Barcelona, 01 April 2011
Sting in the Tail? …Check!
Just as it did in 2008, the at times malicious Straits of Gibraltar did not offer an easy passage to Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron as they guided Virbac-Paprec 3 back into the Mediterranean early this morning, returning into the teeth of 40 knots of Levant easterly wind, funnelling through the passage.
It may be the final hurdle for the French duo to negotiate, but it was one which demanded absolute respect and prudence, Loïck Peyron reported this morning, after an exhausting night. Their mode is that of the express delivery of a tired boat and wearied crew and they were taking no risks as the Straits dealt them one final gale and the busy shipping lanes required extra vigilance, taking on some of the most demanding challenges through 91 days of racing:
“ The passage of Gibraltar was hard,”said Peyron, “ We get some sleep now to recover from the night. It was some of the worst times with the boat since we left. We had a lot of wind, 40 knots with a short sea which could break things. And it is still the same in the Alboran. What a welcome to the Mediterranean which sometimes has the worst sea conditions. It is lovely for swimming but not for sailing when you have the wind on the nose. And that has been the case for 15 days. That has been a little too long. We are upwind, upwind, upwind. And at the moment we are slamming a lot still. And as I speak I am checking out the small window for ships to make sure we don’t hit one or two because we are right in the middle of the shipping lanes. It is slamming and it hurts the boat, and when it hurts the boat, it hurts us. It is to finish suffering. It is difficult for the boat, it suffered a lot, as much now as it has at any point in the last three months. Upwind is not very good for the structure of the boat, but in fact it is difficult to relieve it.”
Their passage of the Alboran sea was offering little relief, but by Saturday afternoon off Almeria and the Cabo de Gata point, the French duo should see their upwind conditions start to ease. And the final stretch from the Balearics’ latitude could slow for the final 175 miles. Best estimates formed from the current weather models have Dick and Peyron breaking the finish line Monday morning.
For the pursuing duo there is the reality of lighter winds forecast for their passage of Gibraltar, but for Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez on MAPFRE missing out on Spain’s premier Olympic regatta, Palma’s annual Princess Sofia Regatta, the first ISAF World Cup event of the European season, did not stop the double Olympic medallists from joining their compatriots from the Spanish Olympic team, linked by Visio-Conference with the Yacht Club of Arenal.
“There is no excuses for underperforming for you, we will be watching the weather and watching on the internet.”Joked Xabi Fernandez.
Asked about whether their future plans would include the 2012 Olympics, he said:
“You will all know soon enough. In a short time we will talk about our plans for the Olympics, we will talk about them in Barcelona. And we will tell you then.”
Barcelona, 02 April 2011
Scotched and Scorched
Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron may be on track to win the second edition of the Barcelona World Race but the French duo this afternoon were experiencing the other extreme of the Mediterranean in Spring.
Only hours after slamming upwind through the Straits of Gibraltar and the Alboran Sea in a combination of sea and wind conditions which were considered by the skippers, and – from a distance – the co-designer of the successful IMOCA Open 60 – as potentially boat damaging.
“I have to say I was a bit stressed by the weather yesterday, and so were they apparently. It was perfect for breaking the boat at the last moment and that would have been so unfair.” Commented Guillaume Verdier, of the partnership between VPLP/Verdier which designed the Virbac-Paprec 3.
On what should be their penultimate afternoon together on board, with some 265 miles to go to the finish, in place of Friday’s final gale and the short slamming seas was an almost millpond like calm, gently slatting sails and fierce, warm sunshine. Some forty miles off Murcia’s Cartagena were truly scotched, or double scotched, stuck to the sea, polled at 0.4 of a knot (‘almost backwards according to Peyron).
The new sixty foot 24 hour world speed record holders made a sedentary 3.3 miles over the five hours to 1400hrs UTC this afternoon. Winning is as much about being able to cope with the extremes. With a lead of 217 miles over second placed MAPFRE and 263.4 miles to the finish Peyron – who should be in the throes of winning his first round the world race – took a cooling swim in the Med.
