Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Volvo Ocean Race - Groupama dive due west

by Franck Cammas on 29 Apr 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 seventh day of racing in leg six, from Itajad, Brazil to Miami. Whilst the fleet is distancing itself from the Brazilian coast in readiness to tackle the fairly inactive Doldrums around the equator, Groupama hasn't managed to reduce its deficit in relation to the leaders due to the tradewinds favouring the frontrunners. However there is still an opportunity for this to happen tonight, when the head of the race encounter a more uncertain weather zone.

Nothing's any good: the delta racked up at Cape Frio some five days ago, continued to increase before seeming to stabilise at around a hundred miles, only to start climbing again early this weekend to over 130 miles. It makes difficult reading and doesn't relate to Groupama 4's performance, nor the racing skills of Franck Cammas and his men, but rather a succession of meteorological micro phenomena. Accumulating during the climb up the Brazilian coast, the slight separation of some thirty miles or so off Rio de Janeiro, was transformed into 100 miles off Salvador de Bahia to culminate at 133 miles as the crew were approaching Natal!

'I've come down below because it's very hot and there isn't a gram of wind up top. Right now though, the breeze has picked up to six knots again so we're happy! At the front of the pack though, the leaders are escaping this rather inactive zone and are set to accelerate. As such we're expecting them to extend their lead even more… It's a severe punishment for us, even though we messed up the start of the leg a bit, and since then we haven't had a solution for making a comeback. It's very frustrating because it's going to be a very long race and we can see that there's a fine match going on ahead of us and we're not part of it… Beyond the points we may lose in the overall standing, it's not much fun on a day-to-day basis. We're trying to keep the delta as low as possible as anything could happen before the finish in Miami: the closer we are to the head of the fleet, the more opportunities we'll have. We should finally be out of this ‘tunnel' this evening…' indicated Charles Caudrelier on Saturday afternoon.


The reduction in the strength of the tradewinds offshore of Natal meant there was a chance that the crew of Groupama 4 could partly make up its deficit, but the effect of the compression only proved to be short-lived since the south-easterly wind picked up at the front of the fleet to reach over fifteen knots. Meantime, Franck Cammas and his men were floundering in a breeze of just a dozen knots. The upshot of this was quickly reflected on the racetrack: the frontrunners' lead increased by a further thirty miles by the end of a slightly more dynamic night. Indeed the tradewinds are settled firmly in place now at around twenty knots and the whole fleet has rounded the North-East tip of Brazil: the field of options is somewhat wider as a result since the South American continent can no longer influence the trajectories.

And this Sunday is synonymous with a few openings since the five VO-70s have opted to gybe, but each one at a different time. There are two reasons for this move across to the West: the equatorial oceanic current reaches nearly two knots to the North of Brazil, pushing the boats towards Guyana; the tradewinds have gained intensity offshore of Fortaleza to reach 22 knots, whilst they're only kicking out around fifteen knots just a hundred miles further North. The first to gybe was Abu Dhabi, then Camper, but this manœuvre was more geared around positioning in relation to the American leader than a genuine option.

In fact it was the leader Puma who was first to make a move, followed by the Emirati boat in the early hours, then Telefonica, who was thus able to close on the New Zealanders. With Camper, the Spanish are the furthest North of the fleet now. And with a deficit of over a hundred miles, the crew of Groupama 4 have also opted to dive due West, which should enable them to make up a few miles over the coming hours, as the tradewinds are more consistent to the South. However, this shift to the West by the fleet is also linked to the position and scope of the Doldrums: the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is narrower and less active around 40° West. As such there will be another series of gybes before tonight (local time), in order to take a perpendicular route across this zone of squalls and calms from Monday. It's this equatorial factor which may enable Groupama 4 to get back into the thick of the action because after that the north-easterly tradewinds will be settled in for the duration until the fleet reach the Caribbean islands.

Standings on 29 April at 1300 UTC
1 – Puma 3,029.6 from the finish
2 – Camper 9.3 miles from the leader
3 – Telefonica 9.8 miles from the leader
4 – Abu Dhabi 46.6 miles from the leader
5 – Groupama 116.7 miles from the Groupama Sailing Team website

T Clewring AC72Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Naiad/Oracle Supplier

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