With almost the equivalent of a round the world in its wake, it's time for a summer break for the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group. After six months sailing and as many record times gleaned by the crew of Gitana 13, the analysis is rather positive for Lionel Lemonchois' men. Setting out from New York on 16th January 2008, the sailors of Gitana Team have successfully completed the series of records and reference times they were targeting: the Route de l'Or, the North Pacific Crossing and then the Asian tour from Yokohama to Hong Kong, via Dalian, Qingdao and Taipei.
“Since we set out from the foot of the Statue of Liberty last January, everything has linked together very well, as much on a sporting level as a technical one. The reference time for the Route de l'Or was totally accessible since it was held by a monohull, but this first course proved no less demanding or complicated, with nearly 43 days at sea and the east to west passage of Cape Horn. Following that there was the North Pacific, where we beat the time set by Geronimo (Olivier de Kersauson's maxi-trimaran) by nearly 4 days. Finally, we had our various Asian records which comprised a wealth of encounters both on the water and during our different stopovers" explained Lionel Lemonchois.
On Saturday 14th June, the 33 metre maxi-catamaran was lifted out of the water, not far from Hong Kong, for a few weeks summer refit. Besides the rig, which will be replaced in its entirety, the crew of Gitana 13 will make the most of this downtime to redo the appendage coatings (rudders and centreboard), manhandled by the numerous encounters with drifting fishing nets in the China Sea. It will also be an opportunity to perform a complete check-up of the boat; a necessary general validation session after sailing over 21,000 miles in, at times, harsh conditions.
The next challenge for Lionel Lemonchois and his crew is none other than the Tea Route, a course covering nearly 15,000 miles between Hong Kong and London. Gitana 13 will attack this new record, held since 1990 by Philippe Monnet (single-handed in a multihull) in 67 days 10 hours and 26 minutes. The departure is scheduled over the course of the summer.
Gitana 13's records
The Route de l'Or* (New York – San Francisco, via Cape Horn): 43 days 3 minutes and 18 seconds
The North Pacific Crossing* (San Francisco – Yokohama): 11 days 12 minutes and 55 seconds
Taipei – Hong Kong*: 1 day 45 minutes and 59 seconds
*records approved by the WSSRC
The new reference times
Yokohama – Dalian: 3 days 20 hours 19 minutes 11 seconds
Dalian – Qingdao: 23 hours 50 minutes 20 seconds
Qingdao – Taipei: 3 days 52 minutes 15 seconds