for their lack of experience by showing faultless determination.
Renault Z.E will almost certainly take third place, thus confirming the overall improvements in Spanish sailing.
Thanks to some good strategic choices, Pachi Rivero and Pepe Ribes managed to ward of the repeated attacks of Estrella Damm and Neutrogena, respectively in fourth and fifth place on Monday.
After Central Lechera Asturiana was forced to turn back and head for New Zealand this Monday morning, four other duos are continuing towards Barcelona: GAES Centros Auditivos, Hugo Boss, Forum Maritim Catala and We Are Water.
They have all had their own problems. Only Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella, aboard GAES Centros Auditivos, have not carried out a pit stop.
With large gaps between them, these crews now only have one real ambition and that is to complete their round the world voyage.

Links :
  • TheDailySail : Well earned victory
  • YachtPals : Barcelona World Race winners
  • Marine GeoGarage blog : Barcelona WR, second edition for the two-handed world race

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