Groupama 3 v Orange 2
Groupama 3 v Orange 2

Behind again

Groupama 3 struggling in the south Atlantic

Monday March 8th 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

  Image above courtesy of Expedition Navigation Systems and PredictWind

Date/time Lat Lond Spd Crs 24 hrs DTF v Orange 2
               
08 Mar 07:00 39°43.73 S 033°12.62 W 20.4 327° 339.3 5 747 -284
08 Mar 05:00 40°09.85 S 033°15.87 W 13.6 340° 353.6 5 773 -272.7
08 Mar 03:00 40°26.19 S 033°55.43 W 21.9 60° 360.6 5 791 -249.5
08 Mar 01:00 40°49.82 S 034°30.47 W 20.4 66° 363.8 5 816 -233.6
07 Mar 23:00 41°09.25 S 035°02.69 W 18.9 64° 371.4 5 837 -213.9
07 Mar 21:00 41°38.11 S 034°56.62 W 19.9 328° 394.3 5 865 -197.4
07 Mar 19:00 42°09.20 S 034°25.22 W 17.2 320° 434.5 5 895 -178
07 Mar 16:00 42°38.53 S 034°31.40 W 16.3 63° 478.4 5 924 -132.6
07 Mar 14:00 42°55.31 S 035°15.37 W 18.4 52° 485 5 943 -100.1
07 Mar 12:00 43°21.88 S 035°56.93 W 22.2 47° 494.4 5 972 -80.9
07 Mar 10:00 43°48.39 S 036°38.56 W 16.8 44° 497.9 6 001 -58.6
07 Mar 08:00 44°12.30 S 037°12.13 W 17.3 48° 496.9 6 027 -32.8
07 Mar 06:00 44°37.92 S 037°48.54 W 18.4 44° 497.3 6 056 -33.3
07 Mar 04:00 45°04.24 S 038°25.15 W 20 48° 494.6 6 085 -30.6
07 Mar 02:00 45°27.44 S 039°10.90 W 18.9 54° 490.2 6 112 -12.3
07 Mar 00:00 45°50.90 S 039°53.92 W 19.1 52° 496 6 140 5.4
06 Mar 22:00 46°19.94 S 040°34.00 W 21.7 37° 502 6 174 14.7
06 Mar 19:00 47°14.61 S 041°40.72 W 22 52° 513.8 6 237 24.1
06 Mar 17:00 47°43.45 S 042°29.99 W 23.7 48° 528 6 272 37.5
06 Mar 15:00 48°14.20 S 043°21.75 W 19.7 49° 535.7 6 310 48.5
06 Mar 13:00 48°42.40 S 044°11.56 W 25.9 47° 558.1 6 346 62.4
06 Mar 11:00 49°15.39 S 045°07.42 W 22 52° 567.2 6 388 70.8
06 Mar 09:00 49°35.78 S 045°49.49 W 16.8 54° 586.6 6 415 94.1
06 Mar 07:00 50°00.30 S 046°33.19 W 19.1 54° 617.3 6 447 108.4

Having been ahead of Orange 2 as she passed Cape Horn at the end of last week, so the weekend has proved a hard one for Groupama 3 and as anticipated so at midnight on Sunday morning, so she was once again overtaken by her virtual rival. The reason for this was coming into the South Atlantic at the same time as an area of high pressure was directly to her north. Worse - as she tried to skirt to the south of it, the high moved east with it and so early yesterday evening Groupama 3 gybed northwest, gybing back to the northeast at 2200 GMT. She is now skirting the western side of the high and had to put in another short hitch to the northwest at breakfast time this morning to prevent her sailing too close to the high's centre.

The end result has not been a good one - Groupama 3 has been sailing at under 20 knots for most of the weekend and is also a long way off the shortest course. At the equivalent period of her circumnavigation (ie just south of the latitude of the River Plate separating Argentina from Urugary) she was some 660 miles to the west of the green tri's position. Anoraks among us will remember that Groupama 3's present course is closer to the route Bruno Peyron had to take on Orange 1 when he previously set the record in 2002.

"The anticyclone, which is to be left to starboard, is still very close, with the centre just 350 miles to the east of Groupama 3," explained Sylvain Mondon of Météo France, who is providing the met data to the boat. "The last tack change, which will enable the crew to set a course to the north on starboard tack is scheduled for this Monday between late morning and early afternoon. The work onboard has been intense as the series of tack changes has been in line with expectations and is quite different to the previous 72 hours, where manoeuvres were rather rare. A little rest will be possible for the crew tonight and early tomorrow, Tuesday. Following on from that there will be a long and tricky passage off Rio midway through the week."

Looking ahead the forecast has the high continuing north and in 24 hours time will have enlongated along a WSW-ENE axis to her EE. At this point Groupama 3 will be into a good westerly flow to get her north. The problem off Rio mid-week is a weak area of low pressure that is forming on their course - the result is that there is likely to be very little pressure in this area and a side affect is that it also appears to take some of the grunt out of the NEerly trades further north. Once again Groupama 3 is not having a lot of luck with the weather.

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