Groupama finally home
After being nailed by a tenacious area of high pressure lying for the last few days between them and the finish line, so Franck Cammas and the crew of Groupama 4 finally arrived in Cape Town to complete leg one at 17:28:31 UTC this evening. Their elapsed time for the Volvo Ocean Race's nominally 6,500 mile long opening leg was 24 days, four hours, 28 minutes and 31 seconds.
Their third place scores the Groupama Sailing 20 points for the leg, to add to their two points for coming fifth in the Iberdrola In-Port Race in Alicante on 29 October, the team now lie in third place overall.
“Third is not that bad, some others are in a much worse position," said Cammas. "But we are disappointed, because especially at the end of the leg, we didn’t get to come back on the others.
"We are pleased to get to Cape Town and to leave with some learnings and confidence in the boat, and all the experience we have built up - it is a lot more important than any amount of training you can do over two years."
Groupama 4 briefly took the lead on day three, but it was day four that decisions were made from which there was, almost, no going back. Having passed Gibraltar and out into the Atlantic the French team decided to keep inshore and follow the African coast. This saw them take the lead but they struggled to get past the Cape Verdes as, sailing in better wind, the three boats to the east overtook them.
“It was not our choice to go alone,” Cammas said in a radio interview on day six. “I have nervous moments for sure, but I don’t share them. I just share my hopes. We’ve done everything we wanted to do up to now,” he said. In last place, Groupama never recovered.
The next opportunity for all six to score points will be in the second in-port race in Cape Town on Saturday, 10 December at 1300 UTC. The second leg to Abu Dhabi begins the following day at the same time.
Provisional Leaderboard Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
1. Team Telefónica: 31 points
2. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand: 29 points
3. Groupama sailing team: 22 points
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing: 6 points
5. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG: 5 points
6. Team Sanya: 3 points
Photos from Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
Photos from Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race