After the midway mark… the International Date Line
With the midway mark of the course in their wake, Gitana 13 is continuing its ride to Yokohama. Six and a half days after leaving San Francisco, Lionel Lemonchois and his ten crew are maintaining a brisk pace across the North Pacific and had racked up a lead of over 540 miles on the reference time at 0830 hours. However, the second half of the course is already promising to be rather spicy.

"Our night (during the day on Friday GMT) was not very amusing as we had shifty winds both in terms of strength and direction. This forced us to make a few sail changes and meant that the men on watch on deck had to be extremely vigilant. Conditions have become steadier now though and Gitana 13 is flying along at over 20 knots under full mainsail and large gennaker” detailed Léopold Lucet last night.
A few hours prior to that the crew of the maxi-catamaran in the colours of LCF Rothschild Group had proceeded with a gybe, after which they repositioned themselves slightly to the north and gybed again overnight. This morning, Gitana 13 is sailing downwind on port tack, benefiting from a fine Pacific swell to slip along the edge of a ridge of high pressure: “It's like the Russian mountains behind us! It's the first time that the sea has been so well organised and this long swell is quite a sight" recounted Léo.

Making the most of this temporary stability, the standby watch spontaneously got down to a little shaving session, knowing full well that the wind is set to pick up again as the weekend draws to a close. Indeed, the crew of Gitana 13 have a rendez-vous with another cold front, which they're likely to hit on Sunday evening. The S'ly wind will then clock round to the south-west, filling in slightly at the rear of the front. Following on from this, they will encounter 20 to 25 knots of N'ly wind, with gusts possibly reaching 30 knots, so conditions will be rather feisty for the eleven sailors. 

A leap in time at the passage of the International Date Line
In a few hours time Gitana 13 should cross what we refer to as the International Date Line (the opposing meridian to that of Greenwich). The crossing of this imaginary line indicated by the 180th meridian, will mark the maxi-catamaran's passage from the western longitudes to those of the east. However, in addition to the change in longitudes, the international date line will also disrupt the onboard clock, as Sylvain Mondon explains in this email sent to the crew of Gitana 13: “The 5th April will be a very short day for you. Indeed, if you take into account the local time, when you cross 180° you'll lose a day in relation to the local calendar. As a result the end of day will be that of 4th April amongst the Hawaiians, but already that of 5th April amongst the Fijians. Those of you who have already crossed the line in the other direction have experienced the same date twice so it's good to reset the clock from time to time…” concluded the router from Météo France somewhat humorously.

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