Back to the northern hemisphere

"We've seen the Statue of Liberty, the equator, Cape Horn, and now the equator again. All that's left is the Golden Gate Bridge,” mused Lionel while we were all together in the windward hull. In the final rays of the setting set, we shared the only bottle of red wine brought onboard, a 2003 Château Clarke, and ate what was left of the cured ham. The equator is behind us, we crossed it today, Tuesday 19 February, at 00:56'39' UT, eleven days and one hour after rounding Cape Horn. San Francisco is now less than 2,500 miles away, but our path looks as though it will be littered with obstacles.

Since yesterday morning, the horizon has hung heavy with gray/black clouds. We haven't yet reached the doldrums, far from it, but life onboard Gitana 13 has gotten busier. While the crew has made minor sail adjustments over the past ten days, now we're playing with our whole sail wardrobe in response to capricious wind changes. Big gennaker, solent, small gennaker, in the tropical heat, scarcely refreshed by a little rain, we are back to trimming the sheets with the coffee grinder. This little game of matching the sail to the weather will go on for awhile, given the uncertain weather forecasts.

On the menu: the doldrums starting tomorrow, then some close-hauled sailing, followed by a high-pressure ridge, then more close-hauled. We then hope very much to hit a front, which would mean cruising along for a bit on a reach.  This is an extremely simplified menu, of course. And Big Dead Cloud is sending out smoke signals one after the next to try to get a better idea of things. Today, we are full of patient hope; 33 days at sea teaches one to be philosophical, and a little more waiting won't upset us.


Nicolas Raynaud

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