In the thick of it…
Now the Atlantic is stretching out in front of the multihull fleet. At midday today, the fleet passed Cape Code, the extreme south-west point of Newfoundland. In a 12-18 knot south-westerly wind, the crews have already covered almost 1 000 miles since the Québec start on Sunday evening.

The pace is every bit as sustained as it was before for all twelve multihulls. Karine Fauconnier (Sergio Tacchini) is leading and the first boats have sailed at an average speed of fifteen knots since the start  - in spite of the succession of calm spells throughout the sail down the river, ditto in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and in the Cabot Strait. One minute at 25 knots and the next at 3 knots, the crews have had to keep a permanent lookout to make sure they stayed with the wind as at when it blew. Complex, but typical conditions for these waters. Karine Fauconnier has done an excellent job indeed as she has managed to take a twelve mile lead over the tightly-packed group of followers behind her Sergio Tacchini. But the gaps are never the less wholly insignificant in the context of the start of an Atlantic crossing : 2 000 miles to be covered at a pace which shows no signs of letting up. At last the options will start to become clearer as the trimarans will have to climb north to around 50° to glide over the high pressure system which is currently covering the whole of the ocean . Thereafter, it will be a question of lining up one gybe after another in keeping with the wind shifts.

Gitana 11 is still on the right lines keeping up with the seven other trimarans, as the two Italian boats have made bit of a break away. Karine Fauconnier (Sergio Tacchini) and Giovanni Soldini (TIM-Progetto Italia) are the first to have managed to pull away from Newfoundland whilst Franck Cammas (Groupama) made a pitstop in Saint Pierre to fir a new rudder and laminate the port float which was taking on a little water as a result of the impact. 

The weather is not that stable and the multi fleet sailed past the Newfoundland archipelago in fog, although the temperature remains quite pleasant. A permanent radar lookout is necessary as fishing vessels work on the Banks and it is possible to encounter icebergs which have not yet melted. Anyone sailing these waters has to be particularly attentive. Thankfully as the miles continue to be reeled in, the sun will be starting to show again with the high pressure conditions which have been forecast.


Live from Gitana X


« "The door is closed"! said Luc Poupon, navigator of Gitana X. Roughly translated, what he means by that is that the winds have calmed, almost into insignificance and that things should remain that way until we have passed Saint-Pierre, which is where we reckon we'll be tomorrow [Wednesday] morning. So after a run at more than 25 knots, early this (Tuesday) morning and another after Magdalen Islands as far as the exit of the Gulf of Saint-Lawrence , we are back at a snail's pace once again. Not that serious really, as we can see Banque Populaire, Sopra Group and no doubt Sodebo once again and that we know that the whole fleet is going through the same thing. If we were alone in this situation, we wouldn't be feeling quite the same way about it...

Of course, we very much welcome this general grouping of the fleet a hundred miles from the archipelago. I don't doubt for a moment that the atmosphere on board the other boats is anything but excellent – but speaking for ourselves, it's tip-top ». Marco has put his cap on sideways, a dead giveaway that everything is A1-OK with him. Olivier Wroczynski, his official performer has his eyes fixed well beyond the horizon, keeping his eyes peeled, scanning the skies for the slightest sign of a cyclogenesis (low pressure system on a spatial scale).

Another source of satisfaction - warmth ! All right, not much to write home about, but  reckon that we can never the less describe this as exceptionally warm for this part of the world. On our outward delivery passage to Québec, in these same waters we had our head gear on together with three layers of fleece clothing under our oilskins, in conditions of 100% humidity. Today we are barefoot, in lightweight clothing and have just one layer of fleece on. We're clambering about up on deck to hoist the Code 0 or unroll the Solent , or to change tack – three most popular manoeuvres on Gitana X. »

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