Eclipse of the moon

The Doldrums is now in our wake. Gitana 13 was able to slip along in a narrow vein of wind with 6 to 8 knots of SSE'ly, at the cost of a few gybes and a few long hours spent on port tack at nearly 80° to the direct course. The upshot of this type of sailing is that you can't trace pretty lines across the chart and it comes as no surprise then, that yesterday was our smallest day since Cape Horn, or even since the start of our voyage, namely 176 miles along a great circle route.

The facts that have stood out over the past 24 hours occurred last night. First of all, we passed our first cargo ship since we began sailing in the largest ocean on the planet, the trajectory warranting close monitoring if you please. The vessel struck quite an imposing figure and, bound for Panama, it passed less than quarter of a mile astern of us. The second sighting was by far the most impressive of the day, or the month even, so splendid and unexpected was it. Whilst we were under the spotlight of our second full moon since setting out from New York, it began to turn hazy. We were witnessing a lunar eclipse, the shadow of the earth almost totally masking it. Solely a minute crescent escaped this extinction, the consequence of which was the canopy of heaven, extinguished up to that point, was re-established for a good three hours during the eclipse. Though this phenomenon is not rare in itself according to the various 'specialists' aboard, it was nevertheless the first time for all of us that we'd witnessed such a spectacle at sea.

Until tomorrow

Nicolas Raynaud

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