Flying fish, sun, azure blue sky, squall line...the tradewinds can't be far off. We haven't reached them yet, but we're making good progress.
These conditions are our reward after a tenser-than-expected start. Here's the play-by-play from Dominic Vittet, our navigator. “The window was narrow, and turned out even narrower than expected. We slipped through a mouse hole. In New York, less than 12 hours after we left, a storm came up from the southwest, surely with snow. It was this depression that drove the ridge that we left with. It could have engulfed us, because it was moving faster than expected (Ed.: the winds were calm at first before a strong headwind rose). We managed to stay ahead of it, in the good north-northwest air current. We made out well, that part was a success and now we'll see how it goes when we reach the trades. We'll know in less than 48 hours, and it looks good.”
Apart from the big gennaker, the full suite of Gitana 13's sails has been put to use, most of them twice. Yesterday, David Boileau, who has kept Gitana 13 healthy over the past year, admitted that he was exhausted. We could have all said the same thing. “The convoy to New York, the start and then all the maneuvers—I don't remember the last time I slept. I don't know what day it is anymore, or for how long we've been at sea. Today is better, the day has been calmer even though there was still work to do on deck.” With the small gennaker and genoa staysail up, a reef in the mainsail—or not, as necessary—we managed to chalk up 545 miles in the last 24 hours. “In four days we can be at the equator,” Lionel Lemonchois announced at the change of watch. He is steering Gitana 13 like he steered Gitana 11: with a sure and determined hand. We'll be kept busy...