Please select your home edition
Edition
Auckland On Water Boat Show

Volvo Ocean Race - Groupama 4 opts for easterly course

by Franck Cammas on 25 Apr 2012
Onboard Groupama Sailing Team during day 2 of leg 6 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 are on the second day of racing in Leg 6, from Itajad, Brazil to Miami. The zones of calm extending offshore of Rio de Janeiro are upsetting the forecasts.

The group of five have split into two groups: offshore are the Americans, the Spanish and the French; inshore are the New Zealanders and the Emiratis. This light, fluky breeze is very likely to hang around due to a storm front off Cape Frio. Groupama 4 has opted for an easterly course to try to extract herself as quickly as possible from this meteorological stalemate.

After a fast start in a good south-westerly wind offshore of Itajai, which enabled Groupama 4 and her rivals to power along at an average speed of over 18 knots, the wind dropped away sharply level with the longitude of Rio de Janeiro. Indeed, it was offshore of the large Brazilian city that the fleet dispersed, with Camper and Abu Dhabi opting to pick their way towards Cape Frio, whilst Telefonica and Groupama 4 were heading eastwards. As for Puma, she was on an intermediate course as the sun set over Brazil.

'Things are fairly quiet this Tuesday lunchtime (European time): we've been dawdling along for some 24 hours now, even though the southerly downwind conditions have picked up since daybreak. I hope that it will remain like this for at least a day so as we can make a little hop up towards the North-East… After setting out from Itajai, we got back level with Telefonica as we were a tad faster. When the wind dropped, the Spanish proved to be faster than us: we lost sight of them this morning and they're now eight miles ahead. We've opted for a trajectory taking us away from Cape Frio, around a hundred miles off the coast, as we reckon it's a risky zone. There's a fair amount of instability on shore, but it's hard to judge how many miles away you need to be. For now it's clearly Puma which has come off the best with its intermediate course,' indicated Franck Cammas during the lunchtime videoconference this Tuesday.

In fact, the zone of calms offshore of Cape Frio was scheduled to form a little later on and, most importantly it wasn't originally supposed to extend so far offshore. However, as with any stormy situation, it's very difficult to anticipate how such a meteorological magma is going to evolve. With less than five knots of breeze, the fleet's progress hasn't been very quick, but the differences of heading have gradually dispatched the crews, each of them sticking to their guns once a decision has been made.

'The tradewinds aren't set to come into play within the next 48 hours and that's when we'll really be able to weigh up the merits of the different options! However, we know that the boat positioned the furthest East will be favoured, because it will have a better angle to the wind. In the meantime, there's a great deal of instability to deal with and our aim is to gradually distance ourselves from the Brazilian coast. Indeed, we're set to hit another zone of light airs on Wednesday, and there's even a strong chance of being forced onto a beat, which will enable us to head even further offshore. We haven't done with the transitions yet and we'll have to wait for the second uncertain zone before we can really draw any conclusions about how we're fairing in relation to our rivals.'

Indeed, over the course of last night, the fan of boats opened even wider as the leading New Zealanders and Emiratis were just twenty miles off Cape Frio, whilst Puma was some 75 miles offshore of it and Telefonica and Groupama 4 were nearly a hundred miles off the coast. On the programme this Tuesday is a fairly laborious day for Franck Cammas and his men because although the southerly breeze is kicking in again, off the Brazilian region of Espirito Santo, a barrier of storms is stretching out diagonally towards South Africa, and on the other side of this obstacle some North to north-westerly winds are being served up! This cloud mass will very slowly disintegrate, though this process will be faster further to the East so Groupama 4, accompanied by the Americans and the Spanish, are seeking to make good their escape offshore.

'Groupama 4 has never been the most at ease in this type of weather, with less than eight knots of breeze. I reckon we haven't been very quick over the past 24 hours but that may also be down to our separation in terms of longitude… If everything pans out as it should, we are likely to be accompanied by a wind of around ten knots as we climb up to the North-East and are set for some large gennaker sailing. It will be important to really make good use of the storm masses and perform the manoeuvres well, of which there will be plenty as we approach the front. Our situation to the East is pretty comfortable, even though we're behind those who opted for a more direct route. However, we're right where we wanted to be!'

In this rather still Brazilian air, it's not easy to claw back the miles when the average speeds oscillate between 3 and 7 knots! It's likely that the routes will converge tonight as the two leading boats making headway inshore know that the way out is shifting offshore. It remains to be seen if the storm front which is positioned 250 miles further North will be very active and above all if it will really be narrower 150 miles offshore of the Brazilian coast. For now the separation between the boats remains ‘reasonable', but the uncertainty of the squalls certainly isn't making what's on the horizon any clearer for the navigators…

Standings on 24 April at 1300 UTC
1 – Camper 4328.7 from the finish
2 – Abu Dhabi 4.20 miles from the leader
3 - Puma 27.5 miles from the leader
4 – Telefonica 47 miles from the leader
5 – Groupama 51 miles from the leader


Groupama Sailing Team website

InSunSport - NZNaiadZhik Yachting 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