The maxi trimaran is making its way through shifty and unfavourable winds

There are still another 4,500 miles to go before the crew of Groupama 3 can get a glimpse of Finistère on the horizon. A sight Franck Cammas hopea to see in 11 days if he is to stand a chance of beating the round the world record. Before that, the ten men will have to escape the shifty and rather unfavourable winds.

“We had some difficulties last night and since then we’ve had to deal with squalls every ten minutes, but we’re now beginning to escape this unstable zone! We’re not yet into the tradewinds, but it’s reminiscent of such conditions, even though we’re not yet reaching great speeds. Everyone is on watch in the rather pleasant conditions in order to build up their strength again. After 39 days at sea, we’re no longer having any problems in adapting to the weather conditions, but we have lost some weight and we’re longing to eat fresh food,” explained Franck Cammas.

The unstable zone of wind isn’t yet astern of Groupama 3 as they must not only leave behind them the stormy low, which has dramatically slowed their progress over the past two days, but also traverse a ridge of high pressure, which will be a tricky transition phase taking them on to the E’ly tradewinds of Saint Helena. For now, the crew is constantly having to adapt with these changeable conditions.

“In the space of a minute we were able to have a wash in a squall! However, we’re trying to avoid being under the influence of a cumulonimbus where there isn’t a lot of wind…We can clearly see that the tradewinds aren’t far off now. We’ve pretty much had it with upwind sailing as the time goes slowly in these kinds of conditions. However, we’re going to have to be patient for another 36 hours before we find ourselves in a steadier and more favourable system. The passage of the equator is set for Sunday morning and in the meantime we’re going to flirt with the light airs. We’re going to have to make as rapid headway as we can to hold onto our chances of beating the Jules Verne Trophy record.”

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Groupama 3’s log over past week:

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)