Faster than the route plan

Yesterday was quite simply our best day since rounding Cape Horn. We are 400 miles closer to our goal, even though we actually covered 520 miles on the big blue. It was a good day, with no sail changes. The only maneuver was a few jibes to try to stay in the good channel of wind generated by the Easter Island high-pressure system. Like the Pacific Ocean, this high-pressure system is enormous, and it's taking a long time to get past. But what's key is that we're blowing away all the route projections. We've gotten ahead of them, and this is a good sign, because this savvy computer program combines the wind fields expected in the coming days with Gitana 13's performance (polar speed) to produce the best route to follow to get the most out of the expected wind conditions.

Now, Dead Cloud has now earned the right to be called Big Dead Cloud. This nickname fits navigator Dominic Vittet like a glove. He's one of those people who like to talk with their hands. He's always using one hand to show the position of a high-pressure center, and the other to show an isobaric curve that becomes the wind direction...his hands move through space in a strange ballet of ridges, fronts and other wind fields. Someone trained in sign language would have trouble following do we sometimes. But since Big Dead Cloud is also really talkative, we all act like we understand otherwise he'll just go on and on.

This is how our days go by...under blue or gray skies, each day bringing a sunrise that, weather bright or not, presents a beautiful spectacle. The highlight of the day yesterday was undoubtedly our leeward passage of two “pebbles” lost in the middle of this void, 500 miles from the coast of Chile: San Ambrosio and San Felix islands. San Felix, which is bigger at two miles long, is covered in antennas and huts with a landing strip.  Must be a military base serving also as a weather station. This strip of land, without any apparent plant life, didn't make us want to stop, and that's perfectly fine with me.


Nicolas Raynaud

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