Groupama 3 v Orange 2
Groupama 3 v Orange 2

Day out from the Horn

But the start of the South Atlantic is looking slow for Groupama 3

Wednesday March 3rd 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
               
03 Mar 10:00
54°01.59 S 086°49.48 W 28.2 133° 618 7 812 267.9
03 Mar 08:00 53°24.23 S 088°02.35 W 28.9 129° 597.9 7 865 254.2
03 Mar 06:00 52°43.42 S 089°05.63 W 27.1 134° 590.9 7 916 246.1
03 Mar 04:00 52°07.28 S 090°06.02 W 25.6 128° 591.9 7 964 243.1
03 Mar 02:00 51°30.61 S 091°03.20 W 29 136° 602.6 8 012 242.1
03 Mar 00:00 50°49.11 S 092°04.67 W 28.1 133° 611 8 066 234.7
02 Mar 22:00 50°09.06 S 093°04.30 W 26.8 139° 621.6 8 118 229.1
02 Mar 20:00 49°27.84 S 093°59.62 W 28 137° 635.8 8 170 224
02 Mar 18:00 48°45.16 S 094°55.69 W 30.7 141° 653.8 8 225 209.2
02 Mar 16:00 47°54.78 S 095°44.79 W 30.5 155° 680.8 8 280 194.7
02 Mar 14:00 47°06.60 S 096°24.49 W 21.6 134° 712.6 8 330 184.3
02 Mar 12:00 46°52.93 S 097°17.75 W 26.7 84° 734.8 8 367 193.7
02 Mar 10:00 46°57.04 S 098°38.55 W 28.3 85° 738.1 8 409 201.4
02 Mar 08:00 47°01.45 S 100°02.85 W 29.8 88° 741.4 8 453 211.5
02 Mar 06:00 47°00.56 S 101°34.81 W 33.6 93° 744 8 504 214.7
02 Mar 04:00 46°58.19 S 103°06.29 W 33.9 93° 743.1 8 556 222
02 Mar 02:00 46°47.95 S 104°39.23 W 33.7 98° 745.1 8 614 222.6
02 Mar 00:00 46°44.59 S 106°16.57 W 32.6 91° 740.1 8 670 226.5
01 Mar 22:00 46°44.52 S 107°51.25 W 30.9 87° 735.8 8 723 230.4
01 Mar 20:00 46°51.17 S 109°25.31 W 32.3 84° 732.7 8 771 235.8
01 Mar 18:00 46°59.36 S 110°59.45 W 32.4 79° 729.3 8 819 242.9
01 Mar 16:00 47°09.17 S 112°32.93 W 26.7 80° 718.7 8 866 254
01 Mar 14:00 47°22.09 S 113°56.09 W 29.7 77° 706.2 8 905 268.4
01 Mar 12:00 47°39.65 S 115°20.99 W 32.6 66° 688.7 8 943 287

Around 690 miles to go to Cape Horn for Groupama 3 this morning or roughly a day’s sailing.

Now that she's converging with the track of her virtual rival, Orange 2, her lead is once again growing having dwindled down to 184 at 1400 GMT yesterday - no surprises as this coincided with the big green tri's long awaited gybe as the front that has been chasing them overtook them. Since yesterday afternoon she has been on a southeast heading and from here it will be a case of one more gybe before she can lay the marker to her exit from the Southern Ocean.

"Groupama 3 is sailing with care on the back of a gale - the sea is rough but manageable, the westerly swell is lengthening and the west to northwesterly wind is blowing at between 30 and 35 knots,” reported Sylvain Mondon from Météo France. “Further south the severe conditions are shifting down towards the 60s. The westerly to northwesterly wind will remain strong until Thursday morning at which point it will drop off rapidly: a period of very light winds (less than 7 knots) is expected prior to the Isla de los Estados.”

On passing Cape Horn in a little over 32 days, Groupama 3 is likely to have a few hours lead over the Orange 2, but it remains uncertain if she will better the time for Orange 2’s fast Pacific crossing of 8 days 18 hours and 8 minutes – a light wind forecast for their entry back into the Atlantic means that her present lead could once again be lost.

"Over the past five hours, the front has crept right up with us and the wind is very gusty,” said skipper Franck Cammas yesterday. “As such we've reduced the sails to three reefs in the mainsail and staysail... The wind is gusting to 40 knots and we're being forced to be underpowered. Fortunately the sea state isn't too bad and the boat isn't under too much pressure.

"The front will roll over the top of us soon and we're going to gybe onto a southeasterly course towards Cape Horn. The wind will then ease gradually and we'll have to hoist more sail, so that is what's on the menu later today... We're becoming increasingly slick with the manoeuvres, but we're still remaining very prudent so as to avoid breaking any gear. In fact it was the first time we've put in the third reef since leaving Ushant! We've never had so much wind on this round the world... It's rather deserted here at the moment: there were still a few albatrosses around yesterday, but today there's nothing. It's a big ocean the Pacific! This is especially true for us because we've covered a lot of ground: time is going slowly by. It hasn't been an easy ocean either, in contrast to the Indian Ocean."

Beyond Cape Horn Cammas is not anticipating being able to hang a sharp left. More likely they will leave the Falkland Islands a long way to port – another detour that will cost them against Orange 2’s record pace.

"The wind we're trying to keep to our stern behind this low is going to try to get ahead of us. As a result we're likely to have to adopt a rather atypical course, which will take us a very long way south of Cape Horn and continue eastwards across the Southern Ocean for an extra 24 hours. There's a zone of high pressure between Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands we'll have to get round... There is another possibility though. We could hug the coast of South America, but we'd have to brave strong headwinds!"

In contrast Orange 2 was able to take a reasonably optimum route up the south Atlantic. It's far from over yet.

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