Due to round Cape Horn tomorrow, Groupama 3's time will be very close to the one set by Orange II in 2005
After carving out a big arc up to 47°S over previous days, Groupama 3 has begun her descent towards Drake’s Passage on a starboard tack, at what must be considered reasonable speeds given the sea state. She should round Cape Horn in light airs tomorrow, though the next stage of the Atlantic programme is still uncertain.
Around 600 miles from Cape Horn, the approach towards the coast of Chile isn’t scheduled before early tomorrow afternoon, though it’s not yet certain whether or not Franck Cammas will track close to the legendary rock.
“We’re getting a little bit shaken about and by the end of a period on watch we’re really cold. We’re battling against the dampness! As regards navigation, we had a great start to this Pacific Ocean, but since then things haven’t quite gone to plan. We’re a little disappointed to have lost so much time dealing with this low: we thought we’d have a two day lead at the Horn but in reality we’ll be making our rounding at virtually the same time. However, the trimaran is in perfect shape, ready to make her climb up the Atlantic and we’re all set to make up our losses! I recall that on Orange 2, we were in much more favourable conditions with the wind giving us a big kick up the backside to head up the coast of Argentina…In principle that’s not going to be the case for us: the weather’s going to have to give us a bit of help sometime” indicated Lionel Lemonchois.
In 2005 Bruno Peyron had to put in several gybes to round the tip of Chile and, five years on, Groupama 3 has been on (since 05:00 UTC) virtually the same course, and with a lead of over 280 miles – around half a day. However, this advantage will yo-yo once again with the W’ly wind forecast to ease tonight and Franck Cammas forced to put in several gybes to remain at 57°S as far as Cape Horn.
“The wind is set to ease as we approach the coast of Chile and the sea is also likely to become calmer. The routing is changing everyday because the situation is pretty unstable: if you let it run it seems to indicate a trajectory to the NE, towards the Falkland Islands, in headwinds! However that will all become clearer once we’re round Cape Horn. In principle, there’s often a weather transition once you get into the Atlantic: the winds are rarely the same from one side to the other of the Andes,” continued Lionel.
The sailing conditions will differ dramatically once they enter the Atlantic and the crew will be under a lot of pressure to extract themselves from this transition zone which, as yet, is a bit hard to visualise. However, it comes as a great source of satisfaction that, despite Groupama 3 having only a slender lead over the reference time, she is on the point of escaping the Southern Ocean unscathed and in perfect condition for devouring the 7,000 miles left to cover to reach Ushant.
Groupama 3’s log over past week:
Day 25 (25 February): 712 miles (lead 371 miles)
Day 26: 687 miles (lead 430 miles)
Day 27: 797 miles (lead 560 miles)
Day 28: 560 miles (lead 517 miles)
Day 29: 434 miles (lead 268 miles)
Day 30: 575 miles (lead 184 miles)
Day 31: 617 miles (lead 291 miles)
For more, visit www.cammas-groupama.com