Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad/Oracle Supplier

Volvo Ocean Race - Groupama 4 increase lead

by Franck Cammas on 7 Mar 2012
Day 16 - Groupama Sailing Team during leg 4 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 hold a 134 mile lead on the sixteenth day of racing in the second stage of leg four from Sanya to Auckland at the 1600 UTC report. Though Groupama 4 has been able to extend her lead over the past 24 hours, part of the weather situation between New Caledonia and New Zealand is coloured by doubt. Indeed the light airs offshore of Auckland could cause the fleet to bunch up again. The ETA is reckoned to be between noon on Friday and Saturday night UTC.


The larder will be empty when Franck Cammas and his men cross the finish line in Auckland. This fourth leg has been longer than scheduled, and the person in charge of the canteen had reckoned on eighteen days at sea! As such, from Friday morning, the crew will have to nibble on the leftovers, whilst the light airs around New Zealand could stretch out the race time even further. In terms of hierarchy there is less uncertainty now: the two trios have converged level with New Caledonia and are now making headway in virtually the same sailing conditions, in an easterly wind of between 15 and 20 knots.

Ultimately Groupama 4 opted to sail far beyond her country's overseas territories, passing 150 miles to the West of Nouméa, so as not to be affected by its high altitude. At the same time, the different courses have fallen back into line somewhat behind them and the lateral separation between the three 'westerners' (Telefonica, Camper and Sanya) has shrunk from 250 to around a hundred miles. Now the formation of a low to the North of New Zealand, which isn't very pronounced, is leaving no strategic options for the final 1,000 miles to the finish. As a result, the whole fleet will have to avoid the calms which will reign across the direct route from Wednesday and the navigators have no other choice than to head due South for 500 miles, before they stand a chance of being able to make for the northern tip of New Zealand.

According to the grib files, for the next 24 hours the French leader will further increase her lead over the Americans and Spanish, who are virtually on the same latitude (with Puma 80 miles further East). It's a favourable position in this beam wind, but it's causing some concern aboard the American boat. Indeed the two boats are practically identical and have the same potential. As such the end of the leg is very important for both these teams, who could still threaten Groupama 4 on this descent along the coast of New Zealand where light airs will prevail. It's even possible that the crews will have to beat into the thermal breezes…

In this way, from Wednesday evening, the fleet are likely to adopt a course due South, with a slight tendency to sail close to the wind in order to make headway to the East. However, this eastward move will have to be done in moderation so as the teams don't come up against a light breeze generated by the centre of the low. However, at some time or another, it will be necessary to dip down to the northern tip of New Zealand and sail close-hauled in around ten knots of South-East to easterly wind. Though Franck Cammas and his men are in a strong position at this stage of the leg, Thursday looks set to be decisive for the standing in Auckland. Groupama 4 has some good cards up her sleeve, but the wind may yet deal the aces out again.

Ultimately the major loser in this fourth offshore leg is Abu Dhabi, despite the fact that the team perfectly handled the exit from the China Sea and their entry into the Pacific. However, the lack of Doldrums didn't penalise those favouring an insular route at the Solomon Islands and Ian Walker and his crew haven't been able to hook onto the easterly tradewinds to the North of New Caledonia like their predecessors. As such they're going to really have their work cut out to catch up with the leading group, whilst Camper still has a chance of overtaking the Spaniards on this final stretch, which they are particularly familiar with…

Standings at 1600 UTC
1. Groupama 4 some 990.1 miles from the finish
2. Puma 134.7 miles astern of the leader
3. Telefonica 162.9 miles astern of the leader
4. Camper 216.8 miles astern of the leader
5. Abu Dhabi 258.6 miles astern of the leader
6. Sanya 396.3 miles astern of the leader

Groupama Sailing Team website

Related Articles

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
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best EyewearSailutions - SeldenDeckBakewell-White Yacht Design