Past the Cape of Good Hope
|Date/time||Lat||Long||Spd||Crs||24 hrs||DTF||v Orange 2|
|16 Feb 13:00||43°09.89 S||033°07.94 E||13.6||132°||377.9||16 780||-371.3|
|16 Feb 10:00||43°01.69 S||032°11.12 E||16.6||70°||416.5||16 821||-337.8|
|16 Feb 07:00||43°06.46 S||031°15.76 E||8.5||85°||454.5||16 855||-308.8|
|16 Feb 04:00||43°06.30 S||030°33.80 E||9||93°||511.8||16 883||-266.8|
|16 Feb 01:00||42°49.88 S||029°53.00 E||21.5||124°||574.9||16 917||-233.8|
|15 Feb 22:00||42°59.56 S||028°46.55 E||16.7||59°||615.3||16 957||-230.9|
|15 Feb 19:00||43°20.11 S||027°46.51 E||24.3||67°||632.8||16 988||-217.3|
|15 Feb 16:00||43°34.15 S||026°09.50 E||22.7||91°||653.9||17 046||-207.6|
|15 Feb 13:00||43°36.39 S||024°28.99 E||25.1||87°||669.1||17 111||-204.9|
|15 Feb 10:00||43°40.23 S||022°40.54 E||26||94°||683.6||17 181||-208.1|
|15 Feb 07:00||43°25.21 S||020°51.70 E||30.9||102°||697.5||17 259||-222.4|
|15 Feb 04:00||43°02.50 S||018°52.65 E||32||107°||703.1||17 348||-237.6|
|15 Feb 01:00||42°28.73 S||016°51.02 E||31.8||112°||700||17 443||-256.2|
|15 Feb 00:00||42°15.40 S||016°11.54 E||29.2||119°||700.6||17 475||-263.4|
Yesterday morning (Monday) at 05h 43' 47'' GMT, Groupama 3 passed the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope. Her time was 14 days 15h hours 47 minutes 54 seconds, which sadly represents a deficit of seven and a half hours on their virtual opponent, Jules Verne Trophy record holder, Bruno Peyron's Orange 2. It is also very much slower than her record for Brest to Cape of Good Hope when she set a time of 13 days 8 hours and 47 minutes, on her first Jules Verne Trophy attempt in 2008.
"On Sunday there were a lot of birds around..." reported Steve Ravussin from on board yesterday. "Then this morning a huge albatross followed us from daybreak. At noon today we're in a transition zone between the front which was following us and the northerly air flow, which is due to hit us with 40 knots late this afternoon. We even had a moment of sunshine and it's not too cold: we've had time to have a little break! I haven't even put my boots on yet..."
Groupama 3 had to reposition herself slightly to the south just before crossing the longitude of Cape Agulhas, in order to avoid an area of high pressure. However this gybe hasn't proved disadvantageous.
"We're going to be beam on in this harsh wind and we've prepared the storm jib and intend to put in reefs," continued Ravussin. "This gale will last for around 20 hours. It's not going to be very pleasant, but we're lucky that we'll be sailing in following seas. It's set to be a bit different than it was two years ago! We've performed a general check-up and all's well. We'll be ready to tackle these conditions before nightfall... We're trying to sail without putting too much strain on the foils, especially the starboard one, which has been working hard since the start. As such we're rarely exceeding 37 knots, but we do at times make 42 knots as we did yesterday."
The transition between the cold front and the forecast northerlies has not been a fast one and at sunset yesterday she slowed down in the ridge between the two systems. The situation had not improved in the early hours of this morning when the mighty 105ft trimaran's boat speed was regularly below 10 knots. And so over the last 24 hours her deficit on Orange 2 has further increased from 205 miles to 371 - and at present still increasing.
However conditions are soon set to change. As the chart above shows there is a major Southern Ocean depression directly to her south now and with the wind in the northwest ahead of the front, she is setting up for some high speed runs over the next 24 hours. Unfortunately beyond thiis the forecast remains more complex than usual for it indicates that to the east of the depression she is about to start riding, a substantial area of high pressure is set to develop and this will create chaos with the weather in this area later in the week, which unless they are very careful will not be good for the mileage business.