Virbac-Paprec 3 are expected in Barcelona between 1800hrs Sunday night and 0700hrs Monday morning.
Of his second Barcelona World Race Dick said: “The competition was tougher this time with a rival from the start in Foncia and then starting from New Zealand we tussled with MAPFRE and with them through to the end. This race was more difficult, I think. I had the feeling we could be beaten at any times. In the Indian we were isolated a little bit. As for the course it had changed a bit. What changed are the safety gates for the ice which were a bit high. And that changed the complexion of the race. The weather was warm in the Indian.
Loïck was bare chested at the helm at in the South at 46 deg S, with Damian we went down to 54 deg S. And the other difference was the presence of Loïck. Between the Latin character of Loïck and the Anglo-Saxon of Damian there are obviously differences, though both are very cool. They are two beautiful experiences.”
In fact it seems likely that the duo will still be struggling in light winds this evening when the race record of 92 days and 9 hours, which was set by Dick and Damian Foxall, passes around 1900hrs UTC. Other than the aggregate 66 hours which Virbac-Paprec 3 was stopped by technical issues in Recife and Wellington, the theoretical course for this second edition is 520 miles longer.
Second placed MAPFRE passed the longitude of Gibraltar at 0740hrs this morning ready to experience their own slow-down as they approached light winds in the Alboran Sea, but despite the close to ideal course and speed made today by Renault Z.E Sailing Team which has held third place since passing Wellington on 21st February , Pachi Rivero and Toño Piris remain 728 miles behind the Spanish Olympic medallists.
We Are Water’s Jaume Mumbru recalled some of the We Are Water’s more difficult moments, and the high point of their race so far as they point north, trying as best they can to escape the rapid onset of winter in the south. After completing their boom repair in Ushuaia, they were trapped for an extra 11 hours as the port was closed by a big storm.
Mumbru said: You can see snow everywhere. So now we are going north as fast as possible because the winter is coming fast and we need to get out of here as soon as possible. The people in Ushuaia helped a lot and were very warm hearted.
Passing Cape Horn was a magical moment. We will remember it for a long time. It was unreal in the end. In the middle of a big storm the clouds opened and the Cape appeared and it was the high point of our trip so far, even more so with the difficulties we have had and the last 900 miles of it without a boom. When it was like that we were wondering if we could get past the Cape or not. So now at least it feels like we are going home and we feel like we can get home. It was such an amazing moment, like a novel, in those conditions it was just unreal. We have not finished yet but it was an amazing moment.”
Standings of Saturday 2nd April at 1400hrs UTC
1 VIRBAC-PAPREC 263 miles to finish
2 MAPFRE + 219 miles to leader
3 RENAULT Z.E at + 946 miles to leader
4 ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team at + 1139 miles to leader
5 NEUTROGENA at + 1343 miles to leader
6 GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS at + 1934 miles to leader
7 HUGO BOSS at + 3055 miles to leader
8 FORUM MARITIM CATALA at + 3819 miles to leader
9 WE ARE WATER at + 6421 miles to leader
10 CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA at + 10515 miles to leader
RTD GROUPE BEL
Barcelona, 03 April 2011
For One Night Only
Just as tomorrow morning should be just part of the reward for a job well done, so their last night at sea together will be one to savour and reflect for Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron.
In terms of the total course distance, 25,200 miles and their 93 days since leaving Barcelona, the final 89 miles which the French duo had to still complete at 1400hrs UTC is but the blink of an eye, but Dick and Peyron will enjoy a serene final night at sea anticipating the huge release the finish line will bring and the frenzy which inevitably follows.
Niçoise skipper Dick has a better idea of what awaits having enjoyed the warm welcome from the Catalan capital which he received in February 2008 when he won the first edition of the race with Damian Foxall, but for Peyron – despite dozens of accolades and honours offshore and inshore – it will be his first round-the-world triumph in an ocean racing career spanning more than 30 years.
