Franck Cammas and crew were incredibly lucky their boat failed where it did


Rotten luck for Franck Cammas and the guys on Groupama, who were rescued early today when the starboard float tore off and the trimaran capsized?

You might think so, considering they had a 380-mile advantage on the crewed round the world record set by Orange 2.

But look at this map, redrawn by YW’s artist Maggie Nelson, which shows their position at the time of the capsize. That’s a stroke of the most amazing good fortune in my book.

Groupama 3 had gybed north a day earlier ahead of storm force south-westerlies and very large seas of 8m or more and then gybed back in more moderate winds and a lot more protected seas to the east of South Island.

Their track almost looks as if they had been heading for a pitstop at Dunedin – which they hadn’t.

Now, how bloody lucky were they that the float broke off when it did? What a different story it would have been if whatever it was (crossbeams, presumably) that failed had done so even a few days later, when they would have been well beyond aircraft range.

Lucky, too, that it was daylight local time and, being where they were, they could be airlifted only three hours after the capsize.

The added bonus, perhaps, is that the remains of Groupama 3 could even be salvageable.