With a lead of nearly half a day over the reference time, Franck Cammas is aiming for a suitable point to rapidly traverse the Doldrums

The rounding of the low off the Canaries has gone well for Groupama 3, and it’s now Cape Verde’s turn to be the primary focus. When you have to make your way down the Northern Atlantic as quickly as possible, it is necessary not only to follow the optimum trajectory in terms of miles covered, but also to take into account the obstacles. Avoiding the islands is always a safe option, as the effect of land is considerable when there are volcanoes culminating at over 2,000 metres! Read previous story here.
“We’ve just hoisted the large gennaker as there’s only thirteen knots of wind right now: all’s going well and the boat is as good as new! We’re sailing along the edge of a zone of high pressure and there are no waves at all: we’re slipping along effortlessly…We’re pretty happy with the way things are going because on Saturday morning it really didn’t look like we were going to be able to set off on the Jules Verne Trophy at all. There are no more decent weather windows in which to set off over the coming days and we’re already ahead of the reference time…” indicated Steve Ravussin at the radio link-up with Groupama’s Race HQ in Paris at 1130 UTC yesterday (3 February).
“This afternoon, we have some very good conditions: we’ve already been able to strip off several layers of fleece! The weather’s good; not too hot, smooth seas and clear skies. At this pace we’re likely to be in the Southern hemisphere in a little over six days, which would be the second fastest time ever along this section of the course… And the Southern Atlantic seems to be improving day by day: it’s quite pleasant after all the problems we’ve endured over previous attempts.”
“We’re going to trace a long straight line towards the equator from this evening. If everything goes to plan, the wind should ease a little this afternoon, but the tradewinds will then increase to 17-20 knots before nightfall. We’re going to be able to hold onto a good average speed on this last downwind section before entering the Doldrums… Oh! We’ve just hit a sunfish! It’s nothing too serious though…” concluded Steve.
Groupama 3’s log (departure 31 January 13h 55′ 53” UTC)

Day 1 (1 February 14:00 UTC): 500 miles (deficit = 94 miles)
Day 2 (2 February 14:00 UTC): 560 miles (lead = 3.5 miles)
Day 3 (3 February 14:00 UTC): 535 miles (lead = 170 miles)

For more, visit www.cammas-groupama.com