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20 July 2007, 04:15 pm
Groupama 3 Faces The North Atlantic
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WSSRC Record Attempt

At 18:02:55 UTC yesterday, Franck CAMMAS (FRA) and his men on Groupama 3 passed Ambrose Lighthouse, on their way out of New York harbour in an attempt to beat the transatlantic record of Orange II. Twenty hours into the crossing, Groupama 3 is steaming along at 32 knots, just ahead of record pace.
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After a month and a half on stand-by in Newport and fast approaching the cut-off date, which they initially set themselves, CAMMAS and decided to seize the final opportunity of the year to take on the North Atlantic record. 'The weather window isn't really ideal but we've got no regrets,' he said before setting off. 'The conditions which Orange II benefited from last year to establish the new reference time simply haven't appeared for us this year!'

Last year Bruno PEYRON (FRA) and his crew of Orange II set a new record for the 2,925 nm transatlantic crossing of 4 days, 8 hours, 23 minutes and 54 seconds - an average speed of 28 knots.

CAMMAS may not be expecting ideal conditions, but the 105-foot trimaran has made a very fast start, with the routing showing 2,190 miles off the finish at Cape Lizard just 21 hours into the voyage.

As the team set sail, CAMMAS was under no illusions as to the difficulty of the task ahead: 'Crossing the Atlantic - that is nearly 3,000 miles in four days - is bound to imply a steady pace. We were expecting rather `virile' weather conditions, with very high speeds and intense cold over the first part of the course, since we are going to graze the zone of icebergs as we round the Southern edge of Newfoundland,' he explained

'We're starting out being pushed by a 20 knot air flow which is set to fill in to around 25-30 knots or even more as we pass Newfoundland,' he continued. 'From there things become more complicated as we won't be in a classic pattern with a depression accompanying us from one end of the Atlantic to the other. We're going to try to catch up with a second weather system filtering down from Greenland, which could enable us to round off this attempt with a bit of wind. It's still too far off to be clear about the situation though so the end of the course is still very uncertain for the time being.'

Another of PEYRON's records - the greatest distance covered in 24 hours, set at 766.8 nm last year - is also being targeted by Groupama 3 on this crossing, as the skipper from Aix en Provence detailed, 'The 24 hour record is feasible, on paper at least. This is particularly true for the first part of the course, where we are likely to be sailing close to the wind, but conditions are relatively good nonetheless. If we end up with that record in the bag then it will already have been a very worthwhile crossing!'

Clearly then, even though this first attempt may not necessarily result in success, CAMMAS is already seeing what a positive experience such a sprint can be for the crew, as well as enabling them to hone the boat with a view to the Round the World attempt at the end of the year, 'Since the start, our campaign has been above all else a campaign to prepare for the Jules Verne Trophy. If we don't break the Atlantic record this year, we'll be back next year... One thing for sure though, on what promises to be a pretty harsh crossing, we'll be able to test the crew, the boat, the gear and the organization under some difficult conditions.... This will doubtless be a positive step in our training,' concluded the French skipper.

The Record To Beat

Record: Transatlantic west to east, Ambrose Light, New York, USA - Lizard Point, Great Britain
Yacht: Orange II
Skipper: Bruno PEYRON (FRA)
Dates: 2-6 July 2006
Elapsed time: 4 days, 8 hours, 23 minutes and 54 seconds
Distance: 2,925 nm
Average Speed: 28 knots

Record: Greatest distance sailed in 24 hours - outright
Yacht: Orange II
Skipper: Bruno PEYRON (FRA)
Dates: 2-3 July 2006.
Start time and position: 40 48.56'N, 70 18.64'W at 1620 UTC on 2 July 2006
Finish time and position: 45 08.44'N, 53 50.20'W at 1620 UTC on 3 July 2006
Distance sailed: 766.8 nm
Average speed: 31.95 knots

Groupama 3 (As Amended By ISAF)
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