The shortest of days

The miles are rolling by and the sheets are heating up on the winches as easing them has become necessary to control Gitana 13, which is climbing high up into the air. With the large gennaker, full mainsail and at times the genoa staysail, which we furl in or unfurl on request, there is over 1,000 m2 of sail area, pulling us towards the goal. The ‘NEE'ly' wind, as we often call it, shifty both in strength and direction, jumps from 23 to 30 knots without any problem, oscillating between 50 and 80°. As a result we ease and haul on in order to control the trim of our platform, which is greedily devouring the Pacific. To add a little spice to what is already a rather 'tricky' situation, the stars are hidden behind a fine layer of cloud and there is only a quarter of a moon, not enough to light our way. As a result, we were enveloped in a pitch black night again, after a day where the sun ended up being more absent than present.

As we make our way along the “Midway Islands”, a high spot for the battle of the Pacific, with its submerged volcanoes and a sea-bed that rises from 5,000 metres to less than 20 at times, we're preparing to spend some very short days aboard. The International Date Line is just 400 miles ahead of us this Friday 4th April at 1300 hours UT. This evening we're going to shift over from a western longitude to an eastern one. The effect of this on the time is that the 5th and 6th April will only last 12 hours each according to the experts in time difference. This won't make much odds to us, given that the notion of time out here is always highly relative. As the onboard logbook disappeared long ago from our chart table, it's thanks to our instruments, GPS and other computers, that we even know what date it is today.

Until tomorrow

Nicolas Raynaud

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