Sailing conditions have become colder and tougher over the past few hours as a low pressure catches up with the trimaran

The current aim for the giant trimaran is to try to stay at the front of a low system until it rounds Cape Horn. To pull this off she will have to maintain a high speed to benefit from what is expected to be a NW’ly breeze as far as the Falkland Islands.

Still faster than Orange 2, the French boat is having to cover more ground to reach Cape Horn and hence her lead continues to yo-yo. When Groupama 3 switches onto a NE’ly course, she distances herself from the direct route, and when she gybes (as she did on Sunday evening) she makes gains. The upshot of this is that her lead over the reference time changes according to the manoeuvres, with dramatic fluctuations from one hour to the next. Ultimately though, Franck Cammas and his men still have a lead of nearly a day over Bruno Peyron.

“Right now we’re pretty much on a SE’ly course, but we’re going to gybe again at lunchtime tomorrow, and then again to get onto a direct course towards the Horn…We’ve had some choppy seas over the past few hours, but they’re gradually becoming more regular now’ explained Loïc Le Mignon at the radio link-up with Groupama’s Race HQ.

“As a member of both the technical crew and sailing team, I believe the trajectory is being well managed: we can make very fast headway without having big seas. We’re not cutting the corner but it’s still very agreeable. Right now it’s rather cold: the gloves are out and we’re keen to round Cape Horn to dry things out.”

“There is still some ice to watch out for too as the water temperature has dipped below 6°C. The ice isn’t far off, but the satellite images confirm that the actual icebergs are further South…The crew is nevertheless remaining very attentive both on the radar and on watch on deck. Not surprisingly fatigue is beginning to set in onboard.”

A low pressure system is tailing Groupama 3, which must maintain a high pace to stay ahead and benefit from the resulting downwind breeze. As such, Franck Cammas and his crew are going to be plagued by this depression until they make good their escape from the Southern Ocean.

“This pattern is rather reminiscent of when we rounded Cape Leeuwin – we have to stay ahead of a depression until the Horn, or beyond! However, this disturbed system is faster than us…We reckon on three days to reach the cape,” continued Loïc.

Groupama 3’s log over past week:

Day 22 (22 February): 607 miles (deficit 137 miles)
Day 23: 702 miles (lead 60 miles)
Day 24: 638 miles (lead 208 miles)
Day 25: 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)

For more, visit