The crew are still scheduled for a Saturday finish

The giant trimaran has now racked up a lead of nearly 700 miles over the past few hours. And although there was a slight drop in pace very early this morning, it was simply due to the fact that Groupama 3 was caught up in a post-front lull.

Behind these cloud masses, which are bringing rain and humidity, there is a zone of light breeze which marks the passage of this weather system. This was the case at around 0500 UTC when Franck Cammas ended up stuck in shifty light airs, forcing him to gybe and reposition himself to the North.

Fortunately, this ‘fits and starts’ progress was only fleeting, and Groupama 3 was back in a more consistent SW’ly breeze this morning, which should accompany her as far as the finish – if all goes to plan. The countdown has begun and the Jules Verne Trophy record time could be beaten.

See some of today’s footage:

Meterologist Sylvain Mondon, from Météo France, explained: “Groupama 3 has been sailing in a very variable breeze since Wednesday evening. The prevailing SW’ly wind of around twenty knots, is subject to some vast variations in line with the passages of fronts. At the head of a rather active front, the wind is shifting round to the South, increasing in strength as it did on Wednesday evening. In the early hours of this morning, the reverse occurred: a fairly inactive section of the front caught up with Groupama 3, temporarily generating very light W to NW’ly winds. However, the air flow is set to shift back round to the SW as it freshens, enabling Franck Cammas and his men to pick up speed again towards Ushant. A number of manoeuvres will be necessary to best exploit these large variations in the wind”.

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