Quite an eyeful

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Benefiting from a continuation of the favourable weather conditions, Groupama 3 is still powering across the Indian Ocean at an average of over thirty knots. Surfing in big seas, Franck Cammas and crew are reducing the deficit which separates them from the Jules Verne Trophy holder.

Info Team Groupama

Though the rain has passed and the sun is back, the dress code for the men on watch on the deck of Groupama 3 hasn’t changed: foulies and drysuits are proving essential in the very steady thirty knots or so of NW’ly wind: “Things are going very well. The sun’s been out for a few hours so it’s very pleasant; more so than yesterday in any case” Jacques Caraës comments during the daily link-up with Groupama’s Jules Verne HQ.

“We’re sailing at a very high pace but despite that we’re being careful. The seas are becoming better organised and Groupama 3 is making good speed under reefed mainsail, staysail and gennaker. It’s better than yesterday when the seas were messier. We’re going quite fast, very fast even” continues the bowman and onboard cameraman.

When a men who is on his fifth round the world talks of a high pace and fast, or even very fast speeds, suffice to say that life aboard the maxi trimaran must be difficult…

“When you go up forward to unfurl the gennaker, you hook yourself on. Stability is all relative and, with fatigue added to the mix, you have to remain prudent. It’s fairly exposed. The helmsman is our guardian angel. He has our lives in his hands. The tether is very short on our harnesses so as we don’t go over the side if we’re ejected” adds the sailor who goes by the nickname of Jaco.

Though the men are tired, but still going strong, the equipment breaks sometimes: “Last night the screen which protects the helmsman broke in two on Thomas’ head. We’ve lashed it together with some Spectra line and Lionel (Lemonchois) and Loïc (Le Mignon) have made up some new repair strips from material they found onboard”.

Whilst we’re concerned about Thomas’ health, Jacques Caraës explains: “It’s the screen we lashed back together. Coville’s head is made of solid stuff…”.

Having set off twenty days ago, the crew are gradually losing the references, which usually punctuate their lives: “I can’t really recall if we’ve had lunch or not” replies Jacques Caraës when he’s wished “bon appétit”. “Nor what time it is” he continues.