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Tea Route

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Passage of the Sunda Strait
Start of the Tea Route
Passage of the Cape of Good Hope
Arrival of Gitana 13 in London

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A stunning conclusion for Gitana 13

It was at 0522'06'' UT today when the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group slipped past the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at the entrance to the River Thames. Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crew have thus erased the reference time, held by Philippe Monnet since 1990, to become the new holders of the Tea Route record with a time of 41 days 21 hours 26 minutes 34 seconds. Leaving Hong Kong on 14th August 2008, the sailors of Gitana Team covered the 15,312 miles at an average speed...

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24 September
Article

The end of the voyage

After 41 days at sea, the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group is tackling the very last section of its epic voyage. Setting out from Hong Kong on 14th August 2008 in a bid to set a new reference time on the Tea Route, Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crew are continuing their climb up the English Channel and are now just 160 miles from the goal. Gitana 13's arrival is scheduled between tonight and tomorrow morning, Thursday 25th September.

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23 September
Article

Gitana 13 two days from the goal

Setting out from Hong Kong on 14th August 2008 in a bid to establish a new reference time for the Tea Route, the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group is a few hundred miles from its goal, 385 miles away late this morning to be precise. However, despite the short distance Lionel Lemonchois and his crew have left to cover, Gitana 13 is not expected in London before the morning of Thursday 25th September… The reason for this is a nasty NE'ly wind and heavy seas complicating the...

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22 September
Article

Gitana 13 back in familiar waters

The maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group made its entrance into the Bay of Biscay on Sunday afternoon and is this Monday sailing at the latitude of Bordeaux. They are making headway in rather uncomfortable conditions, close-hauled in steady NE'ly winds, combined with short, big seas. However, aboard Gitana 13, Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crew had prepared themselves for these last chaotic miles. At 1315 UT they were 550 miles from their goal.

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20 September
Article

Gitana 13 heading towards Cape Finisterre

The maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group is continuing to make towards Cape Finisterre, which she is set to round tomorrow morning. However, current sailing conditions mean the boat is on a beam reach, which is proving far from relaxing, and requires all the energy from a crew which has already been put to the test by the past 37 days at sea. Though the end of this record attempt between Hong Kong and London is close – Gitana 13 will pass under the 1,000 miles to go barrier...

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19 September
Article

Gitana 13 opens her sails

Aboard the maxi-catamaran equipped by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, there's more of a festive spirit than yesterday. By dint of patience and perseverance, Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crew have managed to switch across to the correct side of the stormy low, which is currently reigning supreme off Madeira. This is excellent news as Gitana 13 can make a direct course towards Cape Finisterre.

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18 September
Article

A relentless North Atlantic for Gitana 13

Aboard the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group, the climb up the North Atlantic is revealing all its subtleties… and its difficulty. Slowed considerably by a long passage across the Doldrums late last week, Lionel Lemonchois and his men are now faced with a meteorological brain-teaser off the Canaries. This will be a tricky section, as will the Bay of Biscay and the last few miles along the English Channel. In plain language, positioned 1,700 miles from London this Thursday...

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17 September
Article

Choice of course

The maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group has left the NE'ly tradewind today to close on a stormy low off Madeira. The negotiation of this phenomenon, which will occupy Lionel Lemonchois and his men over the coming days, is particularly significant as the end of the course and Gitana 13's arrival will depend on this. This morning the maxi-catamaran was positioned less than 2,000 miles from the entrance to the River Thames.

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15 September
Article

Gitana 13 off Cape Verde

It wasn't easy but the Doldrums are now just a memory in Gitana 13's wake as the crew have been sailing on starboard tack in the tradewinds of the northern hemisphere since yesterday afternoon. With over 32 days at sea to their credit, Lionel Lemonchois and his men still have 2,467 miles to cover before they make the Elizabeth II Bridge at the entrance to the River Thames, and the end of their voyage. The maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group is currently passing off the Cape...

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13 September
Article

By dint of patience

This Saturday morning, whilst Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crew are beginning their 30th day at sea in their record attempt between Hong Kong and London, Gitana 13 is sailing abeam of Sierra Leone. Progress is unsteady due to the effects of the Doldrums which don't yet seem to have decided to let go of the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group.

