The eastbound express of the Barcelona World Race is a long, long one – But the attack of fourth placed Renault Captur looks set to be compromised because of an ongoing problem with their starboard rudder which means Jorg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane are having to reduce speeds to keep their boat under control.
hree big successive Chinese gybes last night and early this morningwere more than enough of a warning to the German-French duo of the need to back off, to reduce sail if they are to stay within the sensiblerealms of control. That has meant sailing with two reefs and the J2 and keeping speeds close to 15 kts.
The problem appears to stem from yesterday’s starboard ruder repair. A replacement carbon sleeve was fitted over the damaged rudder but, after speaking to the boat this morning, is seems like the temporary foil is moving or not rigid enough to take the loads when the Finot designed IMOCA 60 is moving at high speeds in the big seas and spins out.
Renault Captur have had trouble with their rudders since the Atlantic. Initially the rudders are reported to have kicked up by themselves. That problem was solved in the Doldrums and again in the St Helena high. Their technical team reports that the rudders were blocked to avoid them kicking up in the Southern Ocean.
After the rudder blade was damaged it was repaired yestrday with a carbon “sock” slipping over the rudder and then stuck in place. The technical team are looking at possible solutions but Riechers seemed to think they will be hobbled for some time.
Cheminées Poujoulat is approaching the mid-point of the Pacific, about to pass into Chilean waters tomorrow, while Spirit of Hungary 4000 miles back which is anticipating their passage of Cape Leeuwin. For all the world the three way battle for second step on the podium looked set to intensify, with all three of the protagonists, long time incumbents Neutrogena, third placed GAES Centros Auditivos and Renault Captur, all up for a sustained battle to the finish line.
Renault may struggle to stay in the match for third, but for sure the tussle is only just hotting up. GAES Centros Auditivos have been keeping up the pressure on Neutrogena. Their deficit this afternoon is reduced to just 57 miles, but Guillermo Altadill and Jose Munoz are one knot quicker now and so that delta should stabilise at worst. The Spanish-Chilean partnership have been further south and appear to have just a little more speed.
Barcelona World Race – Standings at 14:00hrs UTC Tuesday 17 February 2015:
1. Cheminées Poujoulat (B Stamm – J Le Cam) at 9576,2 miles from finish
2. Neutrogena (G Altadill – J Muñoz) + 1120 miles to leader,
3. GAES Centros Auditivos (A Corbella – G Marin) + 1177,6 miles to leader
4. Renault Captur (J Riechers – S Audigane) + 1435,6 miles to leader
5. We Are Water (B Garcia – W Garcia) + 2607,4 miles to leader
6. One Planet One Ocean & Pharmaton (A Gelabert – D Costa) + 3299,7 miles to leader
7. Spirit of Hungary (N Fa – C Colman) + 3963,9 miles to leader