Franck Cammas and his Groupama 3 crew have had a pleasant Mediterranean cruise, visiting Turkey, Greece and Italy, but now it’s back to business. The target is the Marseille to Carthage record and Franck is very happy about the boat “Since we left Lorient, Brittany, on 17th March 2009, we’ve covered nearly 8,000 miles aboard Groupama 3. The crew knows the boat well and we’re ready to cast off. In order to be as fast as we possibly can be, there will be just seven of us onboard instead of the usual ten, as the time for the record (17 hours) means we won’t require any watches to get rest. All we have to do now is to wait for a good Mistral. It’s a really great record, which sets off from a place where I began sailing over twenty years ago”.
A well established Mistral that extends beyond the southern tip of Sardinia is an absolute must. In order to avoid overly built up seas, it’s best to set off as a N to NW’ly wind is forming, which gradually fills as it heads along the coast of Corsica, easing progressively the further south it gets. Renowned for creating short, breaking seas, when it gets over 40 knots, the Mistral makes conditions pretty muscular and tricky for the first third of the course, but things usually get more manageable around Sardinia. It’s the final third that is the most uncertain and the Mistral can quickly start to run out of steam between Sardinia and Tunisia. Even if the wind keeps blowing most of the way, you can still lose the record if there is no thermal breeze for the last 30 miles, between Cap Blanc and Cap Carthage, so it’s best to arrive in daytime. Pic of G3 in Venice is from Yvan Zedda and there are more from Turkey, Greece and Italy here.