Last Friday, at the exit to the Doldrums, Lionel Lemonchois envisaged Gitana 13's last few days at sea as a ‘punishment'; with long hours of upwind conditions, unfavourable to the performance of the 33 metre catamaran. However, despite having to try to make headway in headwinds, they are benefiting from a slightly more open angle – from the NE – as well as a less powerful air flow than that forecast. A combination, which is enabling them to rack up over 370 miles per day despite slightly bigger seas over the past few hours: “We have suffered the remains of a N'ly swell stemming from a large low, which crossed the latitude of San Francisco. However, the seas should gradually become more organised and enable us to slip along again. We are doing better than the routing but we're sailing safe and as soon as the wind climbs beyond 25 knots we'll ease off the pace. Gitana 13 really performs well close-hauled between 13 and 18 knots. This corresponds with the conditions we have benefited from in the main throughout the weekend and yesterday” specified Lionel Lemonchois.
At the start of the afternoon, the crew of the maxi-catamaran, equipped by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, should change over onto a port tack towards San Francisco, in a NW'ly air flow. The miles covered now will count towards the number of miles made good along the course, that is unless Lionel Lemonchois and his men have to perform any further manoeuvres to adapt to the wind fluctuations.
In a good humoured atmosphere, the end of this course is being accompanied by some great moments aboard Gitana 13. In this way, the symbolic barrier of 1,000 miles left to go was crossed on Sunday night and was rightly celebrated: “Certain ‘small pleasures' were embarked to celebrate a few important passages such as crossing the equator on two occasions… We drank to our passage under the 1,000 miles to go with a small ginger rum and some squares of chocolate!" said the skipper of Gitana 13 gleefully.
The maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group passed the Mexican coastline of Lower California this morning. Its arrival in San Francisco is still estimated to be on Thursday 28th February (US time), that is eight hours on from French time given the time difference.