Groupama 3 gears up for record season with superfast start


A sight of impressive raw power as the 104ft maxi trimaran Groupama 3 heads out from Marseille to Carthage to try to break the Mediterranean crossing record.

For skipper Franck Cammas and his crew this is the first big outing after the trimaran was rebuilt and strengthened at Multiplast last year following the break up of the boat off New Zealand during her outright round the world record attempt.

The Mediterranean record, like the Discovery Route record from Cadiz to San Salvador in the Bahamas, is a recently concocted and unimportant feeder in my book, unconvincingly adding flesh to the bare few that actually matter. But they are set-ups for what ought to be bumper summer for New York-Lizard scorchers.

The revamped Groupama 3 is a fair bet to shave time off her own crewed record of 4 days, 3 hours, though that would mean setting a 3,000-mile average of more than 30 knots.

In another corner, Thomas Coville will be back on the 105ft trimaran Sodeb’O, a similar size but less powerful as she was designed for the solo round the world record.

I spoke to Coville yesterday and he was quietly confident that he, too, could smash his own record last year of 5 days 19 hours. “It’s quite tough now but I think I can improve the time with a better weather window at the end. With idea conditions, I could expect to be 12 hours faster,” he says.

Photo by Guilain Grenier/Sea&Co