Volvo Ocean Race qualifier halfway mark for Groupama 4

Groupama 4 at the halfway mark in the qualifier for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12
Yann Riou
The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 entrant Groupama 4 headed out to sea on the morning of Wednesday 15 June and are now in race mode. Yann Riou, the media man, has come to grips with the conditions and his computer to send some news and images from aboard the boat.

A little hello from Groupama 4, where we're approaching the midway mark in this 2,000 mile qualifier.

As such, as will regularly be the case during the Volvo Ocean Race, I'm getting my `media' computer out of its waterproof case and I'll explain to you how things are going, so as to get used to it in some way.

I'm not completely in sink with things yet. The comfort of the media man wasn't one of the main areas of research for the team over the past eighteen months. My first issue is to find a place where I can have my things around me. After that I have to get used to the qwerty keyboard supplied by the organisation, so please bear with me as far as the French accents and cedillas are concerned please!

Another reason why I've decided to launch into this now is because we're about to line up with a ridge of high pressure, which is nicely settled into position between the two waypoints on this qualifier course. As such, today the atmosphere aboard is calm, sunglasses and sun cream. However, I'd be lying if I failed to mention that there are a few odd jobs mixed in with all that... Nothing drastic though! We're also making the most of the current conditions to try to improve the rather ordinary taste of our meals with a few unique culinary experiments.

Conditions weren't ever so mild during the first part of the course. The nights have been hectic and the sail changes numerous. As for the tourism aspect, we did manage to make out Cape Finisterre on the second evening and the entrance to Lisbon - Cascais of course, which was the site of our first waypoint last night.

We're heading towards our second waypoint now, somewhere in the North Atlantic, so there's not much tourism on the cards! We're set to encounter a low with SW'ly wind of up to 30 knots. This should take us as far as that particular waypoint and then accompany us as far as Lorient. Grey conditions, rain, wind, boots and foulies will be the order of the day. Life at the extreme I guess!

As such I'm quickly going to make the most of the sunshine as it's not going to last!

Groupama 4 website
Volvo Ocean Race website