Friday, December 25, 2009

Difficult seas for Christmas on Groupama 3

[Source: Groupama] 600 miles to the South of the Azores, Groupama 3 was forced to heave to this morning in order to avoid a residual cross swell. The seas were difficult and it was deemed to be wiser to "wait for the system to roll over the top of us"!

Contacted at midday Fred Le Peutrec described Christmas Eve aboard Groupama 3: "The festivities for us simply involved putting in a series of tacks in difficult seas! The weather conditions and the sea state weren't exactly favourable for celebrating Christmas! Instead we were concentrated on getting Groupama 3 to make headway."

François Salabert explains further: "We weren't keen to get sucked up by the depression so we let it roll over the top of us, otherwise we would have had to have taken needless risks. There were 4 to 5 metre waves and short seas at the start. We were sailing 90 degrees to the course and, even under mainsail alone, we were still racking up a peak speed of between 21/ 23 knots. We were beam onto the waves, which wasn't a very comfortable position for the boat as she was under a lot of stress! We reckoned it was wiser to put in a reef and heave to so we could just hunker down!"

This morning, the trimaran and his crew were making a good cruising speed again, northbound, the aim still being to hook onto the depression kicking in from the West. This same system will push Groupama 3 towards her home port where she is expected to make landfall overnight on Sunday or early Monday.

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