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World Race Begins New Year’s Eve

Many Barcelona World Race aficionados think Hugo Boss will be the boat to beat in the third edition of the doublehanded sprint around the world. Needless to say, though, with its route beneath the great capes, just getting to the finish line will be job #1. 

© 2014 Mark Lloyd / Hugo Boss

For offshore racing fans around the world, 2014 will end on a high note, with the start of the Barcelona World Race beginning on New Year’s Eve from Barcelona, Spain.

The third edition of this nonstop, around-the-world race has attracted eight two-person teams, all racing Open 60s. Essentially a doublehanded version of the famed Vendée Globe, the BWR is back with an interesting and highly diverse fleet comprised of IMOCA class stalwarts, new builds, amateurs with a dream, and a few wild cards all thrown into the mix. 

Playing the role of favorite has to be the Hugo Boss team of Briton Alex Thomson and Spaniard Pepe Ribes onboard the same VPLP-designed rocket ship that won the last BWR as Virbac-Paprec 3.  Hugo Boss’ crew will have their work cut out for them against the Farr-designed and recently modified Cheminees Poujoulat sailed by Swiss skipper Bernard Stamm and the legendary Jean Le Cam of France.

With veteran ocean racer Guillermo Altadill of Spain as skipper, Neutrogena is expected to be one of the top contenders.

© 2014 Gilles Martin-Raget / Barcelona World Race

The race may have two favorites, but it has three dark horses with the über-experienced Guillermo Altadill of Spain as skipper of Neutrogena and Nandor Fa’s brand-new build Spirit of Hungary competing against a rejuvenated and determined Jorg Reichers of Germany on Votre Nom Autour du Monde. The final serious podium contender is the Spanish coed team of Anna Corbella and Gerard Marin onboard GAES Centros Auditivos, who have put in serious mileage together since becoming the race’s first entry nearly two years ago.

Leaving from Barcelona, the race should take about three months and will pass south of the three great capes (Cape Horn, Good Hope and Cape Leeuwin) before returning to the tricky and highly tactical Mediterranean approach to Barcelona.

If racing nonstop around the world via the Southern Ocean is just a bit too intense for you — but the idea still fascinates you — why not just go around in 2D, via the BWR game? 

Barcelona World Race
©2014Latitude 38 Media, LLC

You can follow the action here. Be aware also that there is not only a BWR app that’s downloadable from the site, but also a BWR game that you can play online or on your own device. Check it out here.

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Somewhere off the Central Coast of California, the 31-ft wooden sloop Apster may still be adrift after her skipper was rescued on Christmas Day.