Groupama 3 v Orange 2
Groupama 3 v Orange 2

Slow turn for home

Groupama 3 overhauls Orange 2

Wednesday March 17th 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
               
17 Mar 07:00 24°25.84 N 039°27.26 W 28.6 464.1 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 22.7 454.2 2 236 193.3
17 Mar 03:00 22°43.84 N 039°42.99 W 24.3 460.7 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 19.6 487.5 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 19.9 633.8 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.

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