However, the difficult conditions encountered by the maxi trimaran since her passage of the Cape of Good Hope, early afternoon on 6 February, has not enabled the crew of Groupama 3 to add the reference time between the two capes to their list of achievements.
Still blocked between two systems, Groupama 3 is sailing in light, variable winds. Frustrating for the crew and detrimental to the number of miles covered, the whims of the Indian Ocean are delaying the giant trimaran's passage at the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, at the SW tip of Australia.
Despite the new record for Groupama, it has been a frustrating few days onboard the giant trimaran. In 12 hours, from 17:00 UTC yesterday to 05:00 UTC this Thursday morning, Groupama 3 conceded nearly 70 miles of its virtual lead over the current Jules Verne Trophy holder Orange II. Forced to make numerous changes of tack in downwind conditions blown by a fairly light westerly breeze, which heads as it eases when Groupama 3 makes for the NE and fills in as it backs when she makes for the SE, CAMMAS and his men are covering a lot of ground at low speed.
Frédéric LE PEUTREC described the atmosphere onboard during yesterday's radio session: "There is good humour aboard even though it's not easy to sail in the south at the moment. You have to know how to be patient and wait and see what the next day brings, hoping for better things to come: we still have a slight lead over Orange II and it's not a matter of life or death... The coming situation is shaping up and it doesn't look like it'll be very easy to negotiate either... In times of difficulty, you have to retain your enthusiasm and don't sink into yourself! We are ready to seize the opportunity which is bound to come along at some time or other."
Skipper CAMMAS sounded a little more frustrated with the situation, "For several days, we have been running along behind a front, which could have enabled us to get into a northerly wind and catch up with a high pressure airflow. Unfortunately the front is moving a little bit quicker than us!"
LE PEUTREC added in conclusion, "It's a bit frustrating and we are impatient to find a constant wind: we're managing a few bursts of speed but it's difficult linking these moves together. You can feel that Groupama 3 has the power under her bonnet and that she has the potential to outdistance Orange II without any problem!"
The Record To Beat
Record: Round the World, non-stop
Yacht: Orange II
Skipper: Bruno PEYRON (FRA)
Dates: January-March 2005
Elapsed time: 50 days, 16 hours, 20 minutes and 4 seconds
Distance: 21,760 nm
Average Speed: 17.89 knots
Groupama 3 - www.cammas-groupama.com
World Sailing Speed Record Council - www.sailspeedrecords.com