“Conditions are now ideal… We have been experiencing periods of sailing which have been considerably more pleasant over the past 24 hours. We have brilliant sunshine, increasingly calm seas and a twenty knot NE'ly breeze, which are currently enabling us to belt along at between 27 and 34 knots” confided Cyril Dardashti shortly after 2300 hours yesterday night.
No passage of “Diamond Head” for Gitana 13
In 2006, during its conclusive east to west crossing of the Pacific, Geronimo completed the course in three stages. In fact, weather conditions were such that Olivier de Kersauson and his crew were pushed onto a very S'ly course. This was so far south that the maxi-trimaran treated itself to two intermediary records (San Francisco / Honolulu then Honolulu / Yokohama) in addition to the North Pacific record crossing. For Lionel Lemonchois and his ten crew, the objective has always been to reduce the reference time for the whole course so the possibility of a passage between the Hawaiian Island was quickly moved to one side. The reasons for this are that the conditions Gitana 13 is currently benefiting from are enabling her to make headway towards the goal without having to round off her trajectory too much. “If the wind had guided us close to Honolulu we'd certainly have attempted the intermediary records, but we're passing too far north of the archipelago to warrant adding additional miles. This is rather good news for the outright crossing record!” added Cyril. Positioned 320 miles north of the island of Maui yesterday night, the maxi-catamaran has since left the Hawaiian archipelago abeam of her, to port.
“This North Pacific crossing is a record you have to hunt down. As a result we haven't eased off the pace since leaving San Francisco so we can get the very best out of Gitana 13!” Their efforts have been rewarded as, after just four days and a few hours on the counter, the maxi-catamaran equipped by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild has held a comfortable lead over Geronimo: 379 miles at the 0830 position report.
Today this NE'ly wind is set to hold as it clocks round progressively to the E and then the SE tomorrow. This rotation will accompany Lionel Lemonchois' men in what will be their only day in a tradewind air flow during this record. According to Sylvain Mondon's forecast, this fifth day at sea also promises to be one of the most productive since the start. Indeed, the combination of strong, established winds and fairly flat seas should enable Gitana 13 to lengthen her stride – the 600 miles covered in 24 hours are likely to be exceeded in principle – and they will be able to open up their lead still further over their virtual rival.