Trophee Jules Verne

Februari 10, 2010 @ 23:38:47   Foto Groupama 3


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The fourth day at sea has gone superbly well for Groupama 3, who had racked up a 450 mile lead over the reference time this Friday morning. Indeed at this pace, the giant trimaran should be a good day ahead as she crosses the equator, which is scheduled for Saturday...

Since escaping the transition zone between the low off the Canaries and the Azores High on Thursday morning, Groupama 3 has calmly clocked an average speed of over twenty-five knots and the giant trimaran has etched out a wake of more than 620 miles over the past 24 hours... It has to be said that the steady wind has been a major player since the Cape Verde archipelago, which they rounded just four days after setting off from Ushant (31st January at 13h 55' 53'' UTC). Indeed the NE'ly tradewinds have taken hold and will accompany them as far as the Doldrums, which is currently situated at around 4° North

Franck Cammas and his nine crew are ahead of schedule once again and the reduction in pace scheduled for this Friday afternoon should end up being moderate, since the Cape Verdean tradewinds still seem to be in place over the 300 miles separating the giant trimaran from the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) this morning. Indeed this steady breeze oscillating between 12 and 18 knots is generated by the Southern edge of the Azores High and the Doldrums appear to be fairly inactive and very narrow at around 30° West. In fact it is much smaller in size than it was during Groupama 3's previous attempt in November as, at that stage, the zone extended across more than 250 miles! This time around, this tricky zone of storms has only formed across 80 miles and the cloud mass doesn't appear to be very violent...

The point of entry into the Doldrums is situated between 29° and 30° West, which is why Franck Cammas and his men are gradually slipping across towards the SSW whilst maintaining a high average speed: as the breeze eases this Friday afternoon, they'll still have the opportunity to luff up slightly in order to conserve speed. Behind the ITCZ the situation is rather favourable, as the tradewinds in the Southern hemisphere, generated by the Saint Helena High, contain some E to SE'ly breeze: as such Groupama 3 won't have to sail too close on the wind, which means that her average speed will also remain high (at over 22 knots) as she crosses the equator on Saturday morning. Should this be the case, the switch of hemispheres should take place in under six days! After what was a narrow weather window on setting out from Brest, there's already a fine performance in prospect...


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