Rounding the high pressure
Setting out from Qingdao late yesterday morning, the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group have set a good pace over the first part of the course. By economising on the number of manoeuvres, and aided by a stronger breeze than originally banked on, Lionel Lemonchois and his crew have managed to rack up the miles. At 1500 hours UT, Gitana 13 was just 403 miles from Taipei.

Sailing at the edge of a zone of high pressure, the 33 metre catamaran had to gybe at the start of the afternoon so as to distance itself from the mass of high pressure shifting slowly eastwards. 

Now clear of the incessant ‘ballet' of cargo ships and fishing boats crossing their route, the sailors of Gitana Team are no less vigilant. The reason for this is that in addition to the craft themselves, it's the drifting nets of the fishermen which are creating hurdles for Gitana 13.

Weather flash from Sylvain Mondon (Météo France)
By arriving in the East China Sea in a moderate 12 to 16 knot NW'ly, Gitana 13 will have to negotiate the approach of a small zone of high pressure. Indeed this pressure, currently situated over the region of Shanghai, is shifting slightly eastwards and will disrupt the N to NW'ly air flow, which has been established on zone since Sunday. At the same time, the wind will clock round to the N once the zone of high pressure approaches. The light winds are arriving via the west and Lionel Lemonchois and his crew will have to make easting for several hours in order to limit the influence of the easing wind.
Over the course of tonight, the N'ly wind will continue to clock round to the NE and then the E, filling to around twenty knots. It is this well organised air flow which will enable Gitana 13 to round to the E of the high pressure and adopt a more direct course towards their goal midway through the night. On Tuesday, once Gitana 13 reaches the SE edge of the zone of high pressure, the E to SE'ly winds will be a lot lighter (10 knots or less), which will temporarily slow the maxi-catamaran's progress.

Once they get past this obstacle, the SE'ly wind will freshen again to between 15 and 20 knots, which will enable Gitana 13 to quickly make the island of Taïwan in downwind conditions, via the Japanese island of Ishigaki.

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