Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad/Oracle Supplier

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

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
Kilwell - 1Schaefer 2016 660x82T Clewring Cruising