Cornwall has done everything possible to facilitate the comings and going of the shore teams who have been going backwards and forwards on the pontoons of the Mount Batten Peninsula yacht marina. Each boat is a hive of activity, the persistent sunshine tanning the faces of the men and women who have been putting the finishing touches to work which has been going on for several months now.
Seven days during which everything has been checked and double-checked, before being checked once again. Such is the case on both trimarans of the Gitana Team, where a dozen or so assistants and computing experts have been dotting the « i »'s and crossing the « t »'s. As for the skippers, Fred Le Peutrec and Marc Guillemot are taking a bit of time to concentrate on their race, they are also fully involved sorting out the odds and ends which still require attention. A sail that needs to be installed, provisions loaded, a net tightened or a crew hoisted to the top of the mast. One way of staying in touch with the shore team and keeping up with the final details of the preparation. They have to organise the tiny living space down below to suit their habits and particular quirks in a space no bigger than 2m², where they have their office, galley and dining area.
In the technical area, a few paces from the boat, a motor home serves as Gitana's Team's mobile HQ and is where the weather routers sort out the slightest detail of their weather analyses. Although it's till too early to get a clear idea about the weather for the start, some are daring to venture that conditions are likely to be tough. For the moment, the only thing which is certain, is that the magnificent weather which has been blessing Plymouth for the past week is set to change to rain on Friday.
On Saturday morning, the skippers are going to get down to business with a race briefing session, followed by a group photo call with all 37 single-handed yachtsmen and women - 3 women and 34 men in fact covering four categories, 60-foot multihull, 60-foot monohull, 50-foot multihull and 50-foot monohull.