He claimed today that one of his plans for the final 24 hours was to sleep as much as he can, while Dick – who has admitted in the past that he is something of a hard driving perfectionist who struggles to ease off – looked much more relaxed today, knowing that their three month marathon is all but over with the main goal nearly completed.
“ MAPFRE is a respectable distance behind and so I think we can say we have almost won. We can touch victory!” smiled Dick.
After a slow passage north of the Balearics this afternoon the duo are now expected to break the finish line at around breakfast time Monday morning.
For the rest of the fleet today, as much as any recently, the imminent first place arrival might be a catalyst for the realization that the podium now has a certain solid shape, and opportunities for promotion and demotion through the rest of their race look quite low.
Boris Herrmann and Dee Caffari, speaking on today’s live Visio-Conference, did not acknowledge as much but both were more focused on the release from recent long days of tedium and the routings which will get them finished quickest.
Herrmann even admitted that a complex seven hour rebuild and repair to their autopilot hydraulics had been a welcome distraction, and Caffari said she was looking forward to more trimming, sail changes and manoeuvres after days of upwind sailing.
But their die are cast and their respective achievements within reach: Caffari and Corbella as the first woman to complete four circumnavigations and the first Spanish female circumnavigator and Herrrmann and Breymaier have really stamped their mark on this race: with smart, fast sailing and maturity well beyond their racing years, to highlight their prospects for the future.
And for Renault Z.E Sailing Team, 340 miles from Gibraltar this evening and making a direct course, their third step on the podium is by a margin of 200 miles just now to Estrella Damm. In the Mediterranean – contrary to their lacklustre departure three months ago – Rivero and Piris are usually as accomplished and strong as anyone duo in the fleet.
Standings of Sunday 3rd April at 1400hrs UTC
1 VIRBAC-PAPREC 89 miles to finish
2 MAPFRE + 247 miles to leader
3 RENAULT Z.E at + 799 miles to leader
4 ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team at + 1004miles to leader
5 NEUTROGENA at + 1305 miles to leader
6 GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS at + 1952 miles to leader
7 HUGO BOSS at + 3127 miles to leader
8 FORUM MARITIM CATALA at + 3972 miles to leader
9 WE ARE WATER at + 6441 miles to leader
10 CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA at + 10389 miles to leader
RTD GROUPE BEL
Barcelona, 04 April 2011
A magical moment
Breaking the finish line this Monday morning at 10hrs 20mins 36 seconds (UTC) Jean-Pierre Dick (45) and Loïck Peyron (51) have won the second edition of the Barcelona World Race on Virbac-Paprec 3, completing the 25,200 miles round the world race in 93 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes and 36 seconds at an average speed of 11.18 knots.v
For Jean-Pierre Dick the victory repeats his 2007-08 triumph in the inaugural edition of the round the world race for crews of two, when he won with Irish co-skipper Damian Foxall. Today’s win also adds an elusive round the world victory to Peyron’s two previous podium finishes, each ten years apart – second in 1989-90 in the inaugural Vendée Globe solo round the world race, and second in The Race in 2000, for fully crewed giant multihulls.
On arrival at the dock in Barcelona Jean-Pierre Dick described his feelings on winning a second consecutive Barcelona World Race: “A lot of emotions, quite indescribable, I am so happy to be here. I had my objective and today it has been satisfied. It is magical the way we won it together. Thanks Loïck for doing this race with me and putting up with me, magical to live three months among nature around the world, living our passion, and technologically it’s quite special. Thank-you and thank-you Barcelona for this race, it is ideal. Double handed around the world is fantastic. Thank-you also to my sponsors, I am very proud to have these people with me.”
