The maxi-catamaran equipped by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild had to wait five days at the doorstep of Cape Horn due to bad weather. Following one last night in the shelter of Tierra del Fuego, Gitana 13 should be back on its way to San Francisco this morning. Lionel Lemonchois and his crew of nine are back to the business at hand: trying to beat the Route de l'Or record.

“When we round Cape Horn, the wind should have weakened to 25 knots...but the hundred or so miles we need to cover to get there won't be a pleasure cruise!” said Dominic Vittet. This is because the 33-meter catamaran will have to sail close-hauled (Ed.: into the wind) all the way to the tip of South America. This wind angle is not the most comfortable, especially for catamarans and other multihulls.

Fortunately, once they are past the legendary promontory, Team Gitana expects the winds to wheel around to the east-southeast, which means a reaching wind: “50 miles after the Horn, the wind will turn, and this will be to our advantage. We'll be able to sail north-northwest toward the next low-pressure system,” said the onboard navigator.

The team expects to round Cape Horn Thursday evening or Friday morning. This will depend on Gitana 13's speed upwind over the 110 nautical miles separating Lemaire Channel from the famous rock and on the actual state of the seas and strength of the wind. Even with a reaching wind, the subsequent trip up the rocky coast of Chile promises to be challenging.

In the crew's words

“We're obviously thrilled that the wait is over. Because of the weather, we had no other choice but to lay low. But it's hard to be patient zigzagging along the coast since we're in a race against the clock. Still, it's fitting to find ourselves in a situation like those we read about in histories of Cape Horn. It adds magic to the surroundings and to our adventure,” said Olivier Wroczynski.

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