Thursday, 30 July 2009

Groupama 3: Along past Nova Scotia

Groupama 3 in the morning after setting off from New York on her latest record mission. Image copyright Yvan Zedda/Studio Zedda.

by Vincent Borde

Nine hours after leaving New York, Groupama 3 has kept up an average speed in excess of 32 knots and will be able to pick up the pace still further over the coming hours once she's rounded the latest dangers off Nantucket. The course between New York and England covers nearly 3 000 miles. Once the Newfoundland banks are rounded, the road can be attacked...

The ten crew have already devoured 300 miles and should be sailing off Cap Sable at 0900 UT. Following on from that they will have to traverse the Grand Banks of Newfoundland during the night before hitting the Atlantic.

As regards timing, the giant trimaran is perfectly inside her own record time for the crossing, which she set on 24th July 2007 in 4 days 03 hours 57 minutes 54 seconds. Though she doesn't have a significant lead this Thursday morning, her current progress could nevertheless enable her to close on or even improve on the 24 hour reference time, which she stretched to 794 miles (33.08 knot average) over the first few hours of her victorious record attempt (20th July 2007).

In terms of trajectory, Groupama 3 is positioned 20 miles to the South of the direct route (and her 2007 route) in order to stay ahead of a cold front, which has been generating a SW'ly air flow of over twenty knots since they left New York. Setting off two and a half hours later, Pascal Bidégorry and his crew are also within the record time for the Transatlantic record with a similar average speed.

After bettering the Atlantic crossing for the first time in under a hundred hours in July 2007, Franck Cammas and his crew will this time have the objective of completing the course in under four days. Such an objective will be extremely hard to beat, as the crew will have to combine patience in New York and the ideal weather window for making the crossing at an average of over 30 knots! Besides the record time, Groupama 3 will also have to come to terms with a challenger, Banque Populaire V, currently on stand-by in New York...

Cammas - Groupama

No comments: