After a blistering, sub-six-day trip from Ushant to the Equator, Franck Cammas’ 105-ft trimaran Groupama 3 has had a rough time of it in both the South Atlantic and the transition to the Indian Ocean. The boat’s one-time lead of 620 miles over the reference time set by Bruno Peyron’s Orange 2 in ’05 has since turned into a deficit of 338 miles due to both a massive St. Helena High and an uncooperative front.
"Today we have a moderate southerly wind, due to being at the back of the front; a front we’re not managing to traverse," Cammas said. "We’ve had to jibe and, as we’ve become separated from the front, a 14- to 15-knot breeze has been pushing us along due east. If everything goes to plan, the front is likely to come to a standstill this evening, at which point we should finally hook onto a northwesterly wind. As such we’ll be able to make good speed again on course to Cape Leeuwin."
With the deficit decreasing slightly in the last 24 hours, Groupama 3 seems to be hanging in there. Orange 2 didn’t have a particularly fast transit of the Indian Ocean in ’05, but Peyron’s big cat did have an nearly unbeatable transit through the Pacific Ocean. That makes the Indian Ocean crossing critical for Cammas’ team — any miles they can make up here will go a long way toward getting them around the world in less than 50d, 16h, 20m.