Saturday, March 31, 2012

Message From Yann Riou Onboard Groupama, the Volvo Ocean Race Leg Five Leader

Leg 5 - Day 12 : Message from Yann Riou

Added 30/03/2012, 09:29Filed in : Leg 5 - Auckland - Itajai
Groupama in the Volvo Ocean Race
Photo: Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
Groupama in the Volvo Ocean Race

Just off the coast of Chile, Groupama 4 is continuing to make headway towards Cape Horn, at a speed which has seldom been so low since they set out from Auckland a little over twelve days ago. In the wake of the French, the Americans on Puma are making the most of the wind filling in behind them to seriously close on the leader. Suffice to say that between wonder, deliverance and close-contact racing, we're in for a real treat...

That's it! We're on the last lap. Later on, we'll be leaving the Pacific in our wake. We're getting out of here without further ado! We're going to round Cape Horn, which for us marks the end of 10 days of a rare intensity and extreme violence.

We hope to get to see this famous rock, just so as to mark the occasion... If we don't see it, that's just too bad! That won't stop us from celebrating it... today or some other day. The important thing is that it is in our wake.

In the meantime, we're getting a bit wet. The wind has finally dropped. However, we've ended up in the influence of a warm front, a clever meteorological term which doesn't mean that it's warm out. In fact, right now it means that we can't see 100 metres in front of us, and we're being subjected to the assault of a light but persistent rain.

My patriotic fibre forbids me from comparing it to the kind of weather you sometimes find in a region, which a certain number of us are particularly attached to aboard Groupama 4.

That said, even in this drizzle, it's a relief to be sailing in mild wind and sea conditions for the first time in 10 days. It's a relief to be able to go up forward without being ripped away by a wave. It's a relief to be able to get across the cabin without the risk of being thrown against the mast bulkhead.

A relief yes, albeit a temporary one, as the wind is set to increase over the next few hours. Nothing terrible compared with what we've been experiencing of late, but it's enough to make life complicated until we round the Horn.

Yes indeed, later on, we'll be rounding Cape Horn, after an extremely demanding Pacific crossing, both for the men and the boat. Far from being a result, it's a fine moment.

A moment we'd like to share with the people who are following us, and in particular the shore crew, the design office and the whole of Groupama sailing team.
Have a good day,

Yann

Standings for the 5th leg from Auckland - Itajai on 30 March 2012, 0400 UTC

1. Groupama 2,079.7 miles from the finish
2. Puma 18.2 miles astern of the leader
3. Telefonica 306.9 miles astern of the leader
4. Camper 1,287.5 miles astern of the leader
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 1,589.6 miles astern of the leader
6. Sanya DNF

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