Gitana X jib exploded this weekend, dealing another hard blow to the crew. With no choice but to change tack head to wind through the trade winds with the mainsail and staysail upfront, the trimaran had a tough time steering a steady course and making headway through rough seas kicked up by an 18 knot SE breeze. From now on, Thierry Duprey du Vorsent and Erwan Le Roux can run for the finishing line sailing at speeds of more than twenty knots with the gennaker up and in a fine swell. The tradewinds seemed to be losing strength over the weekend but finally picked up a little. Gitana X can hope to finish in Salvador de Bahia on Wednesday morning to take fourth place in the ORMA trimaran class.
Meanwhile, the Gitana Team is giving Gitana 11 a technical once-over as Frédéric Le Peutrec and Yann Guichard gradually recover from their sustained efforts over the fortnight of stress and extreme speed. All in all, the second placed boat in the Transat Jacques Vabre, has not suffered unduly, arriving in Brazil in a highly satisfactory condition in spite of the stresses and strains she has been subjected to.
Erwan Le Roux (Gitana X) :
« We're making good headway at 18-20 knots. It was a great relief to put Ascension Island in the rear view mirror. But we continue looking over our shoulder, wondering what is about to happen next. What can break now? Before Ascension Island, we ripped our Solent jib open in a wave. Thierry climbed the mast to recover as many pieces of what was left as he could. First the mainsail and then the staysail. A bit hard to swallow. We reckon we'll be into Bahia on Wednesday morning. We're pleased for Gitana 11. We spoke to them on the telephone after the finish. We're tired but with the finishing line getting closer all the time, we're excited, too excited to sleep in fact! It's been an interesting experience. Brilliant, another dimension. A little bit stressful though – but what brilliant boats these are ! »