Thursday, March 04, 2010

Groupama 3 rounds Cape Horn

[Source: Groupama] On rounding Cape Horn at 1830 UTC this Thursday 4th March, Franck Cammas and his men have retained a lead of 175 miles over the reference time, which equates to 8 hours 55 minutes. However, the beginning of this final stage of the round the world will be complicated for the giant trimaran to negotiate, at least for the first few hours of this Atlantic ascent ...

The rather peculiar conditions, which have been reigning over the Pacific, have not enabled Groupama 3 to beat the WSSRC record for traversing the largest ocean in the world. For sure there was wind, but too much, to the extent that the crew was forced to make a big detour to the North to avoid the worst of the seas generated by a nasty low. However, it proved necessary for Franck Cammas and his men to negotiate a rather light transition zone prior to approaching the coast of Chile... In the end, the crew devoured nearly 5,000 miles of the Pacific Ocean (Southern Tasmania to Cape Horn) in 8 days 19 hours 07 minutes, which amounts to just 59 additional minutes in relation to the reference time set by Orange 2 in 2005 (8d 18h 08').

Groupama 3 on her way to the Atlantic Ocean. Cape Horn, 4 March 2010. Video copyright Groupama

However, there is still 7,000 miles to go before they reach the finish line off Ushant: Bruno Peyron and his crew took over eighteen days to climb up the Atlantic. And even though Groupama 3 is still a few miles ahead of the reference time right now, she is set to lose the majority of this advantage over the coming days. The headwinds reigning over the East coast of Patagonia will make a serious dent in the giant trimaran's capital.

Back in 2005 the champion Jules Verne Trophy catamaran had a superb climb to the equator (8d 05h 36'), but she struggled to make Ushant once she got into the northern hemisphere (9d 11h 15'). As such Groupama 3 is still on track to improve on the round the world record: fifty days is still within grasp...

Groupama 3's time between Tasmania and Cape Horn
8d 19h 7', or 59' more than the WSSRC record set by Orange 2 in 2005

Reference time between Ushant and Cape Horn
Groupama 3 (2010): 32d 04h 34'
Lead over Orange 2's time (32d 13h 29' in 2005): 8h 55'

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