Less than 1,000 miles to the goal
After setting out from New York over thirty nine days ago to challenge the Route de l'Or record, Gitana 13 passed under the symbolic barrier of 1,000 miles to go, shortly before midnight last night. Currently off the coast of Mexico (State of Lower Southern California), Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crew are on the final sprint to San Francisco.

For over three days, the maxi-catamaran equipped by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild has benefited from a NE'ly air flow of around fifteen knots, to climb northwards with the ridge of high pressure. These stable conditions associated with relatively calm seas have enabled Lionel Lemonchois and his men to rack up some fine average speeds throughout the weekend. “We are upwind but our sheets are eased slightly at 60°to the wind, under full mainsail and solent. The seas are fairly moderate, which is enabling us to hold onto raised speeds, even though it's not a point of sail our steed is particularly fond of!” highlighted Dominic Vittet.

On deck the odd bit of spray, which brushes Gitana 13's trampolines, authorises the sporting of light foulies. This attire is quite adequate in the still pleasant temperatures, which are reigning off Mexico.

On a NW'ly heading, the 33 metre catamaran is rounding its trajectory to conserve a favourable wind angle. This is set to be the case until midway through the week, when Lionel Lemonchois and his crew change over onto another point of sail; a compulsory tack to make San Francisco bay with the help of what they hope will be a NNW'ly air flow. “We are still on starboard tack and will be for another two days. According to the latest forecasts we'll have at least one tack to perform 24 or 36 hours before our arrival, as we are going to stumble across the edge of the zone of high pressure. However, other small tack changes may be envisaged in order to remain in a good vein of wind.”

Given the latest routing, Dominic Vittet estimates that Gitana 13 could reach the foot of the infamous Golden Gate Bridge on the afternoon of Thursday 28th February (US time) and thus conclude what has been a tremendous adventure lasting over six weeks. In the meantime, some fine hours of sailing still lie in store for the ten sailors of the Gitana Team.

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