Please select your home edition
Edition
The Water Shed - Ronstan

Volvo Ocean Race – Groupama 4 bound for roaring forties

by Franck Cammas on 20 Mar 2012
Seaspray on deck during the stacking after the sail change onboard Groupama Sailing Team during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team © /Volvo Ocean Race http://www.cammas-groupama.com/
Volvo Ocean Race team Groupama 4 are in third place, 28.5 miles astern of the leader, on the fifth leg of racing from Auckland (New Zealand) to Itajai (Brazil) at the 1300 UTC report today.

The first night of this leg to Cape Horn proved to be particularly violent with gusts of over 50 knots and waves in excess of seven metres! Franck Cammas and his men got through the worst of the tropical depression without too much trouble and Groupama 4 is now on a reach bound for the roaring forties.

The racers cannot recall having had such a trying first night at sea on the round the world race! Barely clear of the last islands that make up New Zealand and the fleet were already in the thick of it, with a tropical depression having settled into position in the North, generating an easterly breeze of over thirty knots with sudden gusts beneath the squalls. It was enough to cause a fair amount of damage, the most spectacular of which affected Abu Dhabi five hours after kick-off, just offshore of Port Jackson. The forward bulkhead, which is supposed to withstand the stresses caused by the storm jib, came away and Ian Walker quickly opted to return to Auckland to effect repairs. The Emirati yacht then rejoined the race at 0700 UTC this morning after a 30-hour pit stop and a deficit of nearly 600 miles…


As for Groupama 4, the swivel which takes the tension off the storm jib (J-4) yielded in the middle of the night, forcing Franck Cammas and his men to turn back on themselves for a few miles in order to control and dump the sail… As they awaited a calm spell to effect repairs, the crew had to perform a series of manœuvres so as not to lose ground on their four luckless rivals. Fortunately, at around 1700 UTC on Sunday, the wind began to shift round to the North-East and everyone was able to change tack to dive down towards the Roaring Forties, in seas which were gradually becoming calmer.

The Spanish, who were the only ones to have repositioned themselves to the South, were then able to take control of the fleet, which was really put to the test throughout the night with gusts in excess of 50 knots… However, the transition wasn't very smooth as it took a further six hours of close-hauled sailing before the sheets could finally be eased. Gradually distancing themselves from the influence of the tropical depression, Groupama 4 was able to accelerate and move up the leaderboard from fifth to third place this Monday afternoon (European time), less than 30 miles stray of Telefonica.

For now there are no major strategic options up for grabs, the primary objective being to quickly reach the roaring forties, where the austral depressions roll along. Before committing to this corridor of wind almost all the way to Cape Horn, the VO-70s will have to traverse a zone of sluggish breeze on Tuesday lunchtime (European time). Indeed, two zones of high pressure have moved into the zone, one some 1,000 miles East of Auckland, the other to the South of New Zealand, and between the two, a ridge of high pressure is barring the way. As a result it will be necessary to traverse this meteorological trap before they can hook onto the train of weather disturbances rolling across the southern hemisphere.

As such we can expect to see a reduction in the extremely steady (and wet) pace of late, right across the fleet, with a bunching of the fleet over the next 24 hours. There could even be some upwind sailing to perform in less than ten knots of breeze… It's a sizeable challenge as the first crew to extract itself from this patch of light airs will hook onto the westerly breeze, which could propel them as far as Cape Horn! As a result Franck Cammas and his men have no respite in sight, despite the first particularly testing 36 hours. Of note is the fact that Race Management is considering moving up the virtual marks that define the Furious Fifties by one or two degrees, so as to ensure the fleet bypasses the South Pacific ice zone.

Standings on 19 March 2012 at 1300 UTC
1. Telefonica 5,996.7 miles from the finish
2. Camper 14.1 miles astern of the leader
3. Groupama 28.5 miles astern of the leader
4. Puma 31.9 miles astern of the leader
5. Sanya 54.6 miles astern of the leader
6. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 654.4 miles astern of the leader

Groupama Sailing Team website

Related Articles

Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
Kosinska to hit out against the Hyeres heavy metal in 2016 Olympic bid
Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at Hyeres later this week. 2016 Olympic aspirant, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) will face a star-studded field in the Womens RS:X event at the third round of the Sailing World Cup Hyeres.
Posted on 26 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Rio2016 - Winther hits ball firmly into Olympic selectors' court
2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has made a strong bid for inclusion in the 2016 NZ Olympic Sailing Team finishing 11th in the 2016 Laser Radial World Championships in Mexico. Running a self-funded campaign which took in the Princesca Sofia Regatta in Palma, Spain followed by the World Championship on Banderas Bay, Mexico, Winther placed 11th overall and 10th country.
Posted on 21 Apr
Sailing World Cup Hyeres - Kosinska flies out in RS-X Olympic bid
Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres Women's RS:X Windsurfer sailor, Natalia Kosinska (NZL) flew out of Auckland today for the Sailing World Cup Hyeres, in her final attempt to gain NZ Olympic selection. Kosinska has been training in her own program in New Zealand with the 2015 Women's World Champion, Chen Peina (CHN) in the RS:X Windsurfer, and Zhichao Zhang the Men's #4 at the 2015 Worlds in Oman
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther makes top three in final Qualifying race
2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds 2012 Olympic Representative, Sara Winther continues to improve at the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds and has moved up the leaderboard to be in 12th place at the end of the shortened Qualifying Round. She placed third in the only race sailed today and continues to improve as the regatta progresses, and her confidence builds.
Posted on 18 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther scores three single digit places - Day 3
New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table New Zealand 2012 Olympic representative, Sara Winther has advanced three places up the points table at the 2016 Laser radial Worlds being sailed in Mexico. She now lies in 15th place overall after three days of racing. She achieved single digit scores in the three races sailed today, despite hitting marks in two races and having to perform penalty turns.
Posted on 17 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Kiwis locked in Olympic selection fight - Day 2
The points gap has narrowed between the two elading New Zealand contenders for 2016 Olympic selection The points gap has narrowed between the two lading New Zealand contenders for 2016 Olympic selection in the Womens Singlehanded Laser Radial class.
Posted on 16 Apr
Laser Radial Worlds - Winther off to a handy start in light airs
Sara Winther has got away to a handy start to the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds, being sailed in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. Sara Winther has got away to a handy start to the 2016 Laser Radial Worlds, being sailed in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. She is best placed of the three New Zealand competitors in the regatta, lying in 22nd overall after two races were sailing the Qualifying Round.
Posted on 15 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Zhik HydrobaseLancer 40 yearsHarken and Fosters