Groupama 3 is devouring the miles at an average of over thirty knots and was set to pass Stewart Island last night before going on to pass the antemeridian Sunday: it'll be same day twice since the crew will in this way pass into the western longitude and 'catch-up' with the same day, something Phileas Fogg and his manservant Passepartout forgot about during the Round the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne.
For the time being, the weather conditions for the next three days look very favourable without a single manoeuvre necessary aboard and above all, without the need to scan the horizon for drifting ice since the giant trimaran will remain at 50° South. No descent towards the SE is scheduled in this thirty knot SW'ly breeze, which may well fill in from tomorrow. The objective now is to reach Cape Horn in less than eight and a half days.
Tasmania is already in Groupama 3's wake and the midway point in this round the world record attempt was therefore crossed this Saturday morning at around 04:43 UT, that is after 23 days at sea! And though the Indian Ocean has now given way to the Pacific, it is also an opportunity for Franck Cammas and his men to rediscover some high speeds for at least the next three days!
There were two small moves to reposition themselves this morning as Groupama 3 drew a veil over the Indian Ocean after 22 days 20 hours 52 minutes and 57 seconds of sailing since leaving Ushant, that is a lead of 22 hours and 29 minutes over the reference time. Bruno Peyron and his men have nevertheless held onto the record for crossing the Indian, between Cape Agulhas and the South of Tasmania, albeit by just an hour! The next stage in the programme looks set to be rather favourable for the giant trimaran however, which is likely, as it did today, rack up several days of over 700 miles...
'We've just gybed and we had a small diesel leak! We've been making gybes to remain in the pressure of the wind from the zone of high pressure and we have much better conditions at the moment, even though the seas are slightly abeam of us. We can choose where we want to be... I hope we'll have some good waves in the Pacific: that's what is beautiful about all this and that's why we've come this far!' enthused Steve Ravussin at today's radio session.
'We're going to skirt Stewart Island as we are to the North of a low where there's a fair amount of wind, but we don't yet know if we'll see it... We covered a lot more miles than Orange II in the Indian Ocean, so if we make the same distance as them, we should get a good time in the Pacific.. Things are shaping up nicely as we're going to be able to slip along and the boat really is in good condition: we have no problems with potential! As regards icebergs, we're not going to see any over the next few days, or the next 2,000 miles at least, as we're unlikely to drop very far South' detailed Steve Ravussin.
Interview with Stève Ravussin, watch leaders and helmsman on Groupama 3:
'We've can't see the waves at night in the same way as we see them in the day and it's a bit more complicated, especially when there's a messy swell like the one we've had of late. We've gone from -5° C this morning to 8°C now and with a bright sun it's immediately hotter down below... We're happy to have passed the midway mark since we are now on our way home! The analysis? The descent of the Atlantic was really cool but the Indian was hard. Now, it's the Pacific and that's set to be more pleasant. Groupama 3 isn't suffering. She's very well prepared and the crew is happy.'
Day 23 at 0800' UT
*Distance covered on the water in 24 hours: 680.7 miles
*Distance covered since the start: 12,291 miles
*Distance to the finish: 12,239 miles
*Average on day 23: 28.36 knots
*Average since the start: 22.27 knots
*Lead in relation to Orange II: 444.5 miles
Find a detailed cartography at: http://cammas-groupama.geovoile.com/julesverne/index.asp?lg=en