Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik ZKG

Volvo Ocean Race - Groupama prepares for the in-port race

by Vincent Borde on 21 Apr 2012
Thomas Coville, on stage. Groupama Sailing Team, skippered by Franck Cammas from France, win the award for 3rd place for leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, at the Prize Giving Ceremony in Itajai, Brazil. Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race© http://www.volvooceanrace.com
In the Volvo Ocean Race, the racing off the port of Itajai at 1700 UTC on Saturday is a must for all the crews as it confirms whether or not their boat is fully operational prior to the start of the oceanic race to Miami. For Groupama 4, which is using her new mast, this race must be about scoring a few points against the Spanish leader…

In the end there are just five VO-70s in Brazil, since the Chinese boat had to return to Auckland during the previous leg and is currently on a cargo ship, which is carrying it directly to the United States for the seventh leg. Indeed the race to Cape Horn really took its toll on the fleet.

Solely the American boat made it safe and sound into Brazil without a stopover! As a result Puma is breathing down Camper's neck now, after the latter finished the leg in fourth, after a pit stop in Chile to repair its bow. Meantime, Groupama 4, despite her dismasting two days from the finish in Brazil, managed to salvage a third place in this leg and is still the most dangerous adversary to the Spanish leaders in the overall standing.

Whilst some glorious weather has been reigning over Itajai for several days, the formation of a storm zone further inland will transform the playing field somewhat for Saturday's In-Port race: the breeze is likely to be very fickle, very variable and very unsteady, and the accumulation of cloud may lead to some substantial downpours and perhaps some large cumulonimbus causing some violent flurries.

As a result, it looks like there will be a complicated race on the cards because, within the space of just a few dozen metres, one crew could slip along to victory whilst another is becalmed. This is exactly what happened in Alicante, due to an inexistent thermal breeze to the benefit of Abu Dhabi, and to Sanya, where a zone of light airs caused Puma to stall dramatically, despite being largely out in front…

However, it's an important race because all the teams are keen to put up a good performance to confirm the potential of their boat, after the extensive damage which decimated the fleet. Groupama 4 has already had three days' intensive sailing to check the trim of her new mast, which has been adapted and optimised for the 4,800 miles which make up the sixth leg, but more especially for the10,000 miles or more still left to cover until the event finishes in Galway (Ireland)…

Abu Dhabi is certainly under the most pressure: the Emirati boat arrived on a cargo ship on Thursday morning and the shore team has had just 48 hours to switch both sides of the hull!

Thierry Peponnet's opinion, coach on Groupama 4: 'The race zone in Itajai opens onto the Atlantic with an ENE'ly oriented coast where the thermal breeze plays a major role during the day: on Wednesday there was up to 15-17 knots, whilst the general synoptic wind was just seven knots. On Thursday there was a little less and it had shifted more to the North with 10-12 knots. For Saturday's In-Port we're expecting some stormy developments with a southerly breeze… As such it's fairly difficult to make any precise forecasts, as it's very likely that there will be some calms and some squalls. This is especially true given that the format calls for some set times, which aren't always favourable for marking out a good course. As such, anything could happen!

It would be good if the crew could confirm the result they achieved in Auckland where Groupama 4 finished third: a place in the top two would be very positive as these In-Port races aren't easy. The courses are very short, which makes the start phase essential, since the windward mark comes up quickly and the boats are often blocked by a single competitor and the racing is tightly bunched.

The VO-70s are more geared up for offshore racing and the manœuvres are very long and highly involved. As such you have to limit the tack changes and gybes as much as possible, which reduces the tactical playing field. You have to make things as simple as you can.

The crew is also tired after all these legs and Cape Horn. However, the three days of training in Itajai would suggest that the team is in good shape and has made good progress of late. Groupama 4 has some points to claw back from the Spanish leader and their direct rivals. And then there's the small matter of pride! The sailors are raring to go…'



Standing in the fifth leg Auckland-Itajai

1-Puma (Ken Read) : 19d 18h 09' 50
2-Telefonica (Iker Martinez) : 19d 18h 22' 28
3-Groupama 4 (Franck Cammas) : 23d 12h 58' 44
4-Camper (Chris Nicholson) : 30d 11h 35' 43
Retirement: Abu Dhabi (Ian Walker)
Retirement: Sanya (Mike Sanderson)

Overall standing after five oceanic legs and five In-Port races

1-Telefonica (Iker Martinez) : 1+30+6+29+2+27+6+20+1+25 = 147 points
2-Groupama 4 (Franck Cammas) : 2+20+2+18+5+24+2+30+4+20 = 127 points
3-Camper (Chris Nicholson) : 4+25+5+24+4+18+3+15+6+15 = 119 points
4-Puma (Ken Read) : 5+0+4+19+3+17+5+25+5+30 = 113 points
5-Abu Dhabi (Ian Walker) : 6+0+3+10+6+14+4+10+2+0 = 55 points
6-Sanya (Mike Sanderson) : 3+0+1+5+2+5+1+5+3+0 = 25 points

Groupama website
Volvo Ocean Race website

Related Articles

Will NZ's most successful Olympic Sailing event cop the Selection axe?
New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain New Zealand qualified in all ten of the 2016 Olympic events at the first round of Qualifying in Santander Spain in September 2014. In two of those the RS:X Windsurfing event, New Zealand is unlikely to be represented in the Men's event, and in the Women's event, Natalia Kosinska would appear to be a borderline selection.
Posted today at 2:58 am
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
Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best EyewearLancer Inflatables - BJKilwell - 1