The French duo highlighted their drive and pace when they set a new 24-hour speed record for IMOCA Open 60-footers of 506.33 miles on January 22nd (average speed 21.1kts)
Without doubt the success of their proven partnership amounts to more than the sum of its parts, even given Peyron’s 30 years of ocean racing successes and Dick’s incredible durability, his appetite for short handed and solo racing, his meticulous, scientific approach and delivery, and his remarkable trajectory towards the top of this exacting and demanding sailing discipline.
Their partnership has never been beaten on the oceans, winning the Transat Jacques Vabre together in 2005 when Dick defended the title he won with Nicolas Abiven. Dick, previously a full time business director who only really turned ‘professional’ in 2002, has joined the elite ranks of Michel Desjoyeaux and Bernard Stamm as the only skippers to have won two solo or two-handed round the world races.
Their winning course displays all the polished hallmarks of a near perfect execution. Their meteo and navigation strategy in each sea and each ocean, around the classic course, which takes in the three great Capes – Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn but which, uniquely for the genre, climbs from the south Pacific through the Cook Strait before descending just as quickly back to the hostile ocean – has been almost faultless.
The raw speed of Dick’s newest generation VPLP/designed IMOCA Open 60, launched in May last year in Auckland and with which he plans to challenge for the 2012 Vendée Globe, is now proven. As is the duo’s skill to sail it at the limit for long periods when pressed, but so too is their ability to sail defensively, maintaining high averages to preserve themselves and the boat in more extreme conditions.
Such attributes are underpinned by both skippers sharing the same bitter experience of retiring from the 2008-09 Vendée Globe with damage, both leading at different stages. Peyron spent more time in the lead than anyone before his mast broke, and Dick led in the Indian Ocean before sustaining rudder damage.
Though they made two technical stops for repairs, amounting to a time-out total of 63 hours in Brazil and Wellington, New Zealand, the Virbac-Paprec 3 pair stayed the course to fulfil their ranking as one of the pre-race favourites. Of the 14 IMOCA Open 60s which started off Barcelona on 31st December, four of which were otherwise considered potential winners or podium contenders, Président, Foncia, Groupe Bel and Mirabuad all retired with mast or keel failures.
Dick and Peyron led the race out through the Straits of Gibraltar on January 3rd and after re-taking the lead on January 23rd were never passed. The thrilling duel with Michel Desjoyeaux and Francois Gabart, which forced the red line higher and higher, came to an end when Foncia broke their topmast early on the morning of 25th January.
But Spain’s double Olympic 49er medallists Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez in their first ever IMOCA Open 60 race as a duo had been second since Foncia withdrew. From Virbac-Paprec 3’s largest lead of 781 miles over MAPFRE on February 7, the Spanish pair pressed the leaders relentlessly, getting to within 8.3 miles of Dick and Peyron in the Pacific on 25th February. But, with a beautifully precise 30-mile hitch to the east to set up early in the South Atlantic high pressure system, the winners avoided the very worst of the light winds and made the better passage of the dominant anticyclone.
Though their difficult return through the Doldrums was as long, slow and challenging as either Dick or Peyron could recall over their careers, Virbac-Paprec 3 emerged with an advantage to build on over a final 16-day marathon upwind slog to lead back into Gibraltar.
Quotes from the winning skippers:
Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA): “This round the world race has been a mixture of lots of little things. We already knew each other and it was the joint experience of both of us skippers as individuals which was key to winning.
“We have a really good team, mutual understanding and great respect. We have known each other for a long time and it is for me a huge privilege to have been able to sail around the world with Loïck. A wonderful experience. We both wanted to win of course and our cohesion was focused on this victory.”
Asked if he would consider a third race: “I love Barcelona but I want to celebrate this first and then we will see. The Barcelona World Race is a magical race, it is a wonderful concept: double handed, with sunsets, whales, albatross – to be able to share this natural experience when you are passionate about the sea and can live this passion it is amazing.
