Groupama 3 v Orange 2
Groupama 3 v Orange 2

Back ahead

Another two days of fast sailing allows Groupama 3 to overtake her virtual rival

Wednesday February 24th 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

 Image above courtesy of Expedition Navigation Systems and PredictWind

Date/time Lat Long Spd Crs 24 hrs DTF v Orange 2
               
24 Feb 13:00 49°05.04 S 155°30.49 E 30.8 100° 664 12 080 197.9
24 Feb 10:00 48°44.44 S 153°17.06 E 29.3 108° 669.2 12 168 168.1
24 Feb 07:00 48°04.04 S 151°24.47 E 30 131° 685.4 12 253 146.5
24 Feb 04:00 47°01.57 S 150°02.06 E 29.5 134° 721.2 12 330 128.6
24 Feb 01:00 47°20.11 S 147°58.71 E 30.6 81° 732 12 397 126.9
23 Feb 22:00 47°29.62 S 145°55.96 E 26.2 82° 740.5 12 467 112.6
23 Feb 19:00 47°40.39 S 143°45.09 E 31.3 89° 748.7 12 541 92.9
23 Feb 16:00 47°34.53 S 141°22.79 E 31.5 101° 744.8 12 629 68.5
23 Feb 11:00 46°56.77 S 137°37.85 E 31.1 108° 732.8 12 781 26.6
23 Feb 08:00 46°26.41 S 135°28.28 E 30.5 109° 734.8 12 873 -0.1
23 Feb 05:00 46°02.12 S 133°17.18 E 26.3 105° 736 12 964 -18.1
23 Feb 02:00 45°40.31 S 131°08.26 E 30.7 102° 741.5 13 052 -46.2
22 Feb 23:00 45°22.07 S 129°02.06 E 31.5 96° 745.8 13 137 -77.1
22 Feb 20:00 45°14.31 S 126°42.33 E 32.4 89° 738.1 13 225 -104.7
22 Feb 17:00 45°18.56 S 124°23.87 E 32.3 87° 726.3 13 307 -123.4
22 Feb 14:00 45°21.29 S 122°04.99 E 24.9 85° 721.9 13 389 -137.4
22 Feb 11:00 45°29.78 S 120°03.87 E 31 84° 720.6 13 457 -129.5

Finally! For the first time since 11 February Groupama 3 is back ahead of the virtual pace of Jules Verne Trophy record holder, Orange 2. Franck Cammas' big green trimaran overhauled the big cat's relative positon at 0800 GMT yesterday and at the latest sched is almost 200 miles in advance.

"We're monitoring our progress in relation to Orange 2 and even though she's not a direct opponent, we're looking at her virtual wake," commented crewman Fred le Peutrec yesterday. "We knew that to the south of Australia we were going to make up our deficit as Bruno Peyron and his crew had to put in several gybes with some slower phases. However, they crossed the Pacific very quickly... It will be difficult to maintain the same average speed as far as Cape Horn. If we have a bit of a lead at that stage that wouldn't be bad: theoretically the climb up the Atlantic should enable us to claw back the time!"

This morning finds Groupama 3 midway between Australia and New Zealand, roughly 500 miles southeast of Hobart.

Over the course of this morning Groupama 3 has been negotating a front combined with an area of high pressure moving northwest, above her, into the Tasman Sea as a depression has been approaching from the west. As a result, with the wind in the southwest and going northwest, she gybed southeast at around 0400 GMT this morning. Since then the wind has backed southwest again allowing Groupama 3 to turn her bows due east again.

At present there are two added concerns. Firstly they are entering an area notorious for ice, however Meteo France's Sylvain Mondon has good news on this front: "With the final known zone of icebergs left tens of miles miles to starboard, Groupama 3 was able to bear away a little today and make full benefit of the fairly strong northwestly wind to put a little big of southing into her course. in fact the latitude which Franck Cammas and his crew have been sailing, Groupama 3 was still relatively close to Australia: this course was favoured thanks to both the previous days' wind and by the presence of a large iceberg field to the south of 47deg This southward shift is necessary since they have to be at least south of 47°30 S to pass New Zealand! Therefore we can expect to see Groupama 3 making a very high VMG bordering on 28/30 knots and with that their lead should continue to increase over Tuesday and Wednesday."

The second concern for the superstitious crew is that they will be shortly be reaching New Zealand where two years ago their boat folded up beneath them. Fingers crossed.

Mondon provides his forecast. "The northwesterly wind, which Groupama 3 has enjoyed for almost a week, has backed to the southwest as the front previously trailing them has caught up and overtaken the giant trimaran. The 20/25 knot southwestly will quickly freshen on Wednesday to reach an average of 30/32 knots with gusts of more than 35 knots over the course of the day. The associated sea will be fairly lumpy for Groupama 3 then since the low situated between Tasmania and New Zealand is producing a northerly swell shortly before Auckland Island, which will combined with a westerly swell from the southwesterly wind. As a result it will be necessary to wait until Thursday and the exit from this tricky zone before Groupama 3's can return to full speed.

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