No departure today
Yesterday, by switching to code yellow, a change of colour synonymous with a possible departure offshore of the north-west tip of Brittany in 48 hours’ time, the Gitana Team had initiated the final round of preparations: PCR tests validated for everyone, loading of sailors’ provisions and their personal bags… The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was ready to go, with everything in place for her first circumnavigation. For all that, the weather cell comprising Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier, Marcel van Triest and Cyril Dardashti, was transparent: “Even though it varies a little from one model to the other, including a 6-hour deal to negotiate the doldrums, there is every chance that the crew can make the southern hemisphere in 4 days and 12 hours. However, that’s where the situation becomes complicated and blurred”, explained the onshore router yesterday. “We’re faced with a very shifty situation that is evolving quickly. The danger is that we’ll miss the train and get crushed between two areas of high pressure in the South Atlantic. It poses a real threat, even though there is still a possibility of linking onto a course that takes us behind the high pressure. Right now, in this very progressive system, it’s circulating very low down in the south.”
The South Atlantic and its descent in the line of sight
The grib file forecasts, which are updated and analysed morning and evening, have unfortunately seen the trend referred to yesterday play out. “The window is still favourable in the North Atlantic, with a passage time to the equator within the current record time held by Spindrift of under 5 days, However, the South Atlantic isn’t shaping up as we would have liked. Today, the routing isn’t just taking us on a big looped circuit to get around the Saint Helena High, which is extending out a long way to the west, it is also sending us a long way south, to around 47°, to secure a reasonable passage time at Cape Agulhas, which marks the entrance to the Indian Ocean. The detection of ice in the area must also be taken into account as that’s something we’ll have to contend with if would descend so far South…” explained Franck Cammas this morning at the end of the weather briefing.
“The models have not been very in phase over recent weeks. The differences and the scenarios vary a great deal between the European model (CEP) and the American model (GFS) and that’s currently making our work to pinpoint the right departure window rather complicated. That’s nothing new though… it’s all part of the strategy of a challenge like this,” confided Marcel van Triest.
This Tuesday 24 November could have been departure day for the men of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and all the team, who are supporting them in this quest for the outright round the world sailing speed record, but instead it will be another day of waiting, in the hope that the models match up and that a route opens up to release the 32-metre maxi-trimaran and her crew, who are eager to show off the true potential of the giant on a planetary scale.
Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, skippers
David Boileau, trimmer bowman
Erwan Israël, helm trimmer
Morgan Lagravière, helm trimmer
Yann Riou, trimmer mediaman
Marcel van Triest, weather router
Yann Eliès, replacement crew
|Reminder of the standby codes|
During the period of standby for the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, which the five-arrow team has scheduled to run from 1 November to the first few days of February 2021, any changes in the situation and a possible departure date for the boat are announced via a colour coding system as detailed below:
Black: no departure possible within 96hrs
Red: observation of a possible departure between 72 and 96hrs
Orange: observation of a possible departure between 48 and 72hrs
Yellow: probable departure between 24 and 48hrs
Green: departure within 24hrs