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12 September
Article

An ocean of uncertainty

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12 September
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Gitana 13 searching for the way out

For a few hours, Lionel Lemonchois and his nine man crew have had to face up to the ups and downs of the Doldrums, and are thrashing it out with the whims of the wind Gods in a bid to gain northing. Indeed, the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group will have to find the way out of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone in order to hit the NE'ly tradewinds and finally be able to sail in a more established breeze.

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11 September
Article

Gitana 13 back in the northern hemisphere

Early this morning, 0146 UT, the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group crossed the equator and thus passed back into the northern hemisphere and the North Atlantic. This was a zone that Lionel Lemonchois and his men left in their wake on 23rd January 2008 during the Route de l'Or. After four weeks at sea, the crew of Gitana 13 is no longer very far from the goal – 3,200 miles at 1330 UT –, but the ten days or so that remain promise to be tricky to negotiate. We'll have to wait...

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10 September
Article

Due North

The maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group is fully benefiting from the last traces of the SE'ly tradewind to rack up the miles. An average of 22 knots over the past 24 hours, flat seas and an increase in temperature mean that life has a taste of paradise aboard Gitana 13 today. Sailing this Wednesday morning at 5° south and 13° west, Lionel Lemonchois and his men are set to reach the equator tonight.

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09 September
Article

Gybe towards the equator imminent

After 26 days at sea, Gitana 13 has covered over 8,700 miles and still has 4,200 miles to cover this Tuesday morning to reach the Elizabeth II Bridge at the entrance to the River Thames and the end of its Tea Route voyage. Still making headway to the west in the tradewinds of the southern hemisphere, Lionel Lemonchois and his men will gybe towards the equator and the infamous Doldrums during the course of the day.

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08 September
Article

The island of Saint Helena in Gitana 13's line of sight

Setting out from Hong Kong 25 days ago, Gitana 13 crossed the Greenwich Meridian late morning today and is once again sailing in western longitudes. Positioned 400 miles from the island of Saint Helena and sailing abeam of Angola, the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group is continuing to make headway, still accompanied by a SE'ly tradewind of between 10 and 15 knots. This air flow should nevertheless fill in over the next few hours. In the meantime, Lionel Lemonchois and his...

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07 September
Article

Dreams and realities

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06 September
Article

The SE'ly tradewind in their sails

With all their sails aloft, the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group is now benefiting from some fine conditions, slipping along in a SE'ly air flow characteristic of the southern hemisphere. Positioned in this vein of wind, Lionel Lemonchois and his men are continuing their climb towards the equator and are already considering how they're going to negotiate the famous doldrums. The passage they choose will determine the course adopted by Gitana 13 over the coming days.

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05 September
Article

Slowed pace along the Africa coast

Setting out from Hong Kong on 14th August 2008, Gitana 13 is tackling the climb up the Atlantic having rounded the legendary Cape of Good Hope in the early hours of yesterday. At a reduced pace over the past few hours, the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group is having trouble getting free of the clutches of a zone of light winds this morning. This isn't of great concern though as Lionel Lemonchois and his men know that they're soon to hit the SE'ly tradewinds and thus the expressway...

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04 September
Article

Gitana 13 rounds the Cape of Good Hope

Setting out from Hong Kong on 14th August 2008 in a bid to try and set a new reference time on the Tea Route (Hong Kong / London), the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group rounded the Cape of Good Hope this Thursday morning, shortly before 0600 hours UT. An excellent way for Lionel Lemonchois and his men to celebrate their three weeks at sea. Forced to shelter in Algoa Bay (on the south-east coast of the tip of Africa) for over 36 hours, to let a vicious storm pass over, the...

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03 September
Article

Deliverance approaches

This Wednesday morning, whilst the crew of the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group is attacking its twentieth day at sea, the Agulhas Cape is still 90 miles ahead of their bows. Despite yesterday's forecasts, Gitana 13 is slightly behind schedule which is the result of a difficult day as much for the men as the gear. Grappling with a new front associated with a low, Gitana 13 has suffered, and Lionel Lemonchois and his men are lamenting some damage to the starboard beam up forward....

