The adventure continues

The Golden Gate Bridge won't take long to appear over the horizon now and, as I write this last onboard commentary for this Route de l'Or, I realise that I have hardly talked about 'life aboard' at all! It has to be said that it's not easy to talk about life when it "runs like a long, calm river". There hasn't been a single slanging match or a to do, the only raised tones related to falling in line with the elements when they play with the decibel levels. It is also worth noting that Gitana 13, in its patent discomfort, is a real palace when you've previously worn out the bottoms of your foulies on the ‘little brothers' that are Gitana 10, Gitana 11 or 12.

In the galley, a prime location for all possible conflicts, the atmosphere here too was flat calm. Save for the occasional giggle, a nice serenity reigned there and we managed, contrary to all expectation, to eat well. That is once you accept of course that adding a little olive oil, some chilli or other peppers to a plate of freeze-dried food suddenly makes food quite palatable. Here it is worth congratulating Léopold Lucet, who took charge of any victualling on shore as well as Thierry Duprey du Vorsent. Besides his role as watch leader, Thierry had the onerous task of managing the storeroom on a daily basis, a mission which he accomplished with great finesse. Yesterday, for our final day, we emptied the ‘fridges'! Our hunt didn't prove too fruitful with just a double helping of 'little nothings', which each day make things just a little better than ordinary: a bar of chocolate, some stewed fruit, a madeleine cake, a cereal bar.

It is also worth thanking our friend Zolive, who has cleverly turned over his little engines to produce energy for us and distil us some high quality water. He has also known how to react with talent to the thousand and one computer worries we've encountered (will it be possible one day not to have any computer problems?). To finish, I doff my cap to all the members of Gitana Team, who worked on preparing the boat so well. The job list is considerable, but only amounts to what is a very normal revision after such a trip. Indeed, a non alerted eye could easily believe that Gitana 13 is just out of the yard, since there's no major work to be performed, just a few quite normal improvements to ensure the machine remains in tip-top condition.

As for the news of the ‘world', learnt thanks to our nearest and dearest via emails, it would seem by all accounts that we'll find it much as it was when we left and indeed that's why we didn't miss it much it has to be said… It remains that the first steps back on land are likely to be very amusing after 43 days of living on a platform moving about in every direction, where the simple crossing of the trampoline to go from one hull to the other always surprises those who undertake it for the first time. However, it is of course with great pleasure that we will conclude this adventure today, which like all things, must come to an end. On the other hand, what is particularly pleasant is that we all know that it will start all over again soon, from the end of March. We're going to make for Yokohama in Japan, this time in a bid to snatch the record between San Francisco and this town. A long 4,482 mile Pacific crossing for which the record has been held since April 2006 by Olivier de Kersauson. On his trimaran Geronimo (34 metres), he sailed a time of 14d 22h 40' 41'. It's up to us to wipe the slate clean then so see you again soon.

Nicolas Raynaud.

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