Just 120 miles off the Brazilian coast, Groupama 3 is continuing to drop down to the SSW to hunt down a low off Rio de Janeiro. Meantime their 530 mile lead over Orange 2 is being maintained...
Franck Cammas and his nine crew are continuing their descent towards the Roaring Forties at an average of over 25 knots: even though their trajectory isn't very favourable for closing in on the Cape of Good Hope, their quick pace is enabling them to maintain the same lead in relation to Orange 2's reference time. Still making headway in E'ly tradewinds, Groupama 3 cannot yet hang a left, but this Monday morning there are the first signs that she'll be able to switch onto a more SW'ly course from Tuesday onwards...
A big anticyclone
"On the Northern edge of the (residual) ridge of high pressure from the Saint Helena High, several lines of squalls are slightly disrupting the tradewinds, which is a sign that the link between the equator and the ridge of high pressure is coming to an end (less than 48hrs respite in the SE'ly tradewinds). Once through these lines of squalls (late this Monday morning), the tradewinds will slowly revert back to the North as they ease (afternoon and evening): in this way Groupama 3's trajectory will curve slowly at first, before quickening up prior to the gybe (expected to take place during the course of tonight). This will mark the start of their extraction from the zone of high pressure, with an initial stretch on starboard tack towards the SW enabling them to distance themselves from the light winds. A number of gybes will ensue (Tuesday) in order to get the most of the winds produced by three different systems each extending their influence across the zone in turn..."
indicated Sylvain Mondon from Météo France.
Therefore Franck Cammas and his men still have nearly a full day's sailing ahead of them before they can begin to home in on the tip of South Africa. Their course very close to the Brazilian coast means that they're having to be on high alert due to the intense shipping and the presence of fishermen. Tuesday will mark the return to a more favourable weather situation for making headway towards the next goal, the Cape of Good Hope...
Groupama 3's log (departure on 31 January at 13h 55' 53'' UTC)
Day 1 (1 February 14:00 UTC): 500 miles (deficit = 94 miles)
Day 2 (2 February 14:00 UTC): 560 miles (lead = 3.5 miles)
Day 3 (3 February 14:00 UTC): 535 miles (lead = 170 miles)
Day 4 (4 February 14:00 UTC): 565 miles (lead = 245 miles)
Day 5 (5 February 1400 UTC): 656 miles (lead = 562 miles)
Day 6 (6 February 1400 UTC): 456 miles (lead = 620 miles)
Day 7 (7 February 1400 UTC): 430 miles (lead = 539 miles)
Best passage time to the equator from Ushant
Groupama 3: 5d 15h 23' (November 2009)
Jules Verne Trophy reference time to the equator
Orange 2: 7d 02h 56' (January 2005)
The Record To Beat
Record: Round the World, non stop, crewed, any type
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 nautical miles
Average Speed: 17.89 knots