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02 September
Article

Making towards the cape

After a 48 hour forced stopover in Algoa Bay off the town of Port Elisabeth, the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group headed back out onto the racetrack yesterday, shortly before 1630 hours UT, in its bid to secure the Tea Route record. They are bound for the Agulhas Cape and the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa. Forecasts suggest they are likely to experience some harsh passages, though Lionel Lemonchois and his crew are currently benefiting from a calm period....

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01 September
Article

The storm diminishes for Gitana 13

The storm which passed over the tip of South Africa this weekend fully lived up to expectations! Though gusts onshore did not exceed 55 knots, at sea the wind was more violent. Indeed, to the immediate south of Port Elizabeth the average wind reached 55 knots with gusts approaching 80 knots. Fortunately the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group was able to reach Algoa Bay off Port Elizabeth on Saturday evening, less than an hour before the arrival of the cold front, so they were...

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30 August
Article

Nigthly vigil aboard Gitana 13

In a little less than 24 hours, the storm which is already sweeping across the SW tip of Africa, will reach the east coast. Setting out from Hong Kong 15 days ago in order to attempt a new reference time for the Tea Route (Hong Kong/ London) the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothshild Group will have to face up to this from tomorrow onwards. This Saturday morning, Gitana 13 is still benefiting from a powerful N'ly breeze, blowing at around 35 knots, to make rapid headway towards the South...

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29 August
Article

Awaiting the storm

With the week drawing to a close, the crew of Gitana 13 is preparing to tackle the storm which is set to sweep across the tip of South Africa this weekend. There is a mix of apprehension and impatience aboard the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group. With the primary focus being the safety of his men, Lionel Lemonchois has opted to take a slightly more N'ly course than planned in order to attempt to minimise the effects and consequences of this strong gale.

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28 August
Article

“Good Hope” bars the way to Gitana 13

Setting out from Hong Kong on 14th August 2008 in a bid to set a new reference time along the highly select Tea Route (Hong Kong / London, via the Cape of Good Hope), the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group is approaching the coast of South Africa. However, after making highly rapid progress between the Sunda Strait and the island of Rodrigues, the ten sailors have had to face the whims of the Indian Ocean for the past few days. On the approach to the Cape of Good Hope, all...

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27 August
Article

Indian cogitations

With yesterday enabling 191 miles to be covered, morale was given a real boost for the troops aboard Gitana 13. Down but not beaten, Lionel Lemonchois' men knew they would just have to endure the situation before they could extract themselves from the zones of calm lined up along their course. On the pace again now, working harder than ever, the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group is continuing its ‘Way of the Cross' towards the Cape of Good Hope. However, the renewed activity...

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26 August
Article

The Indian fires its first arrow

The first half of the Indian Ocean and its powerful SE'ly tradewind have proven to be particularly cooperative with the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group. However, as Lionel Lemonchois announced yesterday, things are now becoming complicated. Whilst Gitana 13 was passing not far off the longitude of Mauritius this Tuesday morning, the tradewind was reaching the end of the road and is gradually dying out. Ahead of the bows of the giant of the seas a complicated weather situation...

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25 August
Article

Reduced pace on the cards

Since entering the Indian Ocean last Thursday, the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group has been throwing the dials into turmoil and devouring the miles with a certain ease. However, though the first half of the Indian was covered in express mode, 2,500 miles sailed in four days, the miles which still separate Gitana 13 from the Cape of Good Hope will likely cause Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crew no end of trouble.

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23 August
Article

Gitana 13 on the shipping lanes

Under gennaker in a more organised swell, the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group is continuing its east to west passage across the Indian Ocean. At an average of 27 knots for the past 24 hours, Gitana 13 is devouring the miles as it racks up over 650 mile days. It is an ideal scenario which nevertheless requires the utmost concentration at the helm.

