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Barcelona World Race: The South is calling...

After 21 days of round-the-world racing, the competitors of the Barcelona World Race are hurtling across the ocean.

After 21 days of round-the-world racing, the competitors of the Barcelona World Race are hurtling across the ocean. Even though for the time being their feat is still concentrated in the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean and the Far South are only a few days away. In the meantime, Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam are clearly affirming themselves as the forerunners, with a lead of over 190 nautical miles on their major competitor, the Hispano-Chilean duo racing for Neutrogena. They owe this position to the favourable weather conditions experienced at the helm of the Cheminées Poujoulat boat.

Forty-eight hours ago, despite having clearly crossed over into the southern Atlantic, Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam spoke of the surprising weather changes they experienced, notwithstanding the doldrums recently left in their wake: squalls, whims and unstable air...they got a taste of everything. They noticed a drastic difference on Wednesday though; so much the better! Sailing with 20- to 25-knot North-Westerly winds, at a speed varying between 18 and 23 knots, on fairly calm waters, Bernard Stamm was undoubtedly in a good mood: "We're making progress! We've got a fair bit of wind blowing in the right direction for now. We will soon be leaving that flow, and will be entering a rather slow transition area before catching the southern depression that will take us to the South-East of Africa. Our goal then is to sail from depression to depression, striving to ride the same one for as long as possible". When listening to the Swiss skipper, it seems like they have the next few days carefully planned out, although a slight damper was mentioned: "We still have to settle on a strategy for dealing with the no-go zone. Decisions will need to be made. We need to start putting our heads together very soon. Our route up until southern Africa is however already defined".

A quick look in the rear-view mirror

This bright spell has thus allowed our two skippers to make their way steadily forward, now outdistancing their closest competitors - Guillermo Altadill and Jose Munoz - by more than 190 nautical miles, as the latter did not benefit from their southern drift, hoping to reach the Roaring Forties quicker. Their route was considered and of course closely monitored by Bernard Stamm: "We kept a close eye on Neutrogena's route. We were even tempted to do the same as them at one stage. It could have been a good option, as it would have led us to practically the same place as our route did. But we mostly tried to avoid the open sea, as it can prove to be quite a hindrance. The other problem is that they are dangerously close to the no-go zone. We are satisfied with our decision, but are still watching them closely!"

Coming up to the Indian Ocean...

In about 4 days' time, the Cheminées Poujoulat team will be crossing the Cape of Good Hope latitude, the first of three capes identified during this Barcelona World Race. Once passed, and more specifically once Cape Agulhas has been circumvented, the skippers will make their entrance into the Indian Ocean and the Far South. They are looking forward to this moment, but will also need to think carefully about the required equipment and adjustments: "Once we have entered the South, we more or less know what we are in for. We therefore need to prepare the boat accordingly and make the most of the upcoming calm section. We are constantly monitoring the boat, we check it thoroughly every day, but we will need to be particularly vigilant just before reaching the South". 

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