Please select your home edition
Edition
T Clew Ring New Generic

Volvo Ocean Race – Groupama 4 make up ground

by Franck Cammas on 12 Jun 2012
Groupama 4 surfing reaching - Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team © /Volvo Ocean Race http://www.cammas-groupama.com/
Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 team Groupama 4 are currently on day one of leg eight, from Lisbon, Portugal to Lorient, France.

On Tuesday morning, things are set to become more complicated once the boats close on the centre of a large zone of high pressure, which has settled just to the South of the Azores. Whilst the first 24 hours of this eighth leg have been quick, enabling Groupama 4 to make up ground on the head of the fleet, the pace is set to slow dramatically from around midnight this Monday, as they approach the island of Santa Maria.

The preliminary stage of this course didn't prove favourable for Franck Cammas and his men, but as soon as Groupama 4 made it out into the Atlantic, the potential of the French boat could really be expressed, in a reaching wind of around twenty knots. By slipping beneath the fleet, navigator Jean-Luc Nélias was seeking a better angle with which to outpace the Chinese boat first of all, midway through the afternoon, followed by the New Zealanders midway through the night and the Americans at lunchtime this Monday! As was the case in the previous Atlantic sprint, Franck Cammas and his crew are particularly at ease in these conditions where they can crack off the sheets. They've even succeeded in repositioning themselves to windward of the troop…

With a north-westerly wind blowing as they exited the Tagus River, the navigators opted to lengthen their stride by diving down to the South-West at an average speed of nearly twenty knots, before hooking onto a slow climb up towards the Atlantic archipelago. The breeze is set to ease progressively as it shifts round to the North and shortly before midnight, there will only be about ten knots on the anemometer. As such the crews will turn off to pass to the North of Santa Maria, as the centre of the high pressure is just below this first Azorean isle. It's at this point that the strategy will be key, as the teams will have to try to avoid the zones of calm by closing on the landmass of Sao Miguel in a light westerly headwind.

It's on Wednesday morning that this leg is likely to be settled: the first around this course mark will be able to quickly climb northwards so as to distance themselves from the archipelago and should be able to latch onto a steadier breeze since a depression has formed in the middle of the Atlantic. However, this disturbed system will shift across towards the UK over the coming days and push the whole fleet towards the finish in Lorient! With this in mind, it will be crucial to catch the first train bound for Brittany…


With two and a half miles of lateral separation in relation to the Spanish boat, Groupama 4 is well placed to traverse this key passage. However, Franck Cammas and his men know that Telefonica is especially quick close-hauled in light airs. It's important not to fall off the pace once the breeze eases tonight. For now, there are no significant tactical options: everyone is following roughly the same course and it's at the point where they have to launch into a beat beneath the cliffs of Sao Miguel that their current separation may prove productive.

Things are likely to be somewhat clearer by Tuesday then, even though it would seem that ultimately the weather situation is less complicated than planned as they approach the islands: the centre of the high pressure is shifting very slightly southwards under the pressure of the disturbed air and if everything pans out as it should, there are unlikely to be extensive periods of calm within the archipelago.

As a result, it's during what's shaping up to be a very lively final sprint that the differences will be made: downwind with over thirty knots of breeze and a big swell, the fleet are sure to have an opportunity to exceed 500 miles over 24 hours! However, it's going to be important to keep a check on the accelerator so as not to break anything. Some crews don't have a lot to lose and everything to gain by forcing the tempo, whilst others, like Franck Cammas and his men, know that the slightest technical hitch (ref. the Cape Horn leg) can cost very dearly, not just in terms of the finish in Lorient, but above all in terms of the overall standing. To sum up the situation, this leg is going to be all about striking the right balance!

Positions at 1330 UTC on 11/06/2012
1. Telefonica– 1,583.2 miles from the finish
2. Groupama 4 – 1.1 miles astern of the leader
3. Puma – 3.1 miles astern of the leader
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – 8.6 miles astern of the leader
5. Camper– 12.5 miles astern of the leader
6. Team Sanya – 26.4 miles astern of the leader

Groupama Sailing Team website

Southern Spars - 100Barz Optics - Kids rangeT Clewring AC72

Related Articles

America's Cup - Arbitration Panel Hearing over Kiwi Qualifier for July
ACEA CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. In a yet to be published interview in Sail-World, America’s Cup Events Authority CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. This is the first official indication that the three person Arbitration Panel had even been formed, however Sail-World’s sources indicated that it had been empanelled since last January, possibly earlier.
Posted on 27 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
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