The sailing conditions experienced by the boat since rounding Cape Horn on Friday, 8 February at 12:54am (French time) and the formidable speeds that it was again enjoying stand in sharp contrast to the days spent in the shelter of Tierra del Fuego waiting for a window to open in the weather. Thierry Duprey du Vorsent expressed his contentment Friday, early in the evening: “It's a real pleasure to get back the feeling of making progress. After spending long hours with no sails up while waiting to round the Horn, we're now flying the big gennaker and the full main. We're under full sail. The wind is blowing 25-28 knots, but the water is relatively smooth and manageable, so we're on a reach, making good time. That's a big change!” But at 55°S, conditions onboard the maxi-catamaran remain chilly: “It's like being back in Brittany! The sky is overcast, a light drizzle is falling and the temperature is still pretty low. We need gloves, hats and multiple layers of polar fleece when on deck."
After more than 24 hours of good progress, a new low-pressure system is forecast along Gitana 13's path. Dominic Vittet and Lionel Lemonchois, with the on-land support of their faithful route-finder Sylvain Mondon, are carefully planning the coming hours: “We tacked along the coast yesterday afternoon and steered a course of 270°. Our goal now is to get as far west as possible so that we can sail along the eastern edge of the next low-pressure system. It will be pretty powerful, but by positioning ourselves this way we'll be able to avoid the worst of the system and continue working toward the Easter Island high-pressure system. At least that's the plan."
Emotions run high for the new Cape Horners
With six first-timers among the boat's ten sailors, it's easy to see how intense a moment the rounding of the most legendary of the world's capes was onboard Gitana 13. Dominic Vittet, Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, Olivier Wroczynski, Fred Le Maistre, David Boileau and Léopold Lucet had a magnificent Cape-Horn baptism, as the 33-meter catamaran passed the famous rock a stone's throw away. Lucet, the youngest crewmember, had the honor of steering the maxi-catamaran during this long-awaited moment.