Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 728x90

Volvo Ocean Race - Strong position for Groupama 4

by Franck Cammas on 13 Jun 2012
Wet atmosphere on board Groupama 4 - 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 two of leg eight and have moved into pole position less than fifty miles from the first island in the Azorean archipelago, thanks to her potential in the current reaching conditions, as well as a clever sidestep to windward of the group. The boats should round the island of Sao Miguel tonight, at which point they'll be able to latch onto the steadier breeze of an Atlantic depression.

The laborious start in Lisbon is already ancient history: Franck Cammas and his men certainly haven't been dawdling. They managed to catch up with the head of the fleet within 24 hours, before starting to claw back the miles on Groupama 4's two sisterships. In a reaching wind bordering on about twenty knots, the French boat is unquestionably the quickest and the Americans were the first to confirm that, whilst the Spanish had to let the high-speed train past shortly afterwards… And yet the wind was beginning to ease during this time as the fleet gradually closed on the heart of the Azores High and at noon this Tuesday, as they approached Santa Maria, Groupama 4 was polled as leader.

The crew of the French boat cleverly performed a little 2-mile counter tack to reposition herself to windward of the fleet, which was sailing in around ten knots of north-westerly breeze. Indeed, as they approach the volcanic landmass that makes up the Azores, the wind is set to shift round to the West after a fairly light passage at dusk. At that point they will have to try to gain ground to the North to round the centre of high pressure situated to the South-West of Santa Maria. It's this beat towards the turning mark which may create some separation over the coming hours, but already those boats further South, such as Camper and Abu Dhabi, aren't having much fun with a breeze which is heading them and forcing them to set a course towards the South-West to make headway.

As a result, Franck Cammas and his crew were sailing within sight of the Spanish, who are proving to be their most dangerous rivals in this phase of light winds, as Telefonica is especially quick upwind in the light airs. The controlling position Groupama 4 has secured to windward is an important bonus because, if things pan out as planned, the breeze is more stable and slightly denser to the North. It'll seem like one of the longest night's for the French crew tonight, though we're a few days shy of the longest day yet…

On the cards at the end of this 100-mile light air wading session is a dive North once they're around the volcanic island. They mustn't get too close to land, which exceeds 1,000 metres high in places, where the wind will be very disturbed. Once clear of this zone however, there won't be any more obstacles because some fifty miles or so to the North of Sao Miguel, the wind will build under the influence of an Atlantic depression, which is shifting towards Ireland. The first to extract themselves from the Azorean archipelago will stretch out a lead and is likely to reach Cape Finisterre (770 miles from Sao Miguel) in around thirty knots of south-westerly breeze!

The finish in Lorient is scheduled for Friday and if the boats don't struggle too much tonight in their mission to round the Azores mark, the leaders could even finish by noon! The final sprint is going to be extremely boisterous then. All the crews will be trying to be a cut above the rest on this section of the course, which will require a good compromise between speed and preservation of the gear. The stakes are high for us: if the Spanish finish two places ahead of Groupama 4 in Brittany, they'll snatch back the overall lead. However, if Franck Cammas and his men manage to assert themselves in home waters, they'll be on the right track to ultimate victory in Galway…

Positions at 1300 UTC on 12/06/2012
1. Groupama 4– 1,260.9 miles from the finish
2. Telefonica – 2.1 miles astern of the leader
3. Puma – 4.7 miles astern of the leader
4. Camper – 8.0 miles astern of the leader
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – 8.1 miles astern of the leader
6. Team Sanya – 16.6 miles astern of the leader


Groupama Sailing Team website

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignNorth Technology - Southern SparsKilwell - 3

Related Articles

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
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