Groupama 3: A special day


Less than 250 miles out from Cape Horn this Thursday morning, Franck Cammas and his nine crew are sailing in an increasingly moderate NW’ly breeze on seas which are slowly becoming calmer. Groupama 3 should round Cape Horn this afternoon, at the end of thirty two days at sea…

Info Groupama Team

For Franck Cammas, Steve Ravussin and Bruno Jeanjean, this 4th March will be their first passage around the Hard Cape: they, like the hundreds of other racers since Bernard Moitessier and Robin Knox-Johnston in 1968, will become Cape Horners. Indeed, aboard Groupama 3, seven of the crew have already rounded the tip of South America, in one direction or another, Lionel Lemonchois boasting a total of five Horn’s so far! In total there have been sixteen people to traverse Drake’s Passage, plus ten more this Thursday…     First of the roped partyFranck Cammas is the `first of the roped party’ on the third attempt at this expedition to the South: he is leading the giant trimaran across a rather steep maritime relief, as the seas are still rough and the wind is proving rather uncooperative in helping them reach the end of the world… This cape is also the third boundary marker of this round the world, after Good Hope and Leeuwin before it. Beyond the Horn is an ascent of the Atlantic (7,000 miles) that the team will have to devour in under eighteen days to snatch the Jules Verne Trophy. Bruno Peyron and his crew took a little over eighteen days and sixteen hours to make Ushant in 2005 and given that Groupama 3 has a lead of around just 250 miles (a little less than half a day), weather conditions will have to be a little more favourable… Unfortunately this certainly won’t be the case over the coming hours as the wind is seriously dropping away offshore of Tierra del Fuego!  “Franck Cammas and his men gybed at around 0100 UTC at the most S’ly point of their circumnavigation of the globe, at 58° 27 S. At that stage they were in 33 to 35 knots of W’ly wind, gusting to 40 knots at times… This Thursday morning at 0600 UTC, the W to NW’ly wind has dropped off to 18-22 knots and the breeze will continue to veer round to the NW until midday, easing off along the way. The wind will then switch round to the N and NE offshore of the island of Diego Ramirez and Groupama 3 will be able to sail close-hauled for a few hours before the breeze backs round to the NW. This will be a foretaste of what awaits Franck Cammas and his crew for their first few days in the Southern Atlantic: upwind conditions in a medium breeze…” indicated Sylvain Mondon from Météo France.  Groupama 3 may well end up improving the WSSRC record for the Pacific crossing, held by Orange 2 since 2005 (8d 18h 08′), but if they do it will only be by a matter of minutes… Nevertheless, the giant trimaran should have a slight lead over the Jules Verne Trophy reference time on rounding Cape Horn since Bruno Peyron and his crew took 32d 13h 29′ from Ushant…