Asked what made the difference for them: “A new boat, and in New Zealand the chance to make it more secure, to give us that extra reassurance. It is a very good boat, it performs really well and is latest generation. It was all very well-timed and that is an important part of our success.
“It is a great moment for me after three years of not winning; it was quite frustrating having to abandon the Vendée Globe when ahead, and then there was a year and a half wait whilst the boat was being built. To be successful and have fulfilled my objective iswonderful.
“There are a number of different images that will stay with me from the race. Cape Horn in particular, I have never been that close to it and we could really experience it directly being so close to land. Patagonia is magical – that is my most special moment.”
Loïck Peyron (FRA):
“It has been exceptional. My third round the world race. The first time was solo, the second with a team and this third time double-handed. And we have won – we led the race in spite of some tough competition. It was a fantastic experience and it is a fabulous feeling to finish and finish so well.
“Success comes from true cohesion – and we are both complementary. The savoir-faire of the solo sailing world means you really trust the other person. Success is also about having a good machine at your feet. We made a mistake last night – it was probably us relaxing a little before the arrival, but we did a good job.
“My most important memories are of the albatross – they are quite unique in the world and that part of the planet and we were lucky enough to see them.
“It has been a real example of teamwork by the ‘family’. It is a beautiful example of unity and I am delighted to have had the chance to experience it.
“It is magical to be in Barcelona again. The last time was with The Race and it is wonderful to be back again and this time with another beautiful story.”
January 4thafter taking the southerly option and finding more wind pressure on the Moroccan coast Virbac-Paprec 3 leads out of Gibraltar Straits, 3 days, 7 hours and 55 minutes after the start on 31st December in Barcelona (6 hours faster than 2007-8 edition when Dick and Foxall also led)
January 8thFoncia lead passing Madeira, Virbac-Paprec 3 after five days in front drop to second after small tactical error, with a compact top group including Président, Groupe Bel, and Neutrogena.
January 10th in strong downwind trade conditions speeds peak at 25kts, in a relentless driving pace and on January 11th Jean Le Cam and Bruno Garcia retire after breaking mast north of Cape Verdes.
On January 13th 2.5 m of mainsail traveller track rips away requiring technical stop in Recife, Brasil. Foncia also stop after damage to their crash box and an almost surreal F1 style pit-stop ensues. The two IMOCA Open 60s, which have been locked together since traversing the Atlantic from Martinique on the same ship after the Route du Rhum, and refitted in the same shed in Barcelona, now pit-stop in the same Brazilian dock. The rival crews even briefly end up sharing the same apartment! Virbac-Paprec 3’s total time stopped is 15 hours and they resume the course with a deficit of 277 miles.
January 18ththey are first to go into ghost mode as both the Recife twins choose long-term investment to the west, down the Brazilian coast which initially sacrifices miles to those on the more direct routing through the St Helena High, but the gains come with high speeds in strong winds. Virbac-Paprec 3 sets a new 24-hour world speed record for 60-footers at 506.33 miles, bettering the 2007-8 record set during the Barcelona World Race by Alex Thomson and Andrew Cape at 501.9 miles on Hugo Boss.
January 23rdDick and Peyron retake the lead and first round Cape of Good Hope. Early on the morning of 26th January the near-twins are finally parted when Foncia breaks their mast. Virbac-Paprec 3 lead MAPFRE by nearly 580 miles.
February 16thVirbac-Paprec 3 makes the minimum 48-hour stop in Wellington to repair batten cars, returning with their lead shrunk to 128 miles over MAPFRE.
February 25thVirbac-Paprec 3’s lead is just 8.3 miles over MAPFRE.
March 3rdVirbac-Paprec 3’s exciting passage of Cape Horn 140 miles ahead of MAPFRE.
March 4thMAPFRE stop briefly to sort out twisted halyards at entrance to Beagle Channel. Martinez and Fernandez lose about 80 miles.
