Switching on the afterburners
|Date time||Lat||Long||Spd||Crs||24 hrs||DTF||v Orange 2|
|18 Mar 08:00||31°52.91 N||032°11.44 W||30.3||14°||563.5||1 576||746.6|
|18 Mar 07:00||31°23.03 N||032°15.35 W||29||6°||565.1||1 600||727.1|
|18 Mar 06:00||30°54.70 N||032°15.41 W||26||351°||569.7||1 622||710.4|
|18 Mar 05:00||30°29.58 N||032°11.17 W||22.8||351°||578.9||1 638||697.7|
|18 Mar 04:00||30°15.15 N||032°07.44 W||7.3||7°||590.2||1 647||694.8|
|18 Mar 03:00||30°09.31 N||032°13.82 W||22.5||72°||599.8||1 655||693|
|18 Mar 02:00||30°03.97 N||032°44.16 W||15.6||77°||598.2||1 676||678.7|
|18 Mar 01:00||29°48.46 N||033°02.07 W||25.8||38°||593.7||1 698||663.6|
|18 Mar 00:00||29°29.45 N||033°15.83 W||22||46°||586.5||1 720||647.7|
|17 Mar 23:00||29°15.83 N||033°42.25 W||29||65°||578.6||1 745||628.2|
|17 Mar 22:00||29°07.16 N||034°11.26 W||28.2||60°||573.1||1 768||611|
|17 Mar 21:00||28°51.34 N||034°39.01 W||30.3||60°||555.9||1 796||588.8|
|17 Mar 20:00||28°33.38 N||035°05.70 W||28.3||54°||536.7||1 825||564.3|
|17 Mar 19:00||28°17.11 N||035°33.64 W||32.3||60°||519.5||1 854||539.3|
|17 Mar 18:00||28°01.66 N||036°04.55 W||33.3||61°||503.5||1 883||514.2|
|17 Mar 17:00||27°44.46 N||036°35.19 W||30.9||58°||493||1 914||486.9|
|17 Mar 16:00||27°28.37 N||037°03.32 W||28.2||56°||487.8||1 942||463.7|
|17 Mar 15:00||27°13.48 N||037°29.65 W||26.8||65°||483.5||1 969||436.3|
|17 Mar 14:00||27°02.83 N||037°57.09 W||27.4||79°||485.2||1 993||412.2|
|17 Mar 13:00||26°53.23 N||038°26.95 W||27.5||71°||488.1||2 018||387.3|
|17 Mar 12:00||26°45.34 N||038°56.99 W||28.2||72°||495.3||2 041||369.6|
|17 Mar 11:00||26°23.64 N||039°08.62 W||33.2||3°||496.8||2 064||347.3|
|17 Mar 10:00||25°51.95 N||039°12.10 W||32.1||8°||489.8||2 091||325.8|
|17 Mar 09:00||25°24.36 N||039°15.53 W||28.4||8°||479.9||2 114||305.7|
|17 Mar 08:00||24°55.33 N||039°22.06 W||30.1||13°||470.5||2 140||282.2|
|17 Mar 07:00||24°25.84 N||039°27.26 W||28.6||9°||464.1||2 165||258.5|
Yesterday at midday, Groupama 3 made a significant gybe towards Europe and has since between massively adding to her advantage over Jules Verne Trophy record holder, Orange 2. At the latest sched she is now almost 750 miles, or more than a day ahead of her rival with more to come in the southwesterly winds of the next 24-48 hours.
At present the aim of skipper Franck Cammas and his nine crew is to position themselves ahead of a cold front, associated with the depression directly to their north, which should propel them most of the way to the finish line off Ushant. However, the course isn't likely to be direct, and in the early hours of this morning, Groupama was forced to return to the unfavoured northerly gybe.
"Right now, we're going to have to deal with a depression, which we hope we'll be able to play with as far as the finish... " said Cammas yesterday. "It's going to be windy with quite a lot of gybes, in fact we're starting our first manoeuvre right now. The skies have become greyer, so the weather's reminiscent of Brittany, but the temperature is still quite high.
"The manoeuvres are very smooth after forty-five days, but it's still a tricky moment as it's in situations such as these that you can damage material. We're going to have to be careful, especially in 25 knots... We have to stay on the pace now and not take any risks. However we can do it without forcing ourselves to stay in the low: it'll all depend on the sea state. We're confident about the condition of the gear because we've looked after the boat throughout, but we'll be attacking a similar phase to that of the Southern Ocean..."
Fred Le Peutrec added: "We've hooked onto the system, which will continue as far as Brittany: if we don't have any technical issues, we shouldn't have any more fears about the weather. We're now riding the last train of wind which goes all the way to the finish... We must ensure we don't have any mishaps, but there's no reason for us to worry. The seas aren't heavy yet so we can reasonably hang onto some high speeds."
Sylvain Mondon from Météo France gave his take this morning: "Groupama 3 has been sailing in very variable breeze since Wednesday evening. The prevailing southwesterly wind of around 20 knots, is subject to some vast variations according to the progress of the fronts. Ahead of a rather active front, the wind is shifting round to the south, increasing in strength - as it did on Wednesday evening. In the early hours of this morning, the reverse of this situation occurred: a fairly inactive section of the front caught up with Groupama 3, temporarily generating very light west to northwesterly winds. However, the air flow is set to shift back round to the southwest as it freshens, enabling Franck Cammas and his crewto pick up speed again towards Ushant. A number of gybed will be necessary to best exploit these large variations in the wind."
The current forecast is suggesting Groupama 3's finish at the line off Ushant's Le Creac'h lighthouse, between Saturday morning and Saturday evening. It will then take around two to four hours for the giant trimaran to reach the Port du Château marina in Brest.