A fourth record for Gitana 13 then, the latest one taking 23h50'20''… Setting out from Dalian yesterday, Friday 15th May, at 05h46'18'' UT, Lionel Lemonchois and his six crew crossed the finish line, situated off the Olympic port of Qingdao this Saturday morning at 05h37'18'' UT. In so doing, yet another new record falls to the highly successful Gitana Team.
Nevertheless, despite the short distance to be covered – 258 miles – this record between Dalian and Qingdao wasn't the least bit relaxing for the crew of the catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group. There was little wind on the course, but very poor visibility, which would have left the crew very little respite: “This record felt like an eternity… The miles which separate Dalian from Qingdao were particularly stressful. This corner of the globe is extremely busy: fishing boats, cargo ships, drifting nets without buoys… and we had to sail at 80% to the route in thick fog. In normal weather, you have to watch the situation and be on a permanent look-out, so with the addition of fog it's horrendous! Last night, we couldn't see Gitana 13's bowsprit …
The wind never blew very hard – an average wind of 8-10 knots – but given the visibility I have to say that the light conditions suited us rather well. I don't think we could have gone much quicker, even if the wind conditions had allowed.”
Moored in the Olympic port of Qingdao since this morning, the crew have been marvelling at the future playing field for the Olympic sailing events: “Everything's ready to play host to the Games; the port is new and ultra-modern as a result. Léo and I came here about a year ago to do a spot of pinpointing, and since this visit the city has radically changed. I feel like I'm discovering another city, which is very innovative in its architecture.”
Gitana 13's stopover within this Olympic framework won't last long however. The 33 metre maxi-catamaran may well set a course for Taipei (Taiwan) as early as tomorrow.
*1 day 2 minutes and 53 seconds