At 15°S, Groupama 3 is 900 miles from the switch of hemispheres, but the sun is at its zenith as the crew approach the boreal spring: the Doldrums, it too stretched across the equator, is already in the sights of navigator Stan Honey and the onshore router Sylvain Mondon.
As such the trimaran can now set a direct course for this point at 32°W.
The beat finally seems to be at an end! This is certainly the case for the southern hemisphere and probably true of the northern hemisphere... Indeed, there's still a long way to go, the equivalent of that of a Transat Jacques Vabre, which nearly all the crew of Groupama 3 have already competed in over past years. However, in this case, it's from Brazil to Ushant that these 4,250 miles are to be devoured and there are now just ten and a half days in which to do so! In the meantime the pace is gradually picking up and the separation, which has reached 470 miles, is stabilising. All that remains now is to reduce their deficit... This should start to happen this weekend as Orange 2 only made a moderate pace in 2005 on her equatorial passage and took nearly nine and a half days between the switch of hemispheres and her arrival in Brittany.
"The weather's good and we're sailing in glorious sunshine: it's perfect weather for staying outdoors! There isn't a lot of wind, not very big seas and no noise... It was so hot last night that I slept on the trampoline up forward because down below, it was bordering on 40°C. I feel more tired than when we were in the Deep South... We're in the process of entering the tradewinds with around fifteen knots of breeze, where we'll be able to make fast headway. Groupama 3 is particularly fond of these conditions. We even sent Loïc Le Mignon up the mast to do a check-up and a spot of DIY on the wind sensors" indicated Lionel Lemonchois at the 11:30 UTC radio link-up with Groupama's Race HQ in Paris.
Under the stars
The gennaker is scheduled for Saturday with the gradual rotation of the wind from the NE to the E, then the SE. As such the seventeen knot average speed over the past few hours is set to increase once the E'ly tradewinds become more established. Furthermore, the Doldrums at this latitude don't appear to be either overly developed or overly active... Orange 2 took 40 days, 19 hours and 5 minutes to reach the equator in 2005: it is now an established fact that Groupama 3 will be a day (plus or minus a few hours) behind the reference time when they switch hemispheres.
"We're still concentrated and relaxed: there's no reason to be tense because we're still a long way from the finish and the weather may be favourable for us at the end of the course. The die have not yet been cast: we've got a lot to do! The current conditions are very good for Groupama 3, which is lighter and carrying a lot of sail area: the boat is pleasant in relation to Orange 2 which found it difficult in the light airs, as much in terms of heading as speed... I recall a hard day in 2005 during a Brazilian transition".
From the Round the World to the Rhum
Aboard Groupama 3, three crew are preparing for the next Route du Rhum: Franck Cammas and Thomas Coville in the maxi-multihull category, and Lionel Lemonchois on a fifty foot trimaran.
"We should cross the equator around 30°W: we're now going dead straight and have our fingers crossed that we can carve out a very direct trajectory towards Ushant. We could even head to the East of the Azores! This round the world, aside from a large chunk in the Indian Ocean, hasn't really favoured the boat. If we'd had the conditions that Orange 2 enjoyed, we'd be at least four days ahead! For now we're keeping our minds busy with projects after the finish... Along with Thomas and Franck, we're already spending a bit of time discussing the next Route du Rhum!"
Groupama 3's log
(departure on 31 January at 13:55:53' UTC)
Day 1 (1st February 1400 UTC): 500 miles (deficit = 94 miles)
Day 2 (2 February 1400 UTC): 560 miles (lead = 3.5 miles)
Day 3 (3 February 1400 UTC): 535 miles (lead = 170 miles)
Day 4 (4 February 1400 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)
Day 8 (8 February 1400 UTC): 305 miles (lead = 456 miles)
Day 9 (9 February 1400 UTC): 436 miles (lead = 393 miles)
Day 10 (10 February 1400 UTC): 355 miles (lead = 272 miles)
Day 11 (11 February 1400 UTC): 267 miles (deficit = 30 miles)
Day 12 (12 February 1400 UTC): 247 miles (deficit = 385 miles)
Day 13 (13 February 1400 UTC): 719 miles (deficit = 347 miles)
Day 14 (14 February 1400 UTC): 680 miles (deficit = 288 miles)
Day 15 (15 February 1400 UTC): 651 miles (deficit = 203 miles)
Day 16 (16 February 1400 UTC): 322 miles (deficit = 376 miles)
Day 17 (17 February 1400 UTC): 425 miles (deficit = 338 miles)
Day 18 (18 February 1400 UTC): 362 miles (deficit = 433 miles)
Day 19 (19 February 1400 UTC): 726 miles (deficit = 234 miles)
Day 20 (20 February 1400 UTC): 672 miles (deficit = 211 miles)
Day 21 (21 February 1400 UTC): 584 miles (deficit = 124 miles)
Day 22 (22 February 1400 UTC): 607 miles (deficit = 137 miles)
Day 23 (23 February 1400 UTC): 702 miles (lead = 60 miles)
Day 24 (24 February 1400 UTC): 638 miles (lead = 208 miles)
Day 25 (25 February 1400 UTC): 712 miles (lead = 371 miles)
Day 26 (26 February 1400 UTC): 687 miles (lead = 430 miles)
Day 27 (27 February 1400 UTC): 797 miles (lead = 560 miles)
Day 27 (27 February 1400 UTC): 560 miles (lead = 517 miles)
Day 29 (1st March 1400 UTC): 434 miles (lead = 268 miles)
Day 30 (2 March 1400 UTC): 575 miles (lead = 184 miles)
Day 31 (3 March 1400 UTC): 617 miles (lead = 291 miles)
Day 32 (4 March 1400 UTC): 492 miles (lead = 248 miles)
Day 33 (5 March 1400 UTC): 445 miles (lead = 150 miles)
Day 34 (6 March 1400 UTC): 461 miles (lead = 58 miles)
Day 35 (7 March 1400 UTC): 382 miles (deficit = 100 miles)
Day 36 (8 March 1400 UTC): 317 miles (deficit = 326 miles)
Day 37 (9 March 1400 UTC): 506 miles (deficit = 331 miles)
Day 38 (10 March 1400 UTC): 321 miles (deficit = 384 miles)
Day 39 (11 March 1400 UTC): 255 miles (deficit = 309 miles)
Day 40 (12 March 1400 UTC): 288 miles (deficit = 473 miles)
WSSRC record from equator to equator
Orange 2 (2005): 33 days, 16 hours and 6 minutes
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
Get the latest updates from Groupama 3 at www.cammas-groupama.com