March 5th-11ththe Saint Helena High strategy sees a huge accordion effect but Virbac-Paprec 3 accelerate away to lead of 545 miles over MAPFRE.
March 19thDoldrums: compression to 111 miles as the Doldrums move north with Dick and Peyron but on long beat to Gibraltar, Dick and Peyron lead at the longitude of Tarifa.
April 1stVirbac-Paprec 3 lead by about 30 hours at 0135hrs (UTC)
April 4th Virbac-Paprec 3cross the finish line at 1020hrs (UTC) winning the Barcelona World Race after 93 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes and 36 seconds of racing.
Course record 2007-08 92 days 9 hours and 49 minutes
Theoretical course is 520 miles longer in 2010-11.
Barcelona, 05 April 2011
Iker and Xabi, the complete circumnavigators, take second
When Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernadez crossed the finish line of the Barcelona World Race at 0917hrs (UTC) today the Spanish Olympic champions of 2004 took second place, having completed the 25,200 miles course in an elapsed time of 94 days, 21 hours, 17 minutes and 35 seconds.
Their average pace on MAPFRE was 11.07 knots for the theoretical course distance, and over the 28,759 miles they actually covered they made an average of 12.63 knots. They finished 22 hours, 56 minutes and 59 seconds behind winners Virbac-Paprec 3 to a tremendous reception in a sun-drenched Barcelona.
© Nico Martinez / Barcelona World Race
“This is an ideal situation for us. Until 14 months ago we had never sailed an IMOCA 60 and so we could not aspire to very much. But the race was very good, much better than we expected. We've made a huge step. Tomorrow the project is finished but if in the future we want to do it again we can hope to aspire to anything.
"We learned a lot, every day. Each day has been a learning process. Especially all the way through the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. We were sailing well and we could fight with those at the front. We believe that we can go one step further,”said Iker Martinez, shortly after he and Xabi had made an emotional reunion with their young families on the deck of MAPFRE.
His co-skipper Xabi Fernandez added “These past 94 days have been never-ending. If you told me it was 105 days, I would believe you. But it has been a great regatta."
Back in 2007, when the inaugural Barcelona World Race answered the start gun off the Catalan capital, two of sailing’s most likable and down to earth Olympic gold medallists were merely interested spectators. With a first experience of the crewed 2005-6 round the world Volvo Ocean Race on Movistar behind them, Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez were in the throes of intense preparation for their second Olympics and on an enjoyable day trip to see the new non-stop race set off, but the seeds of an idea were sown.
Their second Olympic medal, from a demolition derby medal race in Qingdao, China, was not of the colour they had set out for, and so the duo gave everything to ensure they won their third 49er World Championships in the Bahamas in January last year. Only with their third title bagged, did the duo let their idea of another offshore adventure grow.
Both were total IMOCA Open 60 novices when they set foot on one for the first time in late February last year. “We wanted to know if it was something we could do together, and now we have our answer,” said Xabi Fernandez, a few days ago on live Visio-Conference.
Today the Basque duo, who have sailed together in the 49er since 1999, not only confirmed to themselves that the Barcelona World Race is a challenge they can complete, but by winning second place, the IMOCA Open 60 ‘rookies’ have underlined what an outstanding sailing talent they are.
Finishing in second place, just under 23 hours behind the race winners Virbac-Paprec 3, the Spanish pair are the first team to complete the entire circumnavigation non-stop.
“We would rather be fifth and complete the circumnavigation without stopping, than finish second and stop. This is our opportunity to go round non-stop together and that is what we have always wanted to do,”said Xabi on the approach to Wellington, re-affirming that fundamental goal a few days ago.
‘Leave nothing on the race course’ is the universal maxim of coaches. Arriving today with all gauges down to ‘reserve’ – no food left and no fuel, unable to run their engine any more, it is unlikely that any team has pushed harder for longer. A batch of spoiled freeze dried meant the duo have been on reduced rations for at least three weeks, having first mentioned back in the Doldrums that they were low on nutrition.
