Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Barcelona World Race

Ahoy Mateys! Since November 11, 2007, I have been receiving and reading with great interest the daily briefings concerning The Barcelona World Race, a new two-handed, non-stop round-the-world yacht race, to be held every four years. For the first time, this race involves the world's best professional sailors from both solo and fully crewed disciplines coming together to compete against each other in teams of two.

The sailors race onboard Open 60 boats [60-foot monohulls], the same boats that are raced in the solo Vendée Globe. There are photographs of these beautifully sleek vessels here. You can sign up for the daily briefings if you wish. Click "Teams" to see photos.

I haven't any real interest in sailing, yachts or yachtsmen (although I admit I don't really know any). I'm not a good sailor: there's much too much mal in the mer. In fact, I can't remember when I heard of this colossal endeavor in the first place, but now I'm hooked. Lately, the boats in the lead have encountered ice bergs the size of Connecticut. They report heavy seas, bone-chilling temperatures, sail damage requiring repairs in spite of towering waves, bumping into unknown objects in the night (it must be comforting to know they are not entirely alone out there), and all the other thoroughly mind-boggling efforts each team is exerting in order to be the first yacht to finish.

Here on day 59, PAPREC VIRBAC 2 with Jean-Pierre (FRA) and Damian Foxall (IRE), is closing in on Cape Horn, and as the leading boat in the Barcelona World Race, has just over 500 more miles to run before reaching the great southern Cape. Cape Horn has great significance to any round-the-world sailor, and it's no different in the Barcelona World Race. In fact, in this race, it also marks the next scoring gate in the race as well. The yacht I'm cheering for just because I really like the name is HUGO BOSS with Alex Thompson (GBR) and Andrew Cape (AUS) sailing 1022 miles behind PV2.

Not surprising, I find reports of these high-seas adventures bracingly refreshing contrasts to anything I will read in today's newspaper.

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