Groupama 3 v Orange 2
Groupama 3 v Orange 2

Struggle to the Horn

Groupama 3 has had to stray a long way north to avoid a nasty depression

Monday March 1st 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 Orange2
               
01 Mar 10:00
48°07.18 S 116°49.45 W 32.6 65° 666 8 977 315.4
01 Mar 08:00 48°34.52 S 118°20.54 W 33.9 72° 645.6 9 057 296.3
01 Mar 06:00 48°57.72 S 119°55.30 W 32.5 66° 622.2 9 082 329.5
01 Mar 04:00 49°23.94 S 121°22.08 W 32.9 59° 617.6 9 107 362.6
01 Mar 02:00 49°58.22 S 122°47.12 W 32.8 53° 592.9 9 132 399.3
01 Mar 00:00 50°40.08 S 124°03.25 W 33.3 48° 577.8 9 152 437.1
28 Feb 22:00 51°19.09 S 125°16.01 W 30.8 47° 569.7 9 177 470.6
28 Feb 20:00 52°00.57 S 126°30.55 W 29.5 45° 562.1 9 205 495.8
28 Feb 18:00 52°43.65 S 127°41.03 W 29.4 51° 550.2 9 233 519.1
28 Feb 16:00 52°43.94 S 129°05.16 W 27.1 109° 550.9 9 283 522.7
28 Feb 14:00 52°23.53 S 130°30.81 W 26.1 109° 559.7 9 339 517
28 Feb 12:00 51°59.21 S 131°53.06 W 29.6 116° 580.9 9 395 509.5
28 Feb 10:00 51°33.26 S 133°14.17 W 26.8 129° 607.1 9 451 498.1
28 Feb 08:00 51°05.40 S 134°36.01 W 31.8 121° 632.3 9 509 480.2
28 Feb 04:00 50°14.55 S 137°17.96 W 27.6 39° 685.4 9 618 447.7
28 Feb 02:00 50°58.24 S 138°15.52 W 29.8 47° 695.7 9 642 488.9
28 Feb 00:00 51°36.91 S 139°21.43 W 30.6 45° 706.4 9 668 512.2
27 Feb 22:00 52°16.34 S 140°34.24 W 31.7 54° 715.5 9 699 529.6
27 Feb 20:00 52°49.93 S 141°50.37 W 26.3 47° 727.8 9 734 543.9
27 Feb 18:00 53°28.37 S 142°56.19 W 28.9 50° 740.1 9 763 557.5
27 Feb 16:00 53°58.51 S 144°21.41 W 27.1 63° 745.5 9 809 560.8
27 Feb 14:00 54°16.27 S 145°50.90 W 27.9 85° 753.4 9 859 560.2
27 Feb 12:00 54°24.27 S 147°34.36 W 31.7 80° 755 9 920 554.3
27 Feb 10:00 54°38.23 S 149°19.81 W 32.4 76° 753 9 982 538.9

From being at 55deg30degS on Friday morning, Groupama 3 is now back up to 48degS, but still making 30+ knot speeds as she hurtles towards South American - with Cape Horn now 1880 miles or three and a bit day's sail at her present velocity if she could sail there directly. Unfortunately although she is making good speed, Groupama 3's lead over Orange 2 has dropped back from 560 miles on Saturday early evening to 315 miles at the latest sched by virtue of Peyron's cat being able to sail a much shorter course at good speed - Groupama 3 is at present 400 miles north of Orange 2's equivalent position at this longitude. 

The reason for this dive back up to the north has been to stay above a secondary depression (and thus in favourable winds) that was forming ahead of them at the beginning of the weekend.

"Groupama 3 is sailing at very high speed ahead of a disturbed system, which formed between Australia and New Zealand on Saturday," warned Sylvain Mondon from Météo France yesterday. "This disturbance is tracking across the Pacific Ocean at a speed of 45 knots so it is catching up with Franck Cammas and his crew as it shifts eastward."

So the question now for skipper Franck Cammas and his navigator Stan Honey will be when to gybe back to the south. Earlier the better to reduce miles, but they must wait for the depression to their south to drop south. At present this is centred at 53deg 45S and the forecast shows the depression matching their speed east, but fortunately in 24 hours' time it has dropped to 55deg 24 and down to 58deg 25S in 48 hours time. So at some point tomorrow most likely Groupama 3 will put in a gybe to the south and will then gybe back to lay the Horn. Although the course isn't direct, at least it is fast with strong westerlies to get her past the Horn sometime on Thursday most likely. The question will be - how far ahead of Orange 2 will she be then? 

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