Jules Verne Trophy - Groupama 3 in the thick of it and behind record

Aboard Groupama 3 © Team Groupama - Jules Verne Trophy

Jules Verne Trophy - Groupama 3 record attempt.

The weather situation is changing at the entrance to the Indian Ocean: Groupama 3 is right in the thick of it now and will have to compromise with a strong N'ly wind blowing down off Africa. Conditions are harsh but this shouldn't continue for long and the trajectory towards Tasmania is likely to be very straight and fast.

The time for the albatrosses has arrived and the ride across the Indian Ocean will warrant a switching of gears this Monday afternoon with over forty knots of wind picking up a more aggressive sea. Indeed Groupama 3 rounded Cape Agulhas at 05h 43' 47' (UTC) today, 14d 15h 47' 54' after leaving Ushant. As such the giant trimaran had a seven and a half hour deficit on the reference time on rounding this first cape of the Jules Verne Trophy. The African promontory is also the kick-off point for another of the records approved by the WSSRC: the Indian Ocean crossing, from Cape Agulhas to the South of Tasmania; a record held by Bruno Peyron and his crew with a time of 9d 11h 04'...

'On Sunday there were a pile of birds around... Then this morning a huge albatross followed us from daybreak. At noon today we're in a transition zone between the front which was following us and the N'ly air flow, which is due to hit us with 40 knots late this afternoon. We even had a moment of sunshine and it's not too cold: we've had time to have a little break! I haven't even put my boots on yet...' indicated Steve Ravussin at the 1130 UTC radio link-up.

Groupama 3 had to reposition herself slightly to the South just before crossing the longitude of Cape Agulhas, in order to avoid a zone of confluence where the breeze was light. However this zigzag hasn't proved disadvantageous, quite the contrary in fact, as Franck Cammas and his nine crew are just 200 miles behind Orange 2. In addition, the reigning Jules Verne Trophy holder didn't enjoy great conditions in her crossing of the Indian Ocean so, if all goes to plan, the giant trimaran should have made up her deficit a good way before the Kerguelen Islands. By sailing along the southern edge of a zone of high pressure, the boat shouldn't suffer too much as the seas won't have had time to build.

'We're going to be beam on in this harsh wind and we've prepared the heavy airs jib and intend to put in reefs. This gale will last for around twenty hours. It's not going to be very pleasant, but we're lucky that we'll be sailing in following seas. It's set to be a bit different than it was two years ago! We've performed a general check-up and all's well. We'll be ready to tackle these conditions before nightfall... We're trying to sail without putting too much strain on the foils, especially the starboard one, which has been working hard since the start. As such we're rarely exceeding 37 knots, but we do at times make 42 knots as we did yesterday.'

Groupama 3's log (departure on 31st January at 13h 55' 53' UTC)
Day 1 (1st February 1400 UTC): 500 miles (deficit = 94 miles)
Day 2 (2nd February 1400 UTC): 560 miles (lead = 3.5 miles)
Day 3 (3rd February 1400 UTC): 535 miles (lead = 170 miles)
Day 4 (4th February 1400 UTC): 565 miles (lead = 245 miles)
Day 5 (5th February 1400 UTC): 656 miles (lead = 562 miles)
Day 6 (6th February 1400 UTC): 456 miles (lead = 620 miles)
Day 7 (7th February 1400 UTC): 430 miles (lead = 539 miles)
Day 8 (8th February 1400 UTC): 305 miles (lead = 456 miles)
Day 9 (9th February 1400 UTC): 436 miles (lead = 393 miles)
Day 10 (10th February 1400 UTC): 355 miles (lead = 272 miles)
Day 11 (11th February 1400 UTC): 267 miles (deficit = 30 miles)
Day 12 (12th February 1400 UTC): 247 miles (deficit = 385 miles)
Day 13 (13th February 1400 UTC): 719 miles (deficit = 347 miles)
Day 14 (14th February 1400 UTC): 680 miles (deficit = 288 miles)
Day 15 (15th February 1400 UTC): 651 miles (deficit = 203 miles)

Groupama 3 makes Cape Agulhas
-Monday 15th February at 05h 43' 47' (UTC) after 14d 15h 47' 54'
-Jules Verne Trophy reference time: 14d 08h 18' (Orange 2 en 2005)
- Deficit on the reference time: 7hrs 30'

WSSRC record for traversing the Indian Ocean (from Cape Agulhas to Southern Tasmania)
- Orange 2 (2005): 9d 11h 04'

Reference time from Cape Agulhas to Cape Leeuwin
-Orange 2 (2005): 7d 05h 35'

The crew and organisation aboard Groupama 3
• Watch No.1: Franck Cammas / Loïc Le Mignon / Jacques Caraës
• Watch No.2: Stève Ravussin / Thomas Coville / Bruno Jeanjean
• Watch No.3: Fred Le Peutrec / Lionel Lemonchois / Ronan Le Goff
• Off watch navigator: Stan Honey goes up on deck for manoeuvres
• One watch system on deck, one watch on stand-by ready to help manoeuvre, one watch totally resting

The record to beat
Currently held by Bruno Peyron on Orange 2 since 2005 with a time of 50 days 16 hours 20 minutes at an average of 17.89 knots. Lionel Lemonchois, Ronan Le Goff and Jacques Caraës were aboard at the time.