Groupama 3 and skipper Franck Cammas are off Salvador de Bahia and continuing South in search of a storm

Groupama 3 is off Salvador de Bahia and is continuing its southward descent in search of a stormy depression system forming over Brazil. At an average speed of over 25 knots, Franck Cammas and his crew have a 680 mile lead over the reference time.

The skipper was able to explain the situation through which they have been navigating since crossing the equator in five days fifteen hours:

It’s fine weather with a few cumulus reminiscent of the good conditions, with slightly shifty tradewinds on the beam. We’re having to manoeuvre fairly frequently, switching between the staysail and solent as the wind varies from 14 to 22 knots… We’re being forced to sail right around the outside of the Saint Helena High: we’re going to sail along the Brazilian coast for two days to gain southing in order to hook onto a depression, which is currently forming over the South American continent. This will then quickly push us eastwards…However, it’s important we don’t miss the ride as there aren’t any more after that! The encounter is scheduled for lunchtime on Saturday: after that we’re going to power away…For the time being, the weather sequence is pretty favourable with an anticyclone ahead of us, which the depression will push along. We’re going to have flat seas with downwind conditions!

The giant trimaran is following a course which is parallel to the coast, even putting a little SW’ly into their route in order to drop down to 22° South as quickly as possible, due to the fact that the current priority is not to sail as close to the direct course as possible, but rather to position themselves ahead of the cold front originating in Brazil.

The routes of Goupama and record holder Orange 2 (with four years separation) have been fairly similar since the Doldrums. Added to this the speeds are identical, which has served to maintain the stability of Groupama 3’s lead (680 miles) over the past two days. In view of the forecast weather conditions, Franck Cammas and his nine crew will bend their course in towards the Cape of Good Hope at approximately the same latitude as Bruno Peyron in 2005 (22° South). This big curve towards the Indian Ocean will above all determine at what latitude the long surfs around the Antarctic will begin. From that point there are over 9,000 miles to cover in the Roaring Forties.

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