Groupama 3 loaded for trip to France

Groupama 3 is loaded aboard the ship Egelantiersgracht at Dunedin’s Victoria Wharf
Martin Balch

The broken remains of the Jules Verne trimaran Groupama 3 were loaded aboard the ship Egelantiersgracht at Dunedin’s Victoria Wharf this morning. The ship leaves to carry the boat back to France for rebuilding at 1400 this afternoon.

The 32 metre trans-oceanic multihull Groupama 3 capsized 80nm off the New Zealand coast, just over half through an attempt to win the Jules Verne Trophy for the fastest circumnavigation of the planet.

The crew were rescued in a text book operation, and three days later the remaining parts were located and towed back to Dunedin where she was righted.

Since then the majority of her crew have returned to France leaving a small group behind to supervise the loading and shipping back to France.

Groupama 3 after being righted in Dunedin, NZ. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery

From the Groupama 3 release:

Clearly the teams working on Groupama aren't hanging about. Three weeks after its capsize off New Zealand on 18th February 2008, Groupama 3 has been loaded onto the Eglantiersgracht, a Dutch cargo ship measuring 140 metres, which is transporting fruit and vegetables to Europe.

Under the expert eye of Jean-Marc Normant and Olivier Mainguy, the crew has craned the maxi-trimaran aboard, along with the pieces of mast and the float. Strapped down firmly to the deck, Groupama 3 will take about five weeks to get to France, where it will be unloaded around its home port of Lorient or in Quiberon bay in Brittany, depending on which yard is chosen for the reassembly.
During this crossing, construction of a new mast will begin at Lorima, along with the construction of a new float at Multiplast in Vannes.

However, conclusions still need to be drawn by the two teams working together to determine the cause of the damage suffered in the Pacific Ocean. These conclusions will enable the structure of the new float to be altered and the relevant modifications to be made to the starboard float, which was spared.

Whilst the shore crew managed by Stéphane Guilbaud prepares for getting Groupama 3 back into shape, Franck Cammas is sailing. Attending the winter training sessions in La Trinité sur Mer aboard an Open 7.50 in the colours of Groupama, Franck is getting ready to defend his title in the infamous Spi Ouest France, which he won in this same series last year.