Ludovic Aglaor, one of the three watch leaders/helmsmen onboard Gitana 13, describes the mixed conditions faced by skipper Lemonchois's and his crew in the past 48 hours: “During the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, we were being carried along by a powerful wind, with two reefs in the main and the staysail flying upfront. But yesterday, the breeze just died. We shook the reefs out of the main, and replaced the staysail with the big gennaker.” This sail configuration means that all the canvas was flying, to ensure the maxi-catamaran would catch the slightest puff of air.
With the unflagging support of their weather router, Sylvain Mondon, the team quickly found the winds they needed to make some progress. And so, that night, Team Gitana was able to capitalize on a nascent low-pressure system to catch some fresh wind. They got up to average speeds of 20 to 23 knots.
The crew spent Thursday working through low-pressures areas off the coast of southern Argentina. The 33-meter maxi-catamaran is still expected to round Cape Horn on Saturday.
The ten sailors are sailing along the Patagonian coast below 45S, but the feel onboard Gitana 13 is still summery: “The sun was blazing all day yesterday, so we had to wear shorts and t-shirts. We are very wary of the sun, which is very strong at this part of the globe because the ozone layer is relatively thin here. We need to be careful and protect ourselves,” said skipper Lemonchois. Still, the temperature of the water around the boat has dropped around 8°C over the past 24 hours, from 25° to 17°C. This temperature change means that the team will soon enter the South Seas.