Wednesday, 3 February 2010

JVT: Groupama 3 is to the West of Madeira

by Vincent Borde and Caroline Muller

Groupama 3 has already made up the deficit she accumulated during the first day in relation to the reference time. In less than twenty hours, the 120 miles differential off Portugal had already been devoured as Franck Cammas and his crew were making headway to the West of Madeira at an average speed in excess of thirty knots...

Flat out in the depression! This Tuesday afternoon, Groupama 3 was negotiating a course to the West of the low pressure settled over the archipelago of Madeira, in order to benefit from a steady NE'ly wind, which is set to back round to the N in the late afternoon as it eases. With these great downwind conditions and a relatively manageable sea, Franck Cammas and his nine crew have been able to rack up 560 miles in the past 24 hours and since leaving Ushant on Sunday at 13h 55' 53'' (UTC), the giant trimaran already has 1,060 miles in her wake... An average of 22 knots of boat speed then, which has enabled the crew to quickly make up her deficit on rounding Cape Finisterre. Furthermore, they are now dramatically picking up the pace, which should enable them to rake in a lead over Orange 2's reference time during the coming days.

Happy birthday!

This 2nd February, Lionel Lemonchois was once again celebrating his birthday at sea, as he did five years ago aboard Orange 2... At fifty years of age, the winner of the last Route du Rhum was delighted to be at sea again at this turning point in his life. Indeed he was in great spirits during the radio link-up this Tuesday lunchtime when he spoke to Groupama's Race HQ in Paris: "We have twenty-five to twenty-eight knots and we're picking our way along nicely! We're sailing along the edge of the low over Madeira and the temperatures are considerably milder than yesterday... It's rather grey, but it's beginning to turn out nice. Added to that, to be able to celebrate your half-century aboard Groupama 3 on another round the world, I couldn't wish for better! I'll be able to avoid the hangover too..."

Attention remains key though as they prepare to tackle the wind shift due to take place this afternoon: the N'ly wind will give way to a NW'ly breeze, which will drop off to the South of the Canaries. Once again a barrier of high pressure will move across and it is imperative that Groupama 3 quickly locates the NE'ly tradewinds, which are reorganising themselves offshore of the Mauritanian coast.

"We're already back into our rhythm without taking any chances with the boat: we're here to effortlessly and calmly manage a circumnavigation of the planet... We're in the process of unfurling the heavy airs gennaker, as we've been making twenty-eight to thirty knots under solent jib and one reef in the mainsail up till now. The sea isn't very organised, but over the coming hours, we're likely to have got through the strongest wind. Five years ago, we weren't very quick on Orange 2. I was with Ronan Le Goff and Jacques Caraës at the time. Maybe in five years time I'll be here again!" enthused Lionel Lemonchois before sampling the meal prepared specially for him by Frédéric Le Peutrec. There are now just 2,000 miles to go to reach the equator...

Cammas - Groupama

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