Lionel Lemonchois and his men have racked up two days on the water since they passed under the Golden Gate Bridge on Gitana 13. Already they have observed a wide range of conditions served up by the North Pacific: the powerful NW'ly wind of the first few hours quickly gave way to less steady winds as they rounded a ridge of high pressure. This slight drop in speed was short-lived however as a few hours later the wind picked up again with the approach of a cold front…
“Yesterday we had to put in a tack to the NW to enable the wind to head sufficiently. These few hours sailing close to the wind weren't the most pleasant… we really struggled to make headway!” said Lionel Lemonchois.
In these conditions, it's not easy to discuss things on deck and even less so to get off to sleep when the rest watch comes around: “It was impossible to sleep this afternoon as once you were in the bunk, the movements of the boat left us ping-ponging between the bulkheads. Fortunately, since the passage of the front and a gradually more organised sea, it's already slamming less aboard Gitana 13. We are still being sparing with our steed as the Pacific has not settled down enough to enable us to lengthen our stride. We're approaching things the right way though!” said the skipper of Gitana 13 positively, as the maxi-catamaran gradually picked up speed last night.
Now on starboard tack, Gitana 13 is on a heading of 241 as she prepares to encounter her next system: there is good cloud cover dropping down from the NW with 30 knots of wind forecast. As a result, the wet atmosphere is still par for the course for Gitana Team for the next 24 hours.
Far from the direct course
In this North Pacific crossing, the men on the maxi-catamaran equipped by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, are engaged in a virtual race against the giant trimaran skippered by Olivier de Kersauson, the current record holder.
At the 0730 ranking this morning, Lionel Lemonchois and his crew had a 371 mile lead over the reference time; a figure which is partly explained by the lateral separation of Gitana 13 in relation to Geronimo's 2006 attempt. Indeed the conditions encountered by the “Admiral” at the time, led him to pass a long way south of the great circle route. A direct course, which as we can see on the cartography, would force the sailors tackling this record, to adopt a very N'ly trajectory to make Yokohama. This is pure theory however as in reality the weather conditions dictate a much more S'ly course compared to that of the ideal track.