A question of time

Today it is our 40th day of sailing on the big blue. Suffice to say that for the majority of us, seven out of ten to be precise, we have largely exceeded our previous time spent at sea. It is rare to tackle courses as long as this, the sole exception being that of the non-stop round the world voyages. Lionel Lemonchois, Ludovic Aglaor and Florent Chastel were together aboard Orange 2 during the Jules Verne Trophy for just over 50 days. However, the prize for the ‘longest time at sea' evidently goes to our skipper. On this same Route de l'Or in 1994, on the monohull skippered by Isabelle Autissier, Lionel snatched the record in a time of 62d 5h 55'!

It remains that time at sea is a rather abstract concept. Six days ago, we were passing the equator, six days that we haven't noticed go by. This wasn't the case during the climb downwind along the Easter Island high. Indeed there, whilst the sailing conditions were 'idyllic', the days appeared to be more drawn out. This was doubtless due to our inactivity because since we've been on the move again, like this weekend with a fine upwind navigation under skies of an incredible pureness, the watches have been absolutely flying by.

This 40th day is also the opportunity to celebrate our symbolic passage under the barrier of 1,000 miles remaining until we cross the finish line situated, not under the Golden Gate Bridge, but at the foot of the no less renowned prison of Alcatraz. We hope to reach this islet in the middle of San Francisco Bay, a site now playing host to tourist visits, on Thursday 28th February. With 700 miles covered during the past 48 hours and similar sailing conditions forecast, we may well get there a little earlier. Here we have this N'ly wind of around fifteen knots then, forbidding a direct course. To make our destination, we're going to have to put in some tacks, thus extending our course. We'll do everything we can to get there as soon as possible, but that won't prevent us from making the most of the final days of what is a beautiful, long voyage.

Until tomorrow
Nicolas Raynaud

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