Flat out on a reach

It is the third night at sea in over 30 knots of wind, the anemometer even witnessing peaks at 35/38 knots. It is the third ink black night where the water is constantly drenching both the deck and the crew. The rewards are good for the speedo though, the latter never seeming to drop below 20/22 knots, despite the big, messy seas and a trajectory as straight as a die, which is saving us miles with each hour that passes. This trajectory was a daring option, others wouldn't have attempted it. We could have made do with a tradewind glide towards Hawaii, but Captain Lionel, still fabulously supported by Sylvain Mondon of Météo France, chose this course which is a shade lively to say the least. Since the start, we have been making a series of “reaching de la mort” manoeuvres. So what exactly is this?

Every sport, every job has its jargon and in this one we have the word 'reaching', from the verb 'to reach'. It designates a point of sail where the boat can reach its goal by adopting a direct course, without having to put in some tack changes. This point of sail is the fastest point of sail for a yacht, which is logical given that it only covers useful miles towards the goal in this instance. However, it is also highly uncomfortable at times, as is the case for us at the moment. Beam on to the wind, beam on to the waves, we hit the sea at full bore, with all the power the 25 tonne Gitana 13 has to offer; the sea as a result explodes into a thousand shards of luminosity as we power through it. As our maxi-catamaran was considerably overhauled during the stopover and after 43 days spent at sea during the previous record we fully understand the boat's capability, so we're willingly driving our steed  onwards.

Until tomorrow

Nicolas Raynaud

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