In order to escape the scorching China Sea, and make our way out into the Indian Ocean in favourable winds in a few days time, we're going to have to battle against the headwinds, which are characteristic of this region at this time of year. In reality, the SE'ly tradewinds which blow this side in the southern hemisphere, are crossing the equator and spilling over into those on the north side as they bend to the south-west: it's the monsoon phenomenon. There is nothing violent for the time being; 13 to 20 knots maximum, and with all the sail aloft Gitana 13 is able to relieve its windward float by thrusting its fine bows into the short little chop at an average speed of 15 knots. It mustn't get any fresher than this! In truth, our proud 33 metre catamaran, loathes this point of sail… As soon as the wind exceeds 20 knots and the seas get bigger, it begins to slam, shake and lash out, and all that makes life on board a real ordeal.
We're closing on the coast of Vietnam. Léo got out some very light foulie tops yesterday which may well prove useful to us very soon as some huge stormy masses are heading up from the equator and are likely to punctuate the next watches with squalls and gusts. There are doubtless a few manœuvres in view.
The local gannets, which have orange feet here, swallow the flying fish as they take off in a bid to escape Gitana 13's hulls.
Dominic Vittet, 200 km to the east of the Vietnamese coast