The Barcelona World Race leaders are separated by either side of a venomous low pressure, but both crews were considering where to set the red line on Wednesday and how hard they have to push to maintain their differential to the boats behind.
If Jean Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron breathed a collective sigh of relief last night when they caught the tiny weather window that allowed them to pass the Crozet ice gate to tack and ease sheets for a fast run ESE towards to the Amsterdam gate, then Olympic champions Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez seemed to sound a warning that they would not be regulating their pursuit of Virbac Paprec 3.
Wednesday afternoon Mapfre recorded the fastest one hour “speed gun” of the race so far, 26.8 knots.
Somewhat paradoxically, on Wednesday morning Fernandez ruminated on the daily Visio-Conference that he and Iker had just been discussing whether they should drop their “red line” to lower their cursor a little and moderate their attack.
But seemingly the Spanish speed kings grow in confidence every day and are determined to progressively reel in the runaway Dick and Peyron. “What they have done so far is quite amazing. And I think the whole Olympic sailing community is just riveted by their performance. Nobody really quite knew how they would get on, least of all them, but they are going so well,” Double Olympic gold medalist Shirley Robertson said in Barcelona Wednesday just after speaking to Fernandez by live video link for the CNN Mainsail TV program that she fronts.
Virbac Paprec 3 broke free of the low pressure “shooting gallery” set up as the low pressure bullets fire southeast from Madagascar, and this afternoon were making solid progress in 30-35 knots, expecting more wind.
Dick and Peyron know they have a lead of 464 miles today – not exactly feeling the hot breath of the Spaniards on their collars – but they also know that further down the track, this course offers substantial opportunities to their pursuers, not least the ascent up to the Cook Straits.
For the complete story, go to www.sail-world.com.