Three boats in the Istanbul Europa Race, which started the final Barcelona – Brest leg today, have a chance of victory, since they are all tied on points at the top of the leader board, just a small time difference makes Estrella Damm provisional leader ahead of Foncia and Groupe Bel. The Med weather looks likely to be capricious and Guillermo Altadill says “The first boat to leave the Mediterranean in Gibraltar, and round the Cape of San Vicente will most likely win the race. The situation in the Mediterranean will be very similar to the start of the Barcelona World Race two years ago, with a number of options to sail close to the coast, or further offshore. It is going to be complicated because once you make a choice you have to stick with it, and the differences can be huge.” Co-skipper Pachi Rivero thinks Estrella Damm can make gains in the Atlantic, saying “It is quite obvious that we are very similar to Foncia in the same conditions. Groupe Bel is quicker in lighter breeze. When we get into the Atlantic and more upwind conditions we may well be faster because of our mast set-up which has spreaders, unlike the others. It will also be an important advantage for us.“ It sure is going to be a nail biter. Pic from Jacques Vapillon and more here.