Monday, December 21, 2009

Express Doldrums for Groupama 3

[Source: Cammas - Groupama] It was Sunday afternoon when Groupama 3 was able to hunt down a NE'ly wind synonymous with her return to the Northern hemisphere. This followed on from the ten men devouring the Doldrums without even noticing they were in it!

François Salabert, in charge of the electric and electronics within the Groupama team and responsible for the navigation on this delivery trip: "Incredible! We clearly saw a big grey cloud from which a few drops of rain fell, but ultimately the Doldrums amounted to a single cloud. Unheard of! Studying the sky and the grib files we spent the whole time making between 6 and 10 knots VMG. We passed beneath a big cloud and almost immediately the wind shifted around to the North-East! Welcome to the Northern hemisphere! We didn't believe it at the start. After that the wind became more stable and we picked up the NE'ly tradewind!"

Tradition wasn't forgotten with a small glass of wine for Neptune and the rest for the crew of Groupama 3. Among them is rookie Clément Surtel, for whom it was the first passage across the equator! "Clément had bought a bottle of wine for the occasion, which gave us all a chance to gather together on deck in an atmosphere reminiscent of Sunday's on the pontoon! It was a nice moment."

Ahead of the bows of the Groupama 3 trimaran there are still a few miles to go before making Brittany: "The next obstacle we'll have to negotiate is a zone of high pressure located around Cape Verde. Once we're past that, we'll study our ETA more closely. We're tempering the forecasts that the routing is producing. The latter is optimum in terms of wind, but doesn't take the sea state into account. For the time being there are two models taking shape: one of them has us arriving in Brest at the front of a depression without too much wind and the other sees us making landfall with a steadier SW'ly breeze! Right now though we're concentrating on negotiating the zone of light wind..."

Aboard Groupama 3, the pace of life is coloured by the watches, which follow on one after the other, interspersed by some rather more classic activities: discussion, washing, showering, emails...: "A comical routine is in place and we're really enjoying the ride!"

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