Groupama sailing team are leading the charge to trade winds that promise to slingshot the first to reach them into a powerful position in the race to Auckland.
Franck Cammas’ team continue to make steady gains, clocking up 428 nautical miles in the past 24 hours, edging close to the 478 nm that scored them the Leg 2 IWC Schauffhausen Speed Record Challenge trophy.
Groupama 4’s increasing speed left second placed CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand more than 49 nautical miles in their wake at 1900 UTC. By 2200 UTC CAMPER had closed the gap to 41 nm.
The remainder of the fleet reshuffled over the three hours to 2200, with Team Telefónica jumping from fourth to third. Team Sanya also gained a position, moving to fourth, pushing rebels in the north, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, to fifth.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing remain in sixth position, 111 nm behind Groupama.
Despite holding pole position Groupama 4 skipper Cammas knows that the next 24 hours are crucial, and reaching the trades is key to getting across the Doldrums unscathed.
“For now we have to get into the trades tomorrow night and then maybe one day after we have to decide exactly where we go in the Doldrums,’’ he said.
“Nothing is decided in this leg for sure. We don’t know what is going to happen at the end of the leg on the approach to Auckland.”
Abu Dhabi skipper Ian Walker warned that his team are far from out of the running with just under 4,000 nm of racecourse remaining.
“What’s interesting right now is the balance between what you do short term to make yourself look good on the leaderboard and get close to Auckland, or whether you keep investing in the east to set yourself up for the longer term,’’ he said.
“We’re one of the more eastern boats now, following Groupama’s track. It’s a little bit scary for us, it looks like we’re losing miles to Telefónica, CAMPER and Sanya.
“But in reality we’re setting ourselves up hundreds of miles to the east, which hopefully will pay back but probably not for a week’s time, by which time you don’t really know the weather situation.”
- 1 Mar 2012Doldrums dread hits Groupama as D-day approaches
- 21 Feb 2012Tactical minefield could force radical options
- 20 Feb 2012Slow start as fleet brace for tough conditions ahead
- 20 Feb 2012Sickness and slamming take their toll
- 4 Nov 2011Volvo Ocean Race fleet heads for first night ordeal
- 9 Oct 2011Fleet returns with lessons learned