Off the coast of Brazil
Gitana 13 exited the Doldrums yesterday morning and since then has gradually picked up a more sustained air current in the form of easterly winds from the Saint Helena high-pressure system. On Thursday morning, the maxi-catamaran equipped by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild was sailing off Recife, on the northeast coast of Brazil.

With their equator crossing on Wednesday 23 January at 8:24am—after just 6 days, 14 hours and 52 minutes at sea—Lionel Lemonchois and his crew of nine have already delivered an impressive performance on the route leading Gitana 13 from New York to San Francisco.

For four of the ten men onboard, this incursion into the South Atlantic represents a first. For Lemonchois, however, this is his 13th equator crossing. Given the early hour of the crossing, Team Gitana did not perform any particular ritual when they crossed the “line” separating the northern and southern hemispheres. A mood of concentration and caution prevail among the crew.

The coming miles
Gitana 13's average speed, which had slipped to 10-15 knots for more than 24 hours, climbed back above 20 knots last night. This pace should increase further during the day and remain there for around 48 hours. “The next stretch is shaping up pretty nicely for us, and the descent toward Cape Horn looks like it will be fast despite a tricky passage that we'll have to negotiate in the next two days. We'll be on a beam reach until we're opposite Rio de Janeiro and the wind moves aft, but then it should be back abeam the rest of the way to the Horn,” said onboard navigator Dominic Vittet.

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