Riding the northeast trades
Gitana 13 left New York on Wednesday, January 16 and is continuing its southward journey on the Atlantic Ocean at a fast clip that should allow Lionel Lemonchois and his crew to reach the Doldrums on Monday.

The maxi-catamaran from Baron Benjamin de Rothschild's fleet has been cruising along in northern-hemisphere trade winds for more than 24 hours. According to Dominic Vittet, Gitana 13 has been taking advantage of “a powerful breeze between 25 and 30 knots” to lengthen her stride.
After covering more than 600 miles yesterday, Gitana 13's crew is not backing off. The numerous sail changes dictated by unstable weather conditions have created an atmosphere of concentration onboard. They also led Lionel Lemonchois to enlist navigator Dominic Vittet, who is normally off-watch, to take turns spelling the crew so they can get longer rest periods. Nicolas Raynaud deftly describes the situation in his latest “Comment onboard.”

Heading for the meteorological equator

The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), commonly referred to by sailors as the Doldrums, is one of the first meteorological curiosities that Gitana 13 will encounter between New York and San Francisco. This well known zone feared for its violent squalls and erratic winds is where winds from the northern and southern hemispheres meet. The maxi-catamaran will enter the Doldrums—which are always a wild card—in the next few hours.

Lionel Lemonchois and his crew send their congratulations to Francis Joyon

During the night between Saturday and Sunday, January 20, sailor Francis Joyon pulled off a major feat by completing a solo round-the-world trip in 57 days, 13 hours and 34 minutes. In so doing he reclaimed the record from Ellen MacArthur by more than two weeks. From their map table, Gitana 13's crew saluted the magnificent performance of the Breton sailor. Dominic Vittet spoke for the team: “Since leaving New York, we have of course been following Francis Joyon's record attempt over the internet. Sunday morning, when we saw his achievement and the final time of his solo trip around the world, we were really impressed by the guy. Hats off to Mr. Ocean Racing!”

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