The first night and the first day of the Challenge Mondial Assistance are nothing more than "damp souvenirs". Because although yesterday, both day and night were both difficult, spent sailing head to wind, today Gitana has once again assumed her albatross appearance. On the menu last night and today, top speeds of 30 knots (55 km/h), with her mainsail and gennaker up (big ballon jib). Sensations guaranteed for the crew who are flirting with speeds never before attained by this boat when racing, speeds some folks dream of.
Next objective, Cape Saint-Vincent
Whilst Gitana should pick up a steady regime of north-north-easterly wind sometimes this afternoon, events at the end of yesterday did nothing to help counter the offensive of the boats once past the west of the Bay of Biscay. By 15h30 yesterday afternoon, the mainsheet attachment point on the boom broke ; then it was the turn of a batten in the same sail to break. In the end, the crew had to bring down the mainsail for an hour in order to resolve these niggling problems which were finally sorted out at 20h30. This did nothing to dampen the Gitana Team's morale. At 12h00 today Gitana was 8th in the overall provisional rankings, 5.3 miles (10 km) behind Bonduelle (Jean Le Cam) and nearly 10 miles (18 km) ahead of Sergio Tacchini (Karine Fauconnier). Newt objective is the Cape of Saint-Vincent (south-western tip of Portugal) lying some 360 miles away (667 km), heralding the approach of the Gibraltar Strait where the weather forecast is fickle indeed.
Challenge Mondial Assistance
Cherbourg (F) Channel / Rimini (It) / Adriatic. 2734 miles (5063 km)
Start 11th May 2003
Finish between 19th and 23rd May 2003
Races in Rimini on 23rd and 24th May
Distance remaining to finish: 2158 miles (3997 km)