For nearly two weeks, we've been experiencing a calmer platform, slipping along gently on the big blue. Since late yesterday morning though, we have been rediscovering a bouncing Gitana 13, ploughing with all its might into the short seas characteristic of the tradewinds. The transition between the exit from the Doldrums, at 12° North and the 18/22 knots of NE'ly wind, has been extremely quick since it was all over within the space of a watch. For some hours we sailed under one reef and staysail, but for the time being we're carving out our course under full mainsail and solent, close hauled, virtually on a direct course towards San Francisco. The appraisal from the past 24 hours is 274 miles gained along the great circle route, whilst we're reckoning on gaining a daily 300 to 350 miles over the coming days. We know what's on the menu: upwind and more upwind lie in store for us over the last 1,600 miles of this Route de l'Or.

This upwind sailing has generated the first damage since our departure 36 days ago. A headsail sheet ring attachment, used to trim the foresails, has pulled out of its support at the end of the track. This minor damage was quickly brought under control and involved just half an hour of sailing under mainsail alone. Sailing like this is also rather inconvenient: the atmosphere inside the hulls is suffocating as it's now impossible to open the hatches and thus create the slightest draft. The water is still at 28° and the sun is making us white hot under our foulies, the wearing of which are nevertheless compulsory 'since it makes us damp'. Fortunately, on deck, the ventilation isn't lacking... This inconvenience is only fleeting however as, with our climb to the NNW, we'll very quickly leave the tropical stickiness behind us and regain the pleasures of a more ‘temperate' climate.

Have a good weekend

Nicolas Raynaud

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