With a lead of 360 miles over the reference time, Franck Cammas is carving out a course in almost ideal conditions

At 52° S and 172° E, Groupama 3 is positioned practically antipodal to the finish point off Ushant. And with a lead of 360 miles over the reference time this Thursday (25 February) lunchtime, Franck Cammas is carving out a course in almost ideal conditions to the South of New Zealand.
The 25 to 30 knot SW to W’ly wind blowing off Campbell Island – 350 miles to the South of New Zealand – has enabled the giant trimaran to make good headway to the SE, which is positive as the further South the boat sails, the shorter the distance she will have to cover to make Cape Horn. Hence, not only has Groupama 3 stretched out her lead over Orange 2 since the Crozet Islands, but she has less distance to cover to get to the third cape.
“The moon has been visible again over the past two nights: there’s a wonderful light which is facilitating control at the helm and any manoeuvres that have to be made. Furthermore, we’ve passed behind a front so we can see some beautiful breaks in the cloud, which are filled with stars. Earlier on we passed within three miles of Auckland Island, which is the first land we’ve seen since setting out from Ushant… It was nice: a very wild island, without human life, with waterfalls running into the sea! It’s the end of the world, lost in the Pacific Ocean…” explained skipper Franck Cammas at the video conference with HQ in Paris.
Still behind a depression circulating at 60° S, Groupama 3 is making headway in a slightly irregular breeze, both in terms of strength and direction. But they are making thirty knots of boat speed. Their excellent VMG (velocity made good) is also scheduled to continue over the next few days.

A front is in the process of catching up with the giant trimaran, which will cause the breeze to shift round to the NW; an extremely favourable rotation for slipping along towards Cape Horn. In fact, current routing will show a rounding of this bare rock at the end of next week; a moment which marks the far edge of the Southern Ocean.
“By Thursday we won’t be far off Cape Horn and it’ll be a real deliverance because we’ll be back in milder, warmer lands again. Right now though, it’s becoming increasingly cold! Yet this type of sailing is also a part of what we came here for… The ‘No Exit’ life we’ve been leading over the past 25 days isn’t a problem: mood changes are always negative, so we restrain ourselves and come to terms with it… we’re getting to know each other well though!”
The next virtual line to mark this round the world is the International Date Line, along the longitude of 180°. It lies around 600 miles to the East of New Zealand and is diametrically opposite the Greenwich meridian.
Groupama 3’s log over past week:

Day 19 (19 February): 726 miles (deficit 234 miles)
Day 20: 751 miles (deficit 211 miles)
Day 21: 584 miles (deficit 124 miles)
Day 22: 607 miles (deficit 137 miles)
Day 23: 702 miles (lead 60 miles)
Day 24: 638 miles (lead 208 miles)
Day 25: 712 miles (lead 371 miles)

For more, visit www.cammas-groupama.com