…this popular saying fits our crew like a glove as we adapt to Gitana 13's non-stop pace, mile after mile. This relentlessness has meant that the stand-by watch has been kept busy. For three-hour shifts, the stand-by watch can be called on to lend a hand to the crewmember on deck for any maneuvers.
Let me explain: Gitana 13 loves to fly a hull, which is perfectly appropriate in the flat expanse of Quiberon Bay but strongly discouraged when we're roller-coastering over rough seas. This means we constantly need people on deck to man the sheets and “tame” the beast. But there are three sheets to trim—four when the genoa staysail is up. It's easy to see that the three-man watch on deck, helmsman included, cannot do it all themselves. So in addition to standard maneuvers, the stand-by watch is also enlisted to trim sails. Since the stand-by period is also when we eat, we need to down our meals fast.
The Doldrums—a zone synonymous with multiple maneuvers—are not far off (we should reach them overnight Monday), which means that things won't calm down for us for awhile yet. No one is complaining, of course, and we're ready to give all we have to maintain our lightning speed on the big blue. Skipper Lionel Lemonchois, in his wisdom, decided to have Dominic Vittet—normally off-watch—get a little more involved. Twice a day, Dominic replaces one of us on stand-by. Today, Léo Lucet and Olivier Wroczynski were the lucky ones who were able to log six uninterrupted hours in their bunks.
We covered 575 miles over the past 24 hours, and our goal for the day is of course to top this number. Saturday was punctuated by sail changes: gennaker, then solent, then staysail, then solent again, gennaker again, and finally solent again and staysail again. The wind is as unstable as before in terms of strength and direction, but at least we haven't been slowed by slack winds like yesterday. So maybe 600 miles today...in any case, our motto hasn't changed: we still have a long way to go. In the meantime, we'll keep hurtling forward at 25-30 knots, with some long, lovely stretches above 30 knots. We're getting wet, but the water is warm. Cold would be okay too, but warm is definitely better!