Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad/Oracle Supplier

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

Related Articles

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
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best EyewearNaiad/Oracle SupplierSouthern Spars - 100