After riding an express train across the Atlantic, the two Open 60s vying to establish a new sailing record between New York and Barcelona, Spain, have slowed to a crawl in the Mediterranean.
Estrella Damm was the first to enter the Straits of Gibraltar, with W Hotels about 130 miles behind. However, W Hotels has since cut the deficit in half.
Although W Hotels proved slower in heavy weather out on the open Atlantic, it seems to be a better boat in lighter conditions. The boat’s three-man crew is also staying farther off the European shore, where they seem to be enjoying stronger, albeit, continually shifting winds, whereas Estrella Damm spent much of Sunday almost becalmed. The two boats have less than 400 miles to go to Barcelona.
“We have very little wind, only about three knots,” Estrella Damm crewmember Alex Pella reported Sunday. “We are certainly getting quite worried about the guys behind, because they are advancing quite quickly and we are pretty much stuck in this hole. But we cannot do very much to get out of here, because there is no more wind in front of us, so we just need to wait and see if we can get some puffs and get out of here. The mood is still pretty good. We are very happy about the time we did from New York to Gibraltar. It is a really good time to beat, but we know that April in the Med is very tricky. We know that the boat speed average that we have done up until Gibraltar will get all messed up. But Pepe Ribes and I, we are both from the Med, and we know what the weather can be like at this time of year. This is what it is, and this is sailing. It is very difficult to predict an ETA, nothing is clear at all.”
The two boat set sail on the NY-BCN Transoceanic Sailing Record, as it is being called, on Thursday, April 8. Spain’s Fundaci Navegaci Ocenica Barcelona, the New York City Sports Commission, the Real Club Nutico de Barcelona and the New York Yacht Club are all involved in the effort.
For more on the record, click; here.