Friday, March 12, 2010

Groupama 3: At the zenith!

Jules Verne Trophy

At 15°S, Groupama 3 is 900 miles from the switch of hemispheres, but the sun is at its zenith as the crew approach the boreal spring: the Doldrums, it too stretched across the equator, is already in the sights of navigator Stan Honey and the onshore router Sylvain Mondon. As such the trimaran can now set a direct course for this point at 32°W.

The beat finally seems to be at an end! This is certainly the case for the southern hemisphere and probably true of the northern hemisphere... Indeed, there's still a long way to go, the equivalent of that of a Transat Jacques Vabre, which nearly all the crew of Groupama 3 have already competed in over past years. However, in this case, it's from Brazil to Ushant that these 4,250 miles are to be devoured and there are now just ten and a half days in which to do so! In the meantime the pace is gradually picking up and the separation, which has reached 470 miles, is stabilising. All that remains now is to reduce their deficit... This should start to happen this weekend as Orange 2 only made a moderate pace in 2005 on her equatorial passage and took nearly nine and a half days between the switch of hemispheres and her arrival in Brittany.

"The weather's good and we're sailing in glorious sunshine: it's perfect weather for staying outdoors! There isn't a lot of wind, not very big seas and no noise... It was so hot last night that I slept on the trampoline up forward because down below, it was bordering on 40°C. I feel more tired than when we were in the Deep South... We're in the process of entering the tradewinds with around fifteen knots of breeze, where we'll be able to make fast headway. Groupama 3 is particularly fond of these conditions. We even sent Loïc Le Mignon up the mast to do a check-up and a spot of DIY on the wind sensors" indicated Lionel Lemonchois at the 1130 UTC radio link-up with Groupama's Race HQ in Paris. -