Slipping along on seas yet to build too much and pushed by a fine 20-25 knot northwesterly breeze, Groupama 3 is gaining easting at high speed, even though further repositioning to the south was necessary this Monday morning.
Still sailing along the southern edge of the Saint Helena High, the giant trimaran is benefiting from the propelling effects of a low, which is circulating at 55° South. And to remain in this good vein of wind, which is enabling Groupama 3 to benefit from fairly smooth seas and a steady wind, the crew has had to put in several little hooks in their trajectory over the weekend. The objective of Franck CAMMAS (FRA) and his nine crew is in fact to remain between these two phenomena (high pressure to port, low pressure to starboard), along a 1015 mb isobar, situated at the 38°30 South.
As a result conditions are still very manageable in terms of racking up some fine days like that of yesterday, where they grazed 640 miles at an average of over 26 knots. Of course each gybe to the south at 90° to the normal course causes them to lose ground in relation to Orange II (the latter still over 600 miles behind), but these manoeuvres are unavoidable if Groupama 3 is to maintain a good angle in relation to the wind. The Saint Helena High extends as far as the South of the Cape of Good Hope, from where the trimaran will rapidly be able to continue its course towards the Indian Ocean, which it is likely to reach from Wednesday...
Groupama also underwent a slight repositioning over the weekend, with a sequence of six gybes on Saturday to remain on the southern edge of the Saint Helena High
"We had to reposition ourselves slightly a few times towards the south and last night we hit 20-25 knots of wind, which is now enabling us to make between 28 and 35 knots of boat speed. The nocturnal temperatures are a little colder: the boat has been accelerating well since Saturday evening and the seas are building progressively,"
explained helmsman Sébastien AUDIGANE at Sunday's radio session.
Yesterday lunchtime, skipper CAMMAS also shared his thoughts on what the next few days were likely to have in store, "The next two days aren't going to be too bad, even though we may have to reposition ourselves towards the south like yesterday in order to track down the pressure. The situation looks likely to become more complicated shortly after the Cape of Good Hope however. We'll have to wait and see what happens... We're sailing under cloudy skies but there are still patches of blue. The temperatures are still high during the day but you have to wear a fleece at night. It's still very pleasant, even though we're being shaken about a bit at thirty knots! For the time being, the wind is steady and the boat isn't bumping off the waves,"
With a couple more 24 hours runs of 650 miles anticipated, Groupama 3 should be south of Cape Town from Wednesday.
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