Sunday, February 03, 2008

Groupama 3 makes slight repositioning on her way to record

[Source: Groupama] After a sequence of six gybes on Saturday, Groupama 3 hooked her trajectory once again this Sunday morning to catch onto a front, the prelude to an initial austral low, which should push the giant trimaran at least as far as the Crozet islands...

Whilst it is still very mild aboard Groupama 3, already positioned at 35° South, a small series of manoeuvres has enabled the crew to stretch their muscles. Indeed, the three man watch helped by the three men on stand-by and the off-watch navigator, had to link together six gybes in half a day on Saturday. This was performed so as not to bury into the high pressure associated with the Saint Helena High, whilst remaining on its southern edge to keep hold of the pressure. This pressure has begun to fill in and, after repositioning themselves again early this Sunday morning, Franck Cammas and his nine crew are now on a direct course towards the tip of South Africa at an average of nearly thirty knots in a 25 knot N to NW'ly breeze! "We had to reposition ourselves slightly a few times towards the South and last night we hit 20-25 knots of wind, which is now enabling us to make between 28 and 35 knots of boat speed. The nocturnal temperatures are a little colder: the boat has been accelerating well since Saturday evening and the seas are building progressively" explained helmsman Sébastien Audigane at today's radio session.

As a result, the sailing conditions are almost ideal this Sunday. For her eleventh day at sea, Groupama 3 still has a lead of over 600 miles on Orange II, a separation which is logically set to increase as they pass the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope. Indeed, this disturbance which is creeping up behind the giant trimaran, will continue its course eastwards very rapidly, generating W'ly winds in excess of 35 knots... "The seas are still manageable as we are at the edge of a zone of high pressure and the wind has been kicking in progressively since yesterday. It's ideal for going quick! The next two days aren't going to be too bad, even though we may have to reposition ourselves towards the South like yesterday in order to track down the pressure. The situation looks likely to become more complicated shortly after the Cape of Good Hope however. We'll have to wait and see what happens... We're sailing under cloudy skies but there are still patches of blue. The temperatures are still high during the day but you have to wear a fleece at night. It's still very pleasant, even though we're being shaken about a bit at thirty knots! For the time being, the wind is steady and the boat isn't bumping off the waves" analysed Franck Cammas this lunchtime.

We can expect three good days then at over 650 miles a day, which would carry Groupama 3 to the South of Cape Town from Wednesday.

Groupama 3 sailing in the southern Atlantic ocean, 3 February 2008. Video copyright Groupama

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