Another tranquil night onboard Gitana 13, even though, for the first time in a long while, major dark squalls lie threateningly on the horizon. The equator is now only 220 miles ahead, so we should swallow it up today. The doldrums, lying 5° further north, will be challenging as expected unless they have the good sense to open their door to us as they did during our descent down the Atlantic. This past weekend, two or three jibes notwithstanding, life on the boat was too quiet as the trade winds continued to decline—sometimes to as low as 7 knots. Outcome: two days in which we covered less then 300 miles.
But today, Monday morning, the crew of Gitana 13 is in shock. In his latest email, Météo France's Richard Silvani, who has taken over briefly for Sylvain Mondon, informed us that Groupama 3 capsized after one of its floats broke open. We obviously know the Groupama crew really well; some of them, like Ronan Le Goff, regularly sail on Team Gitana. Like everyone else, we're thankful for the happy ending to this perilous adventure. In retrospect, however, we shudder at the thought of this disaster taking place several days later…Groupama 3 would have been in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, far from help.
Going after records is risky business. Groupama's new trimaran was at the cutting edge of technology, and it performed amazingly well. Ocean adventures must and will continue forth, and we will add our humble stone to the mosaic. Lionel Lemonchois and his crew look forward to catching up very soon with the Groupama team on the rollicking seas of the big blue.