Thursday, September 24, 2009

Groupama 3 ready to break new records

[Source: Groupama] After spending seven weeks at the Multiplast yard, Groupama 3 is back in her home port of Lorient, Brittany. Serviced from top to bottom after 15,000 miles of sailing in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, the maxi trimaran skippered by Franck Cammas will now be training off Lorient, in the build-up to the next record attempt. Indeed, from 1st November, the crew will be awaiting the right weather window to set off on their latest Jules Verne Trophy attempt, an award which has been in the hands of Bruno Peyron since 2005 with a time of 50 days and 16 hours.

If it's the early bird that catches the worm, the Groupama team won't be going hungry. Following the orders of Yann Mérour then Loïc Le Mignon, Boat Captain, the mast, which culminates at 41 metres, is positioned onto a tiny titanium ball upon which it will pivot around the world. Next up, the shrouds are fixed onto each of the floats where Gaël de Kerangat, a member of the team since 1999, has taken up position.

Now, as the Breton sunshine directs its glare at the units that form the old submarine base of Lorient, Groupama 3 heads off to the "Course au Large" pontoon where, for the next three days, various members of team will come and kit her up for the next sailing sessions: "Today Groupama 3 is at her best. I form part of the last dinosaurs who are both préparateurs and sailors. The benefit of that is that I know every inch of the boat. As such I regularly give her a thorough check-up to ensure that everything's alright. The only drawback is that I don't get an awful lot of time to myself" says Loïc Le Mignon. He goes on to say: "I'm going to need some quality time to prepare myself psychologically and physically as a circumnavigation of the globe under sail isn't something to be sniffed at. I also have a family to think about, which you have to devote time to".

Though calm and serene, the 1,90m Loïc cannot hide his desire to get going. The gold earring he wears in his left ear is that of a Cape Horner, something which you have to earn. For him, the accolade came whilst he was sailing aboard Innovation Explorer with Peyron who, in reference to a third Loïck, one with the surname Fougeron, added a K to his forename.

Today, the captain of Groupama 3 is keen to head out to sea again. This will become a reality this coming Monday as he participates in three days of trials and training so as to ensure himself of the soundness of the latest improvements, notably to the appendages.

Following on from this, there will be another three days in the open ocean, this time with the full crew for the Jules Verne Trophy.

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