New reference time between Yokohama and Dalian for Gitana 13
At 02h14'56'' UT this morning, Lionel Lemonchois and his seven crew crossed the finish line of the Yokohama – Dalian record. In so doing Gitana 13 and her men have established a new reference time by making the Chinese port in 3 days 20 hours 19 minutes and 11 seconds. Ellen MacArthur's reference time in 2006 (7 days 3 hours 8 minutes) has thus been improved upon by 3 days.
Yokohama – Dalian: 1,215 miles dotted with hazards

This 1,215 mile course has been highly varied in terms of the weather. Setting out from Yokohama on Thursday 8th May at 05h55'45'' UT, the maxi-catamaran in the colours of LCF Rothschild Group had a gentle start to the record, with the initial miles sailed at a fairly reduced pace in order to extract themselves from Tokyo Bay. However, Lionel Lemonchois and his seven crew quickly hit more air, enabling them to lengthen their stride. Over the course of Friday night, during the passage of the Osumi straits at the SW tip of Japan, the sailors of Gitana Team experienced their usual ‘allotted gale' for this particular record. Indeed the anemometer climbed as high as 57 knots, whilst the catamaran was on a reach. However, a few miles further down the track, during Gitana 13's slog along the coast of Southern Korean, it was a zone of high pressure that the eight sailors had to negotiate this time round. “We experienced several radical changes in weather; we set off in calm conditions and sunshine, then very quickly after that we hit some air and then a gale for a 24 hour period. Gitana 13 was then sailing with just three reefs in the mainsail; the big swell producing quite a spectacle" confided Léopold Lucet 

On his arrival on shore, the skipper of Gitana 13 looked back at the last few miles of their journey in the Yellow Sea: “Our third and final night at sea was fairly complicated… We had to slalom our way between the fishing boats, the cargo ships and the drifting fishing nets, the whole thing coloured by virtually no visibility. We weren't unhappy to get safely into port! Our course and this arrival in China has all been a really enjoyable change of scene! We're really very privileged to be able to come and sail in this part of the globe, as few boats have this opportunity. We're well aware of our good fortune aboard Gitana 13.”

Gitana 13 will spend a few days in Dalian prior to taking to the high seas again, bound for Qingdao, a city which will play host to the sailing events in the Beijing Olympic Games this coming August.

The crew of Gitana 13 between Yokohama and Dalian

Lionel Lemonchois (Skipper / helmsman / watch leader) 
Ludovic Aglaor (helmsman/ watch leader)
Jean-Baptiste Levaillant (helmsman/ watch leader)
Olivier Wroczynski (trimmer /computer manager) 
Nicolas Raynaud (trimmer / video manager)
Antoine Mermod (trimmer) 
David Boileau (N0.2 / trimmer/ head of deck fittings)
Léopold Lucet (N0.1 /head of supplies and medical needs) 

Gitana 13's records

North Pacific Crossing (San Francisco – Yokohama): in 11 days 12 minutes 55 seconds (April 2008)
Route de l'Or (New York – San Francisco, via Cape Horn): in 43 days 3 minutes 18 seconds (February 2008)

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