D + 1 - Up there with the leading pack !
After having left Cherbourg (Channel) on Sunday 11th May at 3.00 p.m. French time (GMT + 2), Gitana rounded the tip of Brittany around 5 o'clock this morning Monday 12th May in the wake of the best trimarans on the circuit. At the midday check-in, Gitana was 9th ahead of Sopra Group and Sergio Tacchini, just 31 miles behind the leader Belgacom.

After a night at sea, Gitana has shown that she can keep up with the best of the trimarans in strong seas and winds. "We had the Solent (headsail) and mainsail up right throughout the night in a steady 20-knots blow (37 km/h)", explained the boat's navigator Marc Guessard during today's radio chat session with the Challenge Mondial Assistance (Yacht Club de France) Race Headquarters in Paris.

A life size test for Gitana thereby demonstrating her ability to keep pace with the top boats in the class. "We sailed the rocky waters of the Four and the Raz de Sein (tip of Brittany)" continued the navigator "and we are going to attack south compared with the rest of the fleet. That might enable us to keep up with the leaders".

Two small technical hitches quickly resolved

Overnight, Olivier Wroczynski alias Zolive worked a couple of small "miracles". In record time, he repaired a small leak which allowed water to fall onto the electrical control panel and managed to get the stove working again. "Difficult to imagine sailing this race without anything warm to eat !" joked Marc Guessart.

And as Gitana dives south at a steady speed, the aim of the game will be to anticipate a change in wind direction as they approach the small low ahead. No storm in store but perhaps some important tactical tricks to be pulled off before attacking Cape Finisterre (north-western tip of Spain) and heading down to Gibraltar.

Challenge Mondial Assistance

Cherbourg (F) Channel / Rimini (It) / Adriatic. 2734 miles (5063 km)
Start 11th May 2003
Finish between 19th and 23rd May 2003
Races in Rimini on 23rd and 24th May
Distance remaining to finish : 2455 miles (4546 km)

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