Over a day's deficit muct be made up if Groupama 3 are to beat the 2005 Jules Verne Trophy record

For Groupama 3 the final marker (before the finish off the Créac’h lighthouse), the equator, was traversed yesterday (Sunday 14 March) at 11h 04′ 53” UTC, after 41 days 21 hours 09 minutes at sea. This equates to a deficit of 1d 02h 04′ in relation to the reference time. Such a separation might seem sizeable, but it could be quickly reduced in the tradewinds of the northern hemisphere.

The last mission for Franck Cammas and his nine crew is to set a minimum time of 8 days and 19 hours across the North Atlantic, which amounts to an average speed of 15.9 knots along the optimum course. Such a speed is within the grasp of the giant trimaran, which is likely to enjoy some favourable weather conditions for this final phase.

“Last night was laborious with some squalls developing incredibly quickly and following what was already a light tradewind. We endured some long spells with just 7 to 8 knots of breeze, which was lighter than forecast by the weather models. At night, without a moon to accompany us, we fire up the radar, which enables us to see any rain squalls that may kill the wind. We did suffer a little bit as we couldn’t really do what we wanted in relation to our weather forecast,” explained Franck Cammas.

Reasonably worried by this transition of hemispheres, the skipper should soon find something to smile about as the zone of high pressure, which had stabilised over France, is curling up on itself as it shifts across towards the Mediterranean. As such Groupama 3’s course towards Ushant could be with little interruption: “It’s true that the forecasts are rather encouraging for the end of our trip. However, it’s also true that there is sometimes a discrepancy between the forecasts and the reality. The past few hours have been proof of that’ continued Franck, who was preparing for a tricky night ahead: ‘I’d have preferred to traverse the Doldrums by day rather than night as it would have been less active. However, fortunately Groupama 3 is at ease in the light airs.”

Groupama 3’s log over last 10 days:

Day 33 (5 March): 445 miles (lead 150 miles)
Day 34: 461 miles (lead 58 miles)
Day 35: 382 miles (deficit 100 miles)
Day 36: 317 miles (deficit 326 miles)
Day 37: 506 miles (deficit 331 miles)
Day 38: 321 miles (deficit 384 miles)
Day 39: 255 miles (deficit 309 miles)
Day 40: 288 miles (deficit 473 miles)
Day 41: 503 miles (deficit 483 miles)
Day 42: 445 miles (deficit 403 miles)

Jules Verne Trophy record: Orange 2 (2005): 50d 16h 20′

For more, visit www.cammas-groupama.com