The weather: an exact science?
On Sunday 4 November at 13:02, Gitana 11 started out in the Transat Jacques Vabre. On board, Lionel Lemonchois and Yann Guichard already had a very precise scenario in mind with regard to the route they would take, developed in close collaboration with Sylvain Mondon, their router from Météo France.

All the sources of weather information had agreed on one thing: the start was going to be very calm. Slightly heavier and bulkier than her competitors, Gitana 11 did not stand to benefit from these conditions, as the blue trimaran is at her best in more sustained winds. Consequently, the Gitana 11 trio had devoted the final 24 hours before the start to developing a tactical response, and so it was that from 16:00 on Sunday, she moved markedly to the north of the fleet. This position caused widespread surprise, especially as Lionel and Yann then had to cross an anticyclonic bubble that slowed them down severely, with the result that they slipped several miles behind in the standings. But the crew had expected this scenario, safe in the knowledge that, come mid-afternoon on Monday, the wind would return more strongly from the north-west. At 15:00 on Monday, the trimaran did indeed encounter the expected wind and at 20:00 yesterday, she duly moved to the head of the fleet. This morning, she can be found zipping along at over 28 knots in the ocean off Cape Finisterre. 

Sylvain Mondon, Météo France: “We were totally expecting this scenario. If Gitana 11 had set off on Sunday on the same course as Groupama and Banque Populaire, she would have had no chance under those conditions. Therefore, we made a conscious choice to leave to the North, knowing that the first 24 hours would be no picnic for us or the boat. But it was worth it as it has now paid off.”

Where the monohull fleet is concerned, Loïck Peyron and Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant on Gitana Eighty are still lying third. But promisingly, between 04:00 and 08:00 this morning, the big monohull emblazoned with the Rothschild Group's colours made up over 30 miles on the current leader Safran.

ORMA Ranking - Registered 5 at 12 AM
Place Bateau  Latitude Longitude   Vit.   Cap  Dist. But Dist. 1er
1 Groupama  43 12.36' N  10 52.76' W  22.2  209  3710.0  0.0
2 Banque Populaire 43 18.33' N  11 28.92' W  23.8 206  3714.5  4.5
3 Gitana 11 44 04.38' N  12 38.26' W  24.8  194  3732.2  22.3
4 Brossard  44 36.39' N  12 31.86' W  21.9  214  3762.9  52.9
5 Sopra  44 07.89' N  11 02.21' W  22.6  202  3767.3  57.3

IMOCA Ranking- Registered 17 at 12 AM

Place Bateau  Latitude Longitude   Vit.   Cap  Dist. But Dist. 1er
1 Safran  42 51.66' N  11 15.97' W  18.9  208  3695.5  0.0
2 Foncia  42 39.52' N  10 33.90' W  18.1  261  3699.9  4.4
3 Gitana Eighty  42 44.18' N  10 33.41' W  16.3  204  3704.1  8.6

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