The records follow on one after the other but are not always the same… In contrast to the initial hours of the North Pacific crossing, which saw the crew of Gitana 13 caught off guard, those on the Tea Route are heading off in ‘gentle' mode.
Setting out from Hong Kong yesterday morning, Lionel Lemonchois and his men have benefited from a mild breeze with which to begin their record attempt bound for London. A flat sea and a 10-13 knot breeze, easing with the start of the second day at sea, such are the current weather conditions on offer to the sailors of Gitana Team in order to make headway upwind in the China Sea. However, they won't have long to appreciate the calms: “These conditions are a pleasant way to break into our stride, but they're not enabling us to make good speed towards the goal. We're going to have to hunt down some veins of wind in order to pick up the pace.”
One slight blip in this otherwise idyllic scenario: an unbearable heat: “It's extremely hot here. We're sailing between the Tropic of Cancer and the equator and the sun is pretty vertical as a result. In the sunshine it's between 30 and 40°C, and the temperatures barely drop overnight. This heat being almost unbearable in the gangways and bunks, some of my travelling companions opted for the deck and the skies above the China Sea as the backdrop for their first period of rest” commented the onboard navigator.
In terms of navigation, Lionel Lemonchois and his men are currently continuing southwards on an upwind tack. However, as Dominic Vittet confirmed, the crew of Gitana 13 will change tack over the coming hours in order to close on the Vietnamese coast; the goal being to hunt down a wind which they hope will prove steadier further inshore.
Gitana 13's watch system
There are ten crew aboard Gitana 13 for this record between Hong Kong and London. In order to constantly take turns on the deck of the 33 metre catamaran, the crew have been split into 3 watches of three men. Dominic Vittet, the onboard navigator in charge of the weather onboard, is floating between watches.
Watch No1: Lionel Lemonchois (Skipper / watch leader / helmsman) / Olivier Wroczynski (trimmer /head of computers and power) / David Boileau (Bowman / head of deck fittings)
Watch No.2: Ludovic Aglaor (watch leader / helmsman) / Laurent Mermod (trimmer) / Ronan Le Goff (Bowman)
Watch No.3: Pascal Blouin (Watch leader / helmsman) / Ronan Guérin (trimmer) / Léopold Lucet (No.1, head of supplies and doctor)
Outside the watch system: Dominic Vittet (navigator)