Monday, 8 March 2010

JVT: A Hellish Tack for Groupama 3

Sunset on board Groupama 3. Image copyright Team Groupama.

by Vincent Borde and Caroline Muller

On a perfectly rectilinear course since rounding Cape Horn, Groupama 3 is continuing her ascent of the Southern Atlantic by cleverly limiting the haemorrhage of miles lost in relation to the Jules Verne Trophy champion. Furthermore, they are in no way losing sight of the fact that they will have to battle all the way to the end and that they must remain in great shape to do so.

As announced a few days ago by weather adviser Sylvain Mondon, the medium NNW'ly wind is reigning implacably over what is a much calmer ocean. Sailing on just a single hull, the central hull just kissing the water, Groupama 3 is really showing off her versatility under the leadership of a crew which doesn't have a minute to lose. And though, over the past twenty four hours, Franck Cammas and his band have conceded 170 miles to Orange and are now positioned 100 miles behind her, the mindset remains, more than ever before, a conquering one.

"We haven't tacked for a very long time and, from this evening, we'll be making two or three changes of tack to gently make headway to the North. It's at that point that we'll lose the greatest distance in relation to Orange, but we're left with no other alternative if we are to locate a system which is more favourable to our progress. The fact that things are very tight as regards the record time is highly motivating and we know we've got a real battle on our hands! The general atmosphere is as great as ever and that's what makes this crew so good. The "Bar des Sports" is just one of the opportunities onboard, where everyone has a chance to get together. We're all really driven to do better and finish this record with flying colours so we can be proud on our arrival off Ushant! Yesterday evening we had a great time at the Bar des Sports and were treated to two duck breasts that Loïc had stashed away with two tiny little bottles of red wine. It was a delicious, unforgettable moment!" enthused Jacques Caraës during the daily radio link-up with Groupama's Jules Verne HQ.


At the risk of sounding like a famous football coach, it's clear that on both a tactical and technical level, Groupama 3's crew are coming out of the orangey-red zone with a view to finding a more `chlorophyll freshness':

"I was dozing in my bunk on stand-by watch and as it was time to wake up, so it's a good moment to talk to you. That way I'll be wide awake to go up on deck. The water is now 15° this morning, so it's beginning to get up to a nice temperature! We're making headway close on the wind with a 14 knot breeze on very comfortable seas. Life is completely different today and it's done us a world of good. It's affected everyone as we've all fallen into a very deep sleep. We were all in need of it as we were very fatigued after the sailing conditions in the Pacific. We've all recovered well in readiness for tackling the Atlantic, with a boat that's in equally fine fettle, which augurs well for the next stage!" concludes Jacques.

The perfect solution

Tonight, just to have a change from the routine which they're slowly slipping into aboard, the succession of helmsmen will alter course to the left and then, a few hours later, to the right, thanks to the wind variations along the western edge of the zone of high pressure. As such the wind strength and direction, as well as the barometric pressure will be navigator Stan Honey's principle points of reference in trying to limit the extra distance to travel as much as possible...

Groupama 3's log (departure on 31st January at 13h 55' 53'' UTC)
Day 1 (1st February 1400 UTC): 500 miles (deficit = 94 miles)
Day 2 (2nd February 1400 UTC): 560 miles (lead = 3.5 miles)
Day 3 (3rd February 1400 UTC): 535 miles (lead = 170 miles)
Day 4 (4th February 1400 UTC): 565 miles (lead = 245 miles)
Day 5 (5th February 1400 UTC): 656 miles (lead = 562 miles)
Day 6 (6th February 1400 UTC): 456 miles (lead = 620 miles)
Day 7 (7th February 1400 UTC): 430 miles (lead = 539 miles)
Day 8 (8th February 1400 UTC): 305 miles (lead = 456 miles)
Day 9 (9th February 1400 UTC): 436 miles (lead = 393 miles)
Day 10 (10th February 1400 UTC): 355 miles (lead = 272 miles)
Day 11 (11th February 1400 UTC): 267 miles (deficit = 30 miles)
Day 12 (12th February 1400 UTC): 247 miles (deficit = 385 miles)
Day 13 (13th February 1400 UTC): 719 miles (deficit = 347 miles)
Day 14 (14th February 1400 UTC): 680 miles (deficit = 288 miles)
Day 15 (15th February 1400 UTC): 651 miles (deficit = 203 miles)
Day 16 (16th February 1400 UTC): 322 miles (deficit = 376 miles)
Day 17 (17th February 1400 UTC): 425 miles (deficit = 338 miles)
Day 18 (18th February 1400 UTC): 362 miles (deficit = 433 miles)
Day 19 (19th February 1400 UTC): 726 miles (deficit = 234 miles)
Day 20 (20th February 1400 UTC): 672 miles (deficit = 211 miles)
Day 21 (21th February 1400 UTC): 584 miles (deficit = 124 miles)
Day 22 (22nd February 1400 UTC): 607 miles (deficit = 137 miles)
Day 23 (23rd February 1400 UTC): 702 miles (lead = 60 miles)
Day 24 (24th February 1400 UTC): 638 miles (lead = 208 miles)
Day 25 (25th February 1400 UTC): 712 miles (lead = 371 miles)
Day 26 (26th February 1400 UTC): 687 miles (lead = 430 miles)
Day 27 (27th February 1400 UTC): 797 miles (lead = 560 miles)
Day 27 (27th February 1400 UTC): 560 miles (lead = 517 miles)
Day 29 (1st March 1400 UTC): 434 miles (lead = 268 miles)
Day 30 (2nd March 1400 UTC): 575 miles (lead = 184 miles)
Day 31 (3rd March 1400 UTC): 617 miles (lead = 291 miles)
Day 32 (4th March 1400 UTC): 492 miles (lead = 248 miles)
Day 33 (5th March 1400 UTC): 445 miles (lead = 150 miles)
Day 34 (6th March 1400 UTC): 461 miles (lead = 58 miles)
Day 35 (7th March 1400 UTC): 382 miles (deficit = 100 miles)

WSSRC record from equator to equator
Orange 2 (2005): 33d 16h 06'

Cammas - Groupama

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