Thursday, July 30, 2009

Groupama 3: Onward to the front!

[Source: Groupama] Franck Cammas and his nine crew are perfectly positioned on the transatlantic record route. At noon this Thursday after fourteen hours at sea, Groupama 3 was situated between Halifax (Nova Scotia) and Sable Island, maintaining an average speed since the start of over 32 knots. To reach Lizard Point in under 4 days 03 hours 57 minutes 54 seconds remains totally within their grasp...

Franck Cammas was in fine fettle this Thursday noon for the first radio link-up organised with the shore-based HQ in Lorient, at which point the green trimaran had already covered over 450 miles since setting out from New York on Wednesday at 20h 12' 16'' UT: "We're sailing downwind on flat seas with 20 to 25 knots of breeze.

Franck Cammas and Groupama 3 in their attempt to break the North Atlantic crossing record. Video copyright Groupama

We've had to make a few sail changes since leaving the Ambrose Light, hoisting more sail aloft this morning as we set the gennaker. We're trying to go fast by heading up to accelerate. The crew is well aware of the score during such record attempts and the conditions aren't overly difficult: we've been able to rest whilst maintaining a high average speed.

Our watch system is in place at the moment (0930 hours UT) Fred Le Peutrec, Lionel Lemonchois and Ronan Le Goff are on deck; Steve Ravussin, Bernard Stamm and Olivier Mainguy are on stand-by; myself, Loïc Le Mignon and Bruno Jeanjean are resting. As for Stan Honey, he is off-watch so he can take up position at the chart table and help us on deck during maneuvers.

The trajectory as far as Lizard Point isn't as clear as all that: after Newfoundland we're going to have to choose between a route which sees us heading up a bit or bearing away a little, which has repercussions on the sail configuration. We're going to take that decision after Cap Race... The crux of the matter still centers on the end of the course as the front looks to want to drag its heels as we approach the goal."

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