The Banque Populaire - Groupama duel across the north Atlantic
[Source: Groupama] Groupama 3 crossed the finish line in her Transatlantic record attempt on Sunday 2nd August at 1625' 12'': the trimaran driven by Franck Cammas and his nine crew took 3 days 18 hours 12 minutes 56 seconds to cover the 2,880 miles which separate the Ambrose Light (New York) from Lizard Point (Cornwall, UK).
Departure: Exceptional conditions...
Wednesday 29th July 2009 at 20h 12m 16s UT
Position: 40° 26.9 North - 73° 47.9 West
Distance to cover: 2,880 miles
Groupama 3 set off midway through the afternoon (local time) in a SW'ly air flow of twenty knots, becoming stronger with the passage of a line of squalls. The aim is to catch up with a cold front off Newfoundland, which has formed over Canada and which is set to traverse the Atlantic at nearly 35 knots. Franck Cammas and his nine crew set off 2hrs35 before Pascal Bidégorry and his men...
Day 1: Duel on the Atlantic
Thursday 30th July 2009 at 2205 UT
Position: 44° 04.6 North - 56° 43.7 West
Distance remaining: 2,094 miles
Distance covered in 24 hrs: 727 miles
Average speed over 24hrs: 30.3 knots
Separation in relation to the reference time: deficit of 71.4 miles
The start of the course isn't as fast as it was two years earlier, with a slight, temporary drop in the wind off Sable Island, which causes Groupama 3 to lose a few miles. Still accompanied by a SW'ly air flow of over twenty knots, Franck Cammas and his men are picking their way through the fog, though the seas are flat which favours steady speeds. Her rival is slightly faster in these weather conditions, clawing back around forty miles since the departure from New York.
Pascal Bidégorry and Banque Populaire V smash the North Atlantic crossing record. Video copyright Banque Populaire
Day 2: The 800 mile barrier!
Friday 31st July 2009 at 2100 UT
Position: 47° 34 North - 38° 49.4 West
Distance remaining: 1,326 miles
Distance covered in 24 hrs: 801.8 miles
Average speed over 24 hrs: 33.4 knots
Separation in relation to the reference time: lead of 118.9 miles
Once round the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, Groupama 3 can lengthen her stride in a wind which has climbed to nearly thirty knots: Franck Cammas and his men have entered the Atlantic with an extremely favourable attacking angle in relation to the wind (130°). Overnight they shatter the legendary 800 mile standard for a day's sailing and the acceleration is such that the average speeds just keep on growing: the trimaran is now ahead of the 2007 reference time. The separation from her rival remains stable at around thirty miles in favour of Pascal Bidégorry and his crew.
Day 3: 857.5 miles in 24 hours...
Saturday 1st August 2009 at 2000 UT
Position: 50° 23.4 North - 19° 10.7 West
Distance remaining: 537 miles
Distance covered in 24 hrs: 825.8 miles
Average speed over 24hrs: 34.4 knots
Separation in relation to the reference time: lead of 217.6 miles
There is just a fifth of the course to go and Groupama 3 is well ahead of the record time, which she's held since July 2007. The weather conditions and above all the sea state are not very built-up, enabling the speed records to explode with every passing hour. Ultimately the figures reach an average of 35.7 knots over 24 hrs. Under staysail and two reefs, Franck Cammas' crew are driving the trimaran at 100% of her potential, but her rival is longer by nine metres and more powerful, and clearly has a particular penchant for these conditions: she culminates in 907 miles in 24hrs, an outright record! As a result, Pascal Bidégorry and his crew make up the deficit from their later start and even get ahead of Groupama 3 in elapsed time...
Day 4: Arrivals in contact
Sunday 2nd August 2009 at 1425' UT
Position: 49° 54.8 North - 5° 11 West
Distance remaining: 0 miles
Distance covered in 24 hrs: 720 miles
Average speed over 24 hrs: 30 knots
Separation in relation to the reference time: lead of 258 miles
The mission to beat the 2007 record is a done deal. However the best time achieved across the Atlantic goes to Pascal Bidégorry and his crew, who cross the finish line off Lizard Point at 14h 13' 30'' (UT). Barely quarter of an hour later, Groupama 3 also completes her express crossing, confirming her excellent potential in the medium wind, since she made up around forty miles on her rival in twelve hours. Franck Cammas and his nine crew have improved on their reference time from July 2007 by 9hrs 44'! They traversed the Atlantic in 3d 18h 12' 56'' at the incredible average speed of 31.92 knots...