For the duration of their 25,200-mile, three month-long course they have vividly and coherently transmitted their simple love for sailing, the relentless drive and stamina which has been at the foundation of some of the race’s most consistent high speeds, and opened up their incredible adventure to an enchanted audience.
Their ability to regain ground with long days of fast-paced, high mileage sailing had race winners Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron consider them several times as “serious customers, who sail the boat well”.
Fernandezand Martinez sailed constantly in second place for 18,900 miles since the 26th January when they took up the baton from mentor Michel Desjoyeaux and Francois Gabart (FRA) after they lost the top of Foncia’s mast.
A deficit to Virbac-Paprec 3 at the Cape of Good Hope of 730 miles on January 29th had grown five days later to 780 miles. But, after Virbac-Paprec 3 stopped in Wellington to repair their mast-track and batten cars, by the mid-Pacific the Spanish duo had got tantalisingly close, to within 8.3 miles of the leaders by February 25th.
Their baptism of fire into the rarefied world of deep ocean IMOCA Open 60 racing has been completed, where self-reliance in every area – mechanical, electrics and electronics, sailmaking and boatbuilding – is as much part of the complete circumnavigation as trimming sails, managing sleep and nutrition.
The Spanish pair rose admirably to the multiple challenges. Belying their Olympic one design and Volvo Ocean Race backgrounds, where a top specialist is, at worst, a phone call away 24/7, at best at your elbow in a second, on 11th February in the Indian Ocean they finally revealed that they had spent 48 hours completing a workmanlike, ingenious composite repair to their port daggerboard, five days after they lost 1.5 metres off the tip when they hit an object.
They had not mentioned the impact when it occurred five days previously, and ran silently while they cannibalised foam from the helm’s seat to make the repair. After trying to repair it on deck they next had to manhandle the 100 kilos, 4 metre-long blade into the cabin of their IMOCA Open 60 where they set up a tented workshop to finish the repair. Their success it fixing it ensured that they did not have to make any technical stops and were able to complete one of their main goals.
After Cape Horn they had to make a short halt, mooring briefly in the remote Isla Nueva at the entrance to the Beagle Channel. There, in the fading darkness, Martinez scaled the mast to sort out their jammed foresail halyards. Their detour and brief pause cost them 80 miles to leader Virbac-Paprec 3.
They served notice of their capacity for speed in the turbo charged racing of the north-easterly trades where they set an electric pace, sailing lower but faster than their opposition. They admitted pre-start to being less confident of their weather strategy experience, having never previously had to take sole responsibility for routing, but as the race progressed so their skill and confidence developed, and Martinez confirmed it was a component of the race they were enjoying.
On the descent of the Atlantic in the approach to the key Saint Helena anticyclone they were first to use ‘ghost mode’ as they sought to cover a move to the west and south, but when the weather files seemed suddenly to turn against them, they had to bail out back to the east, furiously beating back upwind to try and close the gap back to then leader Estrella Damm.
And on the return up the Atlantic, the dominant South Atlantic anticyclone again was a thorny dilemma. Dick and Peyron escaped to the east, avoiding the worst of the lightest breezes and reeled out more nearly 400 miles of additional lead in three days as the Spanish duo struggled to extricate themselves.
Through their many highs, and few lows, the duo have visibly enjoyed sharing each mile and hour of the course with their audience. They have thrived on sharing special moments, patiently taking minutes from the relentless race to speak with just some of the many hundreds of youngsters who have followed the race on the Visio-Conferences. Without doubt they are now the complete circumnavigators.
Iker Martinez:"I'm feeling great because everyone we want to have here is here, all the family, all the friends, everybody's here. So we're feeling very happy and a little bit more relaxed, now it's time to have a rest and enjoy it a little bit!”
