It was at 09h58'19'' UT that Lionel Lemonchois and his men left the future race zone of the Peking Olympics in their wake, benefiting from a SW'ly air flow of around fifteen knots. After a cloudy and rainy start to the course, the crew of the maxi-catamaran equipped by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild are set to encounter more clement conditions as they head offshore. This improvement in the weather forecast is synonymous with more acceptable visibility, which is something the skipper of Gitana 13 will be pretty happy about after thick fog during their last record between Dalian and Qingdao.
According to the latest forecasts from Sylvain Mondon, a large part of this new record is likely to involve downwind conditions, with medium winds which may temporarily climb to around 25 knots.
However, the men of Gitana 13 will have to round to the east of a zone of high pressure, lining up across their route, in order to make the Japanese island of Ishigaki; an island situated nearly 100 miles to the east of Taiwan and constituting the last waypoint for Lionel Lemonchois and his men prior to Taipei.