From April to July, Groupama 3 has sailed a remarkable Atlantic tour, racking up four records from four attempts! Starting out as an observer to validate the options of this 32 meter trimaran launched barely a year ago, this modern-day tour has born witness to exceptional success and above all an extremely enriching array of experiences prior to the Jules Verne Trophy scheduled for this coming winter.
First challenge on 24th April: an historic record following in the footsteps of Christopher Columbus, comprised a 3,884 miles crossing between Cadiz (Spain) and San Salvador (Bahamas), the fastest of which was held by Steve Fossett. Groupama 3 wasn’t just going out to explode this reference time: above all else it was to confirm its extraordinary potential in the medium winds reigning along this trade wind route. Groupama 3 improved on the record by two days, at an average of 21.7 knots over 7 d 10 hrs 58 m 55 s!
Following on from that, they had a short wait in Miami before commandeering the best time to New York, devouring 947 miles in a bid to depose the American Steve Fossett and his giant catamaran PlayStation (2 d 05 hrs 54 m 42 s). Once again, Groupama 3 had just one crack of the whip at this course along the American coastline and managed to average 27 knots... The pace was set: Franck Cammas’ crew was really beginning to understand the true scale of the green trimaran’s potential!
After over a month and a half on stand-by in New York, spirits were running high for the ten men on Groupama 3, who couldn’t find the right weather window for this legendary record established for the first time by Charlie Barr in 1905! The cut-off point to find the right conditions was closing fast as the boat’s schedule meant that they were required to return to the boat’s home port of Lorient, France before 25th July. A window of opportunity opened on the evening of Thursday 19th July: a depression to hook onto, a zone of high pressure to race around and an unsettled zone to catch up with. The scenario wasn’t ideal but they had to head home in any case. And in the end, the start was excellent with flat seas below the banks of Newfoundland: 794 miles in 24 hours, the port foil breaking under the strain! A lead of twenty-seven miles over the distance covered by Bruno Peyron in July 2006. In the end the sequence of events proved favorable as they had to adopt a slightly longer but a little faster trajectory to make Lizard Point after setting out from Ambrose Light: 4 d 03 hrs 57 m 54 s at an average speed of 28.65 knots. The upshot of this was a lead of 4 hrs 26 m over the catamaran Orange 2!
Mission accomplished for Groupama 3, who perform a faultless first series of records, bringing to an end the validation phase prior to the round the world target of less than fifty days, which is the next objective for Franck Cammas and his men over the coming winter!
Groupama 3, new North Atlantic Crossing Record holder (New York - Lizard Point)
New reference time: 4 days 3 hours 57 minutes and 54 seconds
(Course time subject to ratification by the WSSRC - underway)
Departure from New York - Thursday 19th July at 18:02’ 55’’UTC (20:02’55’’ / French time)
Arrival at Lizard Point - Monday 23rd July at 22:00’49’’UTC (Tuesday 24/07 00:00’49’’/ French time)
Distance covered: 2,925 miles - Average speed: 28.65 knots
Reminder of the previous record (Bruno Peyron aboard the maxi-catamaran Orange 2): 4 days 8 hours 23 minutes and 54 seconds, at an average speed of 28 knots.