Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Volvo Ocean Race - Groupama 4 in attacking phase

by Franck Cammas on 6 May 2012
Groupama Sailing Team during leg 6 - 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 on the thirteenth day of racing in leg six, from Itajad, Brazil to Miami. Offshore of the Virgin Islands, the wind has virtually died away as a zone of calms has moved into the area since Saturday morning and the exit isn't easy to locate. However, Groupama 4 has still managed to reduce her deficit in relation to the frontrunners and her positioning further to the South may enable her to slip beneath a patch of light airs... Despite this, Miami is still a very long way off seemingly, as this sixth leg is set to round off in very light airs.

Between Saint Martin and the Virgin Islands, the Anegada Passage is marked by a reef topped by a lighthouse, which goes by the name of Sombrero! It's this football-style dummy move that Groupama 4 is aiming to attempt to get around the barrier of calms by quickly flicking to the South. The trajectory adopted by Franck Cammas and his men is now thirty miles further South than the three leaders, which are on the point of extracting themselves from a zone of calms, which stopped them in their tracks this Saturday morning. The breeze is a long way off stabilising, not solely for this weekend but right the way to the finish in Miami, the ETA is shifting back with every passing hour...

'There was 120 miles of lateral separation on Friday afternoon between Puma and Camper, whilst they were in contact with each other two days ago! And now they're back together again... We're in the North-East corner of the Antilles and now we have to set a direct course towards Miami, but that translates as having the wind right on our tail: as such we've had to link together a series of gybes and the weather models aren't in agreement. Some are proposing the North, another the West, but there's nothing in between. As a result it depends on the navigators and whether they're introverts or extroverts, and whether the skippers are attackers or defenders. It's going to be a bit like a game of Russian roulette because the situation is complicated. It's favourable for a comeback by Groupama 4 and Abu Dhabi, but there are some miles to be squandered! Indeed, the weather is also set to deteriorate with rain, storms and wind shifts all due to form part of the scenery: essentially it's an open door to an organised mess... It's interesting for a navigator like me, though I do prefer it when you can control your own destiny, which doesn't appear to be the case here: it's hard to choose between one option and another,' indicated Jean-Luc Nélias, Groupama 4's navigator.

There is no fast track to Florida then and it will all come down to little moves in the centre or big strikes down the outside along the touchline. In fact the playing field is limited by the archipelago of tropical islands, the Virgin Islands and the Bahamas, with the halfway line level with the Tropic of Cancer: the wind is pushing them along on both sides, but in the middle there is virtually nothing over the coming days. As such there would appear to be two strategies of attack: counterattacking on the left wing with Groupama 4 and Abu Dhabi; hooking around on the right wing with Puma, Camper and Telefonica. For now, it's a even match as the Americans have had to keep an eye on the Spanish dribblers and the attempt to undertake them by the New Zealanders, whilst the French and the Emiratis were taking a detour to strike out to the South.

In this way, the strategy is geared around slow progress towards the goal as the playing field is peppered with wind holes, even though the breeze is tending to establish itself this Saturday afternoon with between five and ten knots of northerly wind. Franck Cammas and his crew are into the attacking phase as they hunt down a 'corner' beside Puerto Rico, where a north-easterly breeze of around a dozen knots is in the process of settling into the zone. In contrast, the three leaders are aiming for the Turks and Caicos Islands, which are certainly closer to the direct route, but are riskier as the wind is tending to die to less than six knots in this area. As such the tacticians are really under pressure because there is no clarity in the situation until they reach the 'penalty area', which is bordered by the island of Eleuthera (North of the Bahamas), one of the last course marks before Florida.

As such, whilst the final result looks set to be decided after extra time, as the fleet aren't likely to make Miami before Thursday morning (or later), things are sure to conclude with a series of shots at the goal to split the five pretenders to victory in this leg. The tactical combinations aren't easy as a barometric swamp is forming over the Tropic of Cancer, with a light to moderate easterly breeze to the South and a very light westerly air flow to the North of this imaginary line. The climb along the Bahamas, which equates to 500 miles, promises to be very random, as nobody knows how these successions of depressionary minima will pan out the further along the track the boats get. This Saturday morning, it was certainly very slow going. Groupama 4 is far from being offside though, with a deficit of just sixty miles or so in relation to the American leader, and her lateral separation leaves her with an opportunity to control her adversaries... For now then, the referee certainly isn't about to blow the whistle for the end of play.

