Please select your home edition
Edition
Auckland On Water Boat Show

Volvo Ocean Race - Telefónica close in on Groupama 4

by Franck Cammas on 24 May 2012
Groupama Sailing Team during leg 7 - Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team © /Volvo Ocean Race http://www.cammas-groupama.com/
Whilst Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 team Groupama 4 is still leading in the seventh leg, from Miami to Lisbon, they are having to keep an eye on Telefonica, to leeward, Puma astern and Camper to windward… However, the main focus is on being the first to hook onto the front, which is just ahead of their bow.

Ultimately, it would seem that the fleet aren't going to skirt the iceberg zone. Indeed the ideal trajectory is quite a way below the ice exclusion zone to the South-East of Newfoundland. However, it's the tail of a fairly insignificant depression, which is dropping down from Labrador, that all the crews are seeking to latch onto over the coming hours, so as they can link up with a little more pressure from the South-West. Intriguingly, even though the lead Groupama 4 gained on exiting the tropical disturbance has melted like a growler in the Gulf Stream, her position at the head of the fleet is particularly favourable. Indeed, it's to the East that the wind is steadier and the boat that makes it there has a good chance of opening up a lead.


So what's happened over the past 48 hours? On avoiding the centre of tropical storm Alberto offshore of Charleston on Monday, Franck Cammas and his men were able to make good their escape, stretching out a lead of as much as 70 miles at one point. However, as they made headway East, the wind eased progressively: Groupama 4 stalled a little in a south-westerly wind of around ten knots, whilst the chasing pack finally extracted itself from the meteorological chaos with nearly eighteen knots of breeze. The fleet of pursuers then fanned out behind them to reposition themselves according to a new weather phenomenon: an oblique front across the Atlantic, associated with a small depression, which is deepening offshore of Labrador.

So why not follow the same course then? The reason for this is that some crews, such as the Spanish and the Emiratis, have decided that it's better to go fast, even if this leads to some separation to the North (30 miles further North than Groupama 4). Others meanwhile, like the Americans and the Chinese, have stuck to the wake of the French boat so as not to take any risks and wait for their moment to shine. Finally, the New Zealanders (40 miles further South) are hoping to latch onto the wind from the front more rapidly. In fact, this particular weather system has an oblique configuration between Newfoundland and the Caribbean, and it's shifting across to the East at nearly twenty knots. As such, it is closer to the boats at its ‘tail' rather than at its ‘head'. Everyone is seeking to line themselves up to hook onto its three to five additional knots of breeze, which will enable them to switch on the turbo the earliest…

The outcome of this present affair has considerable bearing as the speed differential is set to reach two to three knots, and any crew which doesn't manage to catch hold of the front will end up in a more westerly (wind on the stern) and less consistent breeze.

With a stronger wind, the sailors will be able to gain ground to the North, without losing power: currently making headway at 34°N, offshore of Bermuda, the competitors will be able to trace a long straight wake across the Atlantic in some perfect conditions, with a long south-westerly swell to surf along for at least three days. As a result, there is bound to be a lot of tension aboard the boats not to miss the high-speed train, which could really give the helmsmen a fantastic ride. If everyone enters the system, there aren't likely to be any major hierarchical upsets, but if some don't manage to hitch onto a wagon, the situation can only get worse. There probably won't be any significant options to be had, but it will be vital to give it their all!

Positions at 1300 UTC on 23/05/2012
1. Groupama 4 – 2,617.7 miles from the finish
2. Telefónica – 3.8 miles astern of the leader
3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – 26.3 miles astern of the leader
4. Puma– 32.9 miles astern of the leader
5. Camper – 49.7 miles astern of the leader
6. Team Sanya – 59.8 miles astern of the leader

Groupama Sailing Team website

InSunSport - NZT Clewring One DesignNewport Boat Show 2016 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