Photo: Yann Riou/Groupama/Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Ocean Race: Groupama due in this morning

Leg five still not over...

Tuesday April 10th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

While the two leaders had their dramatic finish into Itajai on Friday, so Franck Cammas' Groupama is due into the Volvo Ocean Race's Brazilian stopover this morning having sailed the 650 miles up the coast from Punta del Este under jury rig. Having left Punta at 2130 UTC on Friday, so at 0655 UTC this morning she had just 29 miles to cover.

"We expected things to slow dramatically overnight," the French team's MCM reported yesterday. "So there's an element of mystery regarding our time of arrival. We promise that it's not our intention to make life complicated for those waiting for us onshore; quite honestly we just simply don't know... If we could choose, we wouldn't want it to drag out for too long... That said, it has to be admitted that this section of the race between Punta Del Este and Itajai has panned out rather well, especially thanks to a favourable weather forecast. We can't say that it's been a thrill a minute, but it could have been a lot more tiresome."

Groupama's mast broke just above the first set of spreaders, however the crew were able to hang on to the broken section. So in Punta del Este they removed the remaining stub and fitted the longer top section of the mast.

Thomas Coville explained: "We've used the larger section of mast, so as we can benefit from a greater sail area. It wasn't easy to do, but we've managed it. It's even equipped with one spreader. It has a certain elegance about it. The mainsail is in place, rolled down to the third reef, without the boom. There are three stays in front, so we can choose different sail configurations according to the strength and direction of the wind over the end of the course."

The team are 'racing' once again, which means that on their arrival they should be able to pick up 20 points (not a bad score for a boat under jury rig...) and this will put them into second place 20 points behind Telefonica and 14 ahead of leg five winner, Puma.

At present Groupama's spare rig is being flown in from Rotterdam where it will be stepped prior to the Pro-Am Race on 20 April, followed the next day by the Itajai In Port and then the start of leg six to Miami on 22 April.

Meanwhile back in the Pacific... After making repairs to the damaged bow section of their boat, Camper departed Puerto Montt, Chile on Saturday morning to return to the point 160 miles away at 43°52S 74°52W where they had suspended racing. This they reached at 0441 UTC on Sunday. At the 0655 UTC sched this morning they had 257 miles to go to reach Cape Horn. See Hamish Hooper's report this morning below.

Finally after retiring from leg five, Abu Dhabi Ocean Race is looking to ship its boat to Itajai, although on Sunday the ship due to transport them has been delayed due to bad weather. “Every day that we have to wait, puts more and more pressure on us to get the repair work carried out in Itajaí before the start of the next leg,” said a frustrated Ian Walker. “We cannot start the work here in Chile, so all we can do is work on any other servicing and work list jobs to save time in Brazil. To move this along, we are also sending two of our shore team to travel on the ship.”

Camper MCM Hamish Hooper reported this morning: By this time tomorrow, all things going well and going to plan we should be around Cape Horn by … I hope…

So far the weather is playing ball nicely with us, but as everyone knows the weather at Cape Horn can be a temperamental beast, so we are doing our best not to upset things. Just trying to tip toe down the Chilean coast and sneak around the horn with no more drama.

The more the weather is our friend on the remaining 2000 odd miles of this leg, the more time we will have in Itajaí to relax and prepare for the next leg.

But honestly the guys are not counting on much time to relax at all - if any.

A sure sign of this is we are all talking about what we want to do in the Miami rather than Itajaí already… NASA, NBA, NFL, Disneyworld… Hooters… Oh… um… we have just heard that the staff are so friendly that it’s a must go for some true American hospitality and culture. And this is a team full of culture vultures.

Where were we, ah yes Cape Horn…

We have been making good progress south today, and putting the boat through its paces a little bit as well. We’ve had some half decent crashes where everyone below shoots a glance forward nervously. But all is good up there so far, and you can tell everyone’s confidence in the boat is returning, if not returned fully, which is a very good thing so soon.

I wonder if the shore crew has woken up yet?

It has been mentioned how nice it would have been if we could have taken one of the big gas heaters they had onboard to cook the repair work to keep us warm. No such luck. Instead the layers continue to be piled on. There has even been some doubling of socks already. Getting in and out of the bunks is becoming more and more of a mission just having to peel all of the layers off then put them on again when you get up.

Speaking of sleeping, everyone seems to have caught up on sleep again now after our Puerto Montt stopover. Funnily enough, most of the guys all had huge trouble sleeping on land. We had big warm, dry comfortable beds, with full and content bellies of food each night, but then to get to sleep became mission impossible for some reason. As soon as we get back on the boat, everyone is sleeping like babies again. Too much time on this boat I reckon!

Some time on the boat is being passed with Mike’s Sudoku book which has been popular. However Mike has imposed a rule that every puzzle must be named in case of failure to complete it either so he can name and shame or so that he doesn’t look like an idiot with a book full of failed puzzles.

Animal swiftly breezed through a few of them then promptly asked Mike if it was a book for beginners or morons.

“Back into the furious fifties again, water temperature is down to eight degrees and my bag is getting very empty as I put every layer of clothing on. It can’t be that often a yacht rounds Cape Horn in mid-April. Touch wood, it looks like we can get around the Horn well ahead of the 935 HPA low that is trundling east. “ Will Oxley

Groupama photos below from Yann Riou/Groupama, Camper pics by Hamish Hooper.





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