Standings on 5 May at 1300 UTC
1 - Puma 948.0 from the finish
2 - Camper 22.7 miles from the leader
3 - Telefonica 28.4 miles from the leader
4 - Groupama 65.8 miles from the leader
5 - Abu Dhabi 84.4 miles from the Groupama Sailing Team website
Bakewell-White Yacht DesignSchaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Wildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

Volvo Ocean Race- Official Video of latest edtion
The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 started in Alicante, Spain in October 2011 and concluded in Galway, Ireland during July The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 started in Alicante, Spain in October 2011 and concluded in Galway, Ireland during early July 2012. This documentary tracks the fleet during their amazing around the world journey. Catch all the drama and action as the teams sail a 39,000 nautical miles through the world's most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, around Cape Horn to Itajaí, M
Posted on 21 Aug 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- All-Women crew announced for the 2014-15 edition
The Volvo Ocean Race will feature an all-female team for the first time since 2001-02 after global hygiene and forest co The Volvo Ocean Race will feature an all-female team for the first time since 2001-02 after global hygiene and forest company SCA announced they would enter a women’s crew for the next edition in 2014-15. 'The lack of women in the last few editions of the race has meant we haven't been representing half the population of the human race' - Knut Frostad, Volvo Ocean Race, CEO
Posted on 21 Aug 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- And when the race is over.... + Video
Camper, the second placed boat in the Volvo Ocean Race, has returned to her Spanish home. Camper, the second placed boat in the Volvo Ocean Race, has returned to her Spanish home. She will visit the Copa del Rey in Palma de Mallorca. Sponsored by the Mallorcan footwear company Camper, the return of the joint Spanish and New Zealand flagged boat, marks the end of a round the world adventure that started with the yacht’s baptism at the RCNP in September 2011 and the race start from A
Posted on 18 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- Calling up the Reinforcements
They say one man's misfortune is another man's opportunity, and that certainly was the case for reserve sailors They say one man's misfortune is another man's opportunity, and that certainly was the case for reserve sailors in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, who were given the chance to prove they could step up to challenges as big as the Southern Ocean, often with barely any notice. Be it an email with a subject line 'get your boots ready' or a hurried face-to-face with the skipper just minutes before the st
Posted on 18 Jul 2012
The most successful Volvo Ocean Race yet
The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 was not only the closest race in the 39-year history of the event but also the most success The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 was not only the closest race in the 39-year history of the event but also the most successful, CEO Knut Frostad said on Thursday, with hundreds of thousands of fans visiting Galway in Ireland for a buoyant finale and outstanding growth across media platforms set to be confirmed once final data is in.
Posted on 16 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- Sanderson wants to go again
Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson will be back racing as early as this weekend but the big date circled in his diary is in la Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson will be back racing as early as this weekend but the big date circled in his diary is in late 2014 when he expects to return for another campaign in the Volvo Ocean Race. Sanderson skippered ABN AMRO ONE to victory in 2005-06 and while his race this time with Sanya was not the same glittering success he is determined it will not be his final appearance in the Volvo
Posted on 16 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- Reluctant hero Marsh takes seamanship honour
'It's been an amazing adventure, a fantastic tour, and a great race' - Brad Marsh The title ‘hero’ does not rest easy on the shoulders of Groupama bowman Brad Marsh, but most agree that it is the best way to describe the Kiwi who repaired a sinking yacht, saved a broken rig and scaled a 31-metre mast in a storm front.
Posted on 16 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race - Perfection never enough for Franck Cammas
Volvo Ocean Race skipper Franck Cammas, at the age of just 39, is already assured of his place in sailing history Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 skipper Franck Cammas, at the age of just 39, is already assured of his place in sailing history thanks to Groupama's debut victory in the Volvo Ocean Race. Here we profile the charismatic French sailor for whom perfection is never good enough.
Posted on 10 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- Selected Awards announced at Formal Prizegiving
Camper's Hamish Hooper saw nine months of hard work pay off as he was crowned Media Crew Member of the Volvo Ocean Race The selected award category winners were announced at the final formal Volvo Ocean Race prizegiving in Galway Ireland. We present a gallery of images and video of the category winners and their feats including the Media Crew member Award, the Rookie Award, the Seamanship Award, the Shore Crew Award as well as the Designer Award and Speed Trophy presentation.
Posted on 9 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- Formal Prizegiving - Racing Award winners
The racing award winners and crews were announced at the formal prizegiving for the Volvo Ocean Race, at Galway, Ireland The racing award winners were recognised at the formal prizegiving for the Volvo Ocean Race, at Galway, Ireland after the conclusion of the InPort race on Saturday. All six crews were presented with overall awards or place momentos. The InPort Trophy was awarded as well, the speed record trophy was also awarded.
Posted on 8 Jul 2012