In a single day, Groupama 3 has succeeded not only in making up yesterday's deficit on the reference time, but also gaining almost a day on the course adopted by Bruno Peyron in 2005! It's been an excellent weekend for all Franck Cammas' crew with over 700 miles covered over the past 24 hours.
First of all, Stan Honey is a lot better. Groupama 3's navigator has been taken in hand by the crew and thanks to dried Swiss meat and a highly favourable weather situation, the American has been able to get on with his work at the chart table in the best possible conditions. The trimaran is also on a favourable course for tackling the Doldrums from Monday evening… In fact, this is the latest objective for Franck Cammas' crew, who haven't had as easy a day as all that despite the supersonic speeds this Sunday: the trimaran has managed to rack up nearly 708 miles in 24 hours!
“Stan is resting, but fortunately he's feeling a lot better. I think it was partly due to the exhaust fumes from the engine but he also has a problem with one ear: he's taken some Swiss potions and he's doing well…” indicated Stève Ravussin at the midday radio link-up this Sunday.
Point of contact
Since gybing on Saturday evening, Groupama 3 has been able to trace a straight course towards the S-SE at a regular speed, pushed along by tradewinds varying in strength between 22 and 35 knots beneath the squalls. These weather conditions necessitated a lot of effort from the crew who constantly had to adapt the sail area to make good speed in safety: “It's very wet but it's nice! Nevertheless, we did have to carry out a fair number of manœuvres last night with squalls and gusts up to 36 knots… Added to that the short seas made for an exciting ride: we went down to two reefs in the mainsail and Solent! We clocked up some top speeds of 42 knots, but it wasn't our aim to go very fast; our main focus is making good headway…” confirmed the watch leader.
In fact, the trajectory is very pure with a course of 210° enabling them to retain some distance from the Cape Verde archipelago so as not to suffer from the wind shadow caused by these volcanic islands. Sylvain Mondon from Météo France has explained that the tradewinds are much in evidence as far as 20° North and that the trimaran's trajectory is likely to bend southwards slightly once they're around the archipelago. On the approach to the Doldrums, the NE'ly wind is set to ease and the difficulty for the skipper, the navigator and the onshore router lies in correctly defining the optimum zone for traversing this magma of shifty winds… Logically, a way through is likely to be located between 24° and 27° West, but from Monday morning the crew are going to need to choose the exact point of contact as any change of course in the light airs can be highly disadvantageous…
After three days at sea Groupama 3, which had racked up a deficit on the Jules Verne reference time of some 115 miles at most, has turned the whole situation around! Since gybing off Madeira on Saturday after two days' sailing, the crew have been devouring the miles and it's with a lead of nearly a day that the trimaran is now tackling Cape Verde… It should be highlighted that Orange 2 didn't have a very good day as they exited the Canaries and they even strayed off course in the Cape Verde archipelago the following day. As such, Franck Cammas and his nine crew had a lead of over 270 miles this Sunday afternoon in relation to Bruno Peyron's course in 2005; that is a margin of nearly a day! For Monday, it is highly likely that they will be ahead by a day and a half, so at this rate, the equator may well be crossed in less than six days this coming Wednesday…
The crew and organisation aboard Groupama 3:
Watch No.1: Franck Cammas / Loïc Le Mignon / Jacques Caraës
Watch No.2: Stève Ravussin / Thomas Coville / Bruno Jeanjean
Watch No.3: Fred Le Peutrec / Lionel Lemonchois / Ronan Le Goff
Off watch navigator: Stan Honey goes up on deck for manoeuvres
Each watch lasts three hours
One watch system on deck, one watch on stand-by ready to help manœuvre, one watch totally resting
The record to beat
Currently held by Bruno Peyron on Orange 2 since 2005 with a time of 50 days 16 hours 20 minutes at an average of 17.89 knots. Lionel Lemonchois, Ronan Le Goff and Jacques Caraës were aboard at the time.
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