Slow turn for home
|Date time||Lat||Long||Spd||Crs||24 hrs||DTF||v Orange2|
|17 Mar 07:00||24°25.84 N||039°27.26 W||28.6||9°||464.1||2 165||258.5|
|17 Mar 06:00||23°57.45 N||039°32.92 W||28.8||15°||460.1||2 191||233.2|
|17 Mar 05:00||23°30.62 N||039°40.16 W||26.4||12°||455.9||2 216||210|
|17 Mar 04:00||23°06.20 N||039°41.73 W||22.7||4°||454.2||2 236||193.3|
|17 Mar 03:00||22°43.84 N||039°42.99 W||24.3||9°||460.7||2 254||178.2|
|17 Mar 02:00||22°20.69 N||039°46.61 W||20.8||10°||464.6||2 274||163.3|
|17 Mar 01:00||21°59.84 N||039°47.77 W||21.8||353°||471.6||2 291||150.6|
|17 Mar 00:00||21°39.73 N||039°45.69 W||19.7||356°||479.7||2 306||141.6|
|16 Mar 23:00||21°19.39 N||039°45.79 W||19.6||5°||487.5||2 322||133.2|
|16 Mar 22:00||21°01.42 N||039°47.52 W||14.1||347°||499||2 338||124.7|
|16 Mar 21:00||20°48.90 N||039°43.69 W||14.4||328°||508.5||2 346||116.9|
|16 Mar 20:00||20°36.23 N||039°36.34 W||13.3||337°||524.2||2 352||119.3|
|16 Mar 19:00||20°23.60 N||039°28.60 W||15||325°||538.8||2 358||133.2|
|16 Mar 18:00||20°10.84 N||039°20.38 W||16.1||324°||553||2 363||132.7|
|16 Mar 17:00||19°57.97 N||039°29.65 W||23.4||44°||571.3||2 379||122.1|
|16 Mar 16:00||19°43.00 N||039°43.13 W||18.9||44°||588.6||2 398||103.9|
|16 Mar 15:00||19°28.22 N||039°52.96 W||17.9||30°||605.9||2 416||88.4|
|16 Mar 14:00||19°11.10 N||040°00.58 W||17.7||26°||613.8||2 434||71.8|
|16 Mar 13:00||18°53.89 N||040°06.68 W||19.9||8°||633.8||2 451||55.3|
|16 Mar 12:00||18°34.28 N||040°07.21 W||23||355°||645.6||2 468||49|
|16 Mar 11:00||18°09.64 N||040°05.00 W||28.1||354°||653.2||2 486||30.1|
|16 Mar 10:00||17°44.11 N||039°59.45 W||23||338°||657.7||2 504||13.6|
Around mid-evening last night, Groupama 3 finally broke free of the southwestern side of the ridge having put in a gybe at sunset. Since then her speed has been building once again to the extent that her lead over the Jules Verne Trophy record holder Orange 2 is now up to 258 miles with more certain to come as over this stage of their passage back towards Ushant, the big cat's progress was relatively slow.
Meteo France's Sylvian Mondon shares his update: "Getting away from the ridge is now almost complete: the soiuthwesterly wind will still be less than 20 knots early this morning and then the right-hand turn will begin very gradually today as the wind freshens. The general course on port tack north will continue until this evening, before bearing away to the northeast as far as the latitude of the Azores. After that Franck Cammas and his crew will be able to make a direct course towards Ushant on starboard tack along the southern edge of the centre of a low, which will accompany Groupama 3 over the coming days."
Groupama 3 is certainly finally having some luck with the weather. While the Azores high has shifted across Europe (hence the surprisingly nice weather in the UK at the moment), so there are two depressions out in the mid-north Atlantic to her north. The high/ridge lobes out to the southwest and between this and the depressions is a usefully strong band of southwesterlies. The challenge for the crew is that a southwestely wind direction is dead downwind so the crew will be to make best use of the shifts to ensure they make the optimum progress towards the finish.
By tonight if as Sylvian Mondon states, they stay on their northerly heading then this will take them close to the northwestern of the two lows where the wind will shift more into the south. They will then gybe to the east and it will be interesting to see how low they can sail.
The longer term forecast indicates that the favourable wind direction should get Groupama 3 back into the Bay of Biscay, however the wind may go soft for them on Saturday.