Gitana 13 has taken shelter in the Patagonian archipelago but is still experiencing the effects of the storms raging several miles away: “The wind hasn't dropped below 28 knots in three days, and yesterday evening another front came through with 37-38 knots of wind! Damn tough conditions. The seas were pretty choppy, but we were able to find shelter near the coast of Tierra del Fuego. We are being powered only by the mast (Ed.: No sails are up), whose 40m2 of surface area is enough to push us along slowly” said Dominic Vittet.
While it is difficult to relax under such conditions, the onboard navigator hasn't lost his humor: "We have 30 knots of VMG...and by that I mean Vent Minimum Garanti (Ed.: Guaranteed Minimum Wind)!”
The situation currently faced by the maxi-catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild is a poignant—albeit possibly superfluous—reminder of how formidable the record is between New York and San Francisco. On this commercial route, which was used in the past by large merchant sailing ships, many a ship has been turned away by Cape Horn. The most determined among them would spend months loitering around the South American coast before being able to reach the Pacific Ocean. Others gave up more easily and went the other way around Antarctica to their destination.
Onboard Gitana 13, there is no alternate route. The ten sailors have no choice but to lay low and be ready to resume their voyage as soon as the weather improves. Their wish may be granted on Thursday, because the elements appear to be calming down. Team Gitana will once again enter Lemaire Channel—the fifth time in five days—in order to round Cape Horn Thursday night. They will have their work cut out for them, as they will have to tack their way past the famous rock.