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22 August
Article

Gitana 13 devours the Indian Ocean

After a week marked by the incessant crossings of fishing boats and other typical craft of the region, Gitana 13 is now flying solo in the Indian Ocean. The maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group, pushed by a powerful SE'ly tradewind, is finally able to lengthen her stride and rack up a good number of miles. The scenario is an appealing one to Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crew.

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21 August
Article

Gitana 13 aboard the Indian Ocean Express

The weather window selected by the crew of Gitana 13 to set out on the Tea Route record has proven to be the right one. Heading off from Hong Kong on Thursday 14th August at 07h55'32''(UT), following on from the influence of the tropical storm “Kammuri” and prior to the arrival of typhoon “Nuri”, the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group has racked up a great time to the Sunda Strait, despite conditions which did little to favour performance. Passing through the passage last...

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20 August
Article

Gitana 13 en route to the Java Sea

The maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group has been sailing in southern latitudes since last night. After a fifth and rather unproductive day at sea, Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crew crossed the equator shortly before midnight (UT). This passage into the southern hemisphere, combined with the establishing of the SE'ly tradewinds marks a new start in the record attempt between Hong Kong and London. This Wednesday morning, the Sunda Strait was just 200 miles ahead of the bows...

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19 August
Article

Magical night aboard Gitana 13

After setting out from Hong Kong last Thursday to tackle the seventh and final record of its 2008 campaign, The Tea Route, the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group passed offshore of the island of Borneo in south-east Asia this Tuesday 19th August. Yesterday, Lionel Lemonchois and his men were preparing to cross a zone of light winds, but the mysteries of the weather had an entirely different scenario in store for them. According to the latest forecasts, Gitana 13 will be sailing...

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18 August
Article

Borneo bound

Lionel Lemonchois and his men are beginning their 5th day at sea on their record attempt between Hong Kong and London. With less than 1,000 miles covered along the route since their departure last Thursday, the start of this Tea Route matches the forecasts made by the skipper of Gitana 13. Lionel Lemonchois knew these initial days of sailing wouldn't be very productive in terms of making headway along the course. Fortunately though, the trend should soon be reversed as they hit the SE'ly tradewinds…

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17 August
Article

Beating in the monsoon

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16 August
Article

The ‘agonies' of the China Sea

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16 August
Article

Weaving through the summer monsoon

The pace has slightly picked up aboard the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group. Setting out from Hong Kong on Thursday morning in their bid to establish a new reference time between the Asian city and London, Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crew are still making headway upwind across the China Sea, around 200 miles from the Vietnamese coast.

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15 August
Article

A gentle take-off for Gitana 13

The clock has been ticking for the past 24 hours aboard Gitana 13. Indeed the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group set off yesterday morning, Thursday 14th August at 0755'32'' UT, leaving Hong Kong in its wake. As per usual these initial hours at sea have been an opportunity for the ten crew to find their sea-legs: the habitual crew rediscovering their marks and the newcomers Pascal Blouin, Ronan Guérin and Laurent Mermod finding them.

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14 August
Article

Gitana 13, from the Orient to the Occident

Whilst the Summer Olympics are in full swing in China, Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crew have bid farewell to Asia. The maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group crossed the start line of the Tea Route – Hong Kong / London – this Thursday 14th August at 0755'32” UT (1555'32” local time). On this course spanning over 14,000 miles the sailors of Gitana Team are targeting a time of around forty days to make Europe and the city of London.

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13 August
Article

A window opens for Gitana 13

On standby in Hong Kong to set off on the Tea Route, the crew of Gitana 13 may well take centre stage tomorrow, Thursday 14th August. Indeed, with the boat ready to go and all the crew on Chinese soil, all that remained was a favourable weather window for the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group to set off. This window now seems to have opened…

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06 August
Article

Gitana 13's departure approaches

The maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group was relaunched yesterday, Tuesday 5th August, in Hong Kong. After over a month on the hard and around 2 weeks' refit, Gitana 13 is all set to go on this last challenge in their 2008 record campaign: the Tea Route; 15,000 miles to cover from Hong Kong to London leaving the Cape of Good Hope to starboard. Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crewmen will set off on this rather atypical course in the coming days.

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