Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Volvo Ocean Race - Groupama extends lead over Telefónica

by Franck Cammas on 8 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 fifteenth day of racing in leg six, from Itajad, Brazil to Miami. Suspense is in the air... Air which is proving to be increasingly absent with the invasion of a light windless patch offshore of San Salvador.

The American leaders are beginning to stumble into this meteorological barrier, to the extent that they can now see the New Zealanders in their rear view mirror, whilst Groupama 4 is stealing a march by passing beneath the Bahamas archipelago. This French option has already borne fruit since the Spanish have slipped down the rankings already and there is even a chance that the leadership could be under threat within the next 24 hours!

Everyone on deck! All the sails on the rail! Battle positions! Up lads and at `em! It's the final heated exchange before the arrival in Miami: you have to score bull's-eye for this Bahamas-style skirmish... Indeed, in this labyrinth of islands and coral reefs, which delighted the British pirates such as Blackbeard, Henry Morgan and Anne Bonney, in their pursuit of the Spanish galleons laden with gold, a bit of cut and thrust was certainly par for the course. At the Americans, beware of the New Zealanders: the French vessel is on the attack to the West and may yet upset the hierarchy after some 4,500 miles covered since Brazil!

Indeed, once again, the heavens are claiming their victims: a wind hole has opened up to the East of San Salvador like a kind of barometric wasteland, and is stretching out just above the Tropic of Cancer. And in 24 hours' time, there is more pressure to the West of the Bahamas than on the Atlantic side: 4 knots of easterly wind in front of Pirates Well, 8 knots at Hogsty Reef! This is enough to sail double or even triple the speeds of Puma and Camper, who are sailing to the East of the Acklins and Crooked islands, whilst Groupama 4 is slipping along towards the Cays and South Bluff... However, in this split, there is a technical obligation to leave Long Island to port, as there isn't enough depth for the keel of a VO-70. As such, the point where the different paths will converge is in Crooked Passage, around a hundred miles in front of Groupama 4.

With a deficit of 72 miles in relation to the American leader, are Franck Cammas and his men still in with a chance of catching up the leaders? It's possible, as Puma has no further route choices. To her left is a vast area of calms and to her right are some coral lagoons. Meantime Groupama 4 is free to go where she chooses as far as the South of the Acklins. She may cut through the Mayaguana passage or skirt around the islets to the West. The effects of the thermals associated with an expected rotation of the wind to the South-East may well create an opening too. Whatever happens, the French boat shouldn't be very far from the two leaders with nearly 400 miles to the finish in Miami...

The Spanish are having a tough time of it after tumbling down the ranking last night and having now been overtaken by Groupama 4. Telefonica, through her offshore option at the Virgin Islands, had found herself to windward of the fleet in a dying breeze. At that stage there were no other solutions than to put in a gybe in a sickly zephyr, in order to reposition herself at Turks and Caicos! The upshot of this little manoeuvre has been ruthless: 40 miles lost in a matter of hours... And now Abu Dhabi is less than 20 miles astern of the Iberian boat. As a result the Hispanics are treading on hot coals right now as a fourth or even fifth place would really put pressure on their chances for an outright win in the Volvo Ocean Race!

For the three pretenders for a top spot in the overall standing in Miami, the finish order is crucial: if Puma secures a win, she'll become a serious contender once again; if Camper stands out, she could snatch back second place; if Groupama 4 pulls it off down the home straight, she could give the Spanish a rough ride in Florida! And after days struggling in a wind which has always favoured the frontrunners until now, a reversal of the situation in favour of Franck Cammas and his men would surely give their rivals something to think about... The die is cast.

Standings on 7 May at 1300 UTC
1 - Puma 426.0 from the finish
2 - Camper 8.0 miles from the leader
3 - Groupama 72.6 miles from the leader
4 - Telefonica 83.5 miles from the leader
5 - Abu Dhabi 99.9 miles from the Groupama Sailing Team website
PredictWind.com 2014Ancasta Ker 33 660x82Naiad

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