Did you expect to finish second? "Not at all, no no. We know about racing, so we knew anything could happen, but we knew already that it would be very difficult to be on the podium or in the top five, so our goal here was to finish the race non-stop, that was in our minds since the beginning of the project, since we started training. So after that, racing is racing, things can happen and they were happening for us. I think we were pretty lucky on how things were going within the race, and then we were learning pretty fast. We suddenly saw in the Indian Ocean that we were sailing pretty close to the leaders, and we were really sailing well and feeling good - at the beginning we weren't feeling so good as we didn't know how to sail the boat, but then at that moment we decided, ok, now is the moment to push!
"We have a lot of good memories, many different things. It's not just a race, it's an adventure so you have many feelings. Probably the best one is to be able to do a race like this with Xabi, both of us together, that's probably the best bit. And then a lot of little moments, problems or things we enjoyed. Whenever we're sailing together, not in the 49er but like this, we're always trying to solve problems - 'do you know how do to this, or this?' that was happening every day."
• February 2010After doing a deal on his highly optimised, well proven Vendée Globe winning Farr-designed Foncia last year the duo first went to IMOCA Open 60 ‘school’ learning from double Vendée Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux and his technical team in Port La Foret in Brittany. After six weeks of work around the boat, learning with their shore team the keel, rig, mechanical and electricals, they went out, with ‘Le Professor’, and won their first IMOCA race, the Grand Prix Douarnenez.
• April-June 2010At the beginning of April Martinez and Fernandez sailed with their team back to their base in Sanxenxo, Northern Spain and in May sailed on to Port La Foret, before contesting the round Spain, Vuelta España a Vela in June, where they finished fifth.
• December 31st2010 MAPFRE started their first round the world race up with the main group, but stuck close to the northern, Spanish side of the Gibraltar Straits, dropping to ninth by January 3rd.
• January 10th Back up to fifth place, MAPFRE earn their reputation as ‘speed kings’ consistently scoring 20-plus knot speeds south of the Cape Verde islands.
• January 15th With Foncia and Virbac-Paprec 3 stopping in Recife, MAPFRE move up to second, and become the first to employ ‘stealth’ mode as the French pair rejoin the race, emerging 183 miles behind new race leaders Estrella Damm. However, their middle route between the westerly leaders and easterly main group sees them lose out, briefly dropping to ninth before working hard to overtake the peleton to the east and climb to third.
• January 26th Move into second place after Foncia break their mast, 543 miles behind Virbac-Paprec 3. Rounded Cape of Good Hope three days later more than 730 miles behind the leaders.
• February 4thHave reduced the deficit to just 412 miles.
• February 11thReveal that they have had to make major repairs to their port daggerboard.
• February 16th Virbac-Paprec 3 make a 48-hour pitstop in Wellington, New Zealand. MAPFRE enter the Cook Strait just as the French leaders depart.
• February 25thHaving tailed Virbac-Paprec 3 across two Pacific ice gates, MAPFRE are within 8.3 miles of the leaders. Their pace in this stage of the race earns them the Pacific Trophy for the fastest course from the Cook Strait to Cape Horn.
• March 3rdRound Cape Horn, then stop straight afterwards to make unassisted repairs to their halyards. Rejoin racing 220 miles behind the leaders.
• March 11thVirbac-Paprec 3 emerge from the St Helena High pressure system 544 miles ahead of second-placed MAPFRE, with the Spaniards having been becalmed on a more westerly course.
• March 19thHaving given chase once again back up the Atlantic, MAPFRE close to within 111 miles of Virbac-Paprec 3 across the Doldrums, but can gain no more.
• March 25thBoth the leading boats deploy ‘ghost mode’ as they contend with the Azores high pressure system, but Virbac-Paprec 3 emerge 240 miles ahead.
• April 4th MAPFREpass Gibraltar, Virbac-Paprec 3 win the Barcelona World Race.
• April 5thMAPFRE arrive in Barcelona in second place, after of 94 days, 21 hours, 17 minutes and 35 seconds of racing.