In the space of 24 hours the maxi-catamaran equipped by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild has seen a complete change of scene aboard: “There is about 25 knots of breeze and Gitana 13 is making 25 to 30 knots of boat speed, with peaks at 35-36 knots. These conditions are ideal for going fast, but they're rather uncomfortable for the crew. The boat is being knocked about by a SE'ly swell, which will probably take us as far as the Deep South, with 3 to 4 metre waves” explained Dominic Vittet.
However, this lack of comfort is being larger recompensed by the pleasure of notching up some fine days of sailing. With 650 miles covered in 24 hours, Gitana 13 is once again bearing witness to her true potential in these stiff conditions: “The boat has been able to fully express herself since we crossed the Sunda Strait. The Indian Ocean is an area coloured by freedom and speed, and despite the seas, we're managing to sustain some high average speeds. We're going to have to make the most of this time to rack up the miles as these conditions aren't set to hold for long.”
As regards life onboard, this new pace is translated by a new form of organisation pour Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crew: “The three crew on watch are clad from top to toe in their foulies. After a week of wearing shorts, which require absolutely no preparation whatsoever prior to heading up on deck, it may appear futile but it really does affect our organisation. In the same way, during our descent of the China Sea, it was fairly commonplace for the standby watch to be on deck with those on watch, in order to discuss different matters or benefit from a touch of breeze. Today, we are in a more restricted atmosphere: Gitana 13 is being hit by big waves and the different watches aren't hanging about on deck. We are now in ocean mode, which better suits our fine vessel” concluded the onboard navigator.
If they manage to keep up this pace, Gitana 13 could well reach the longitude of Mauritius in 3 to 4 days time.
A few figures
Gitana 13 left Hong Kong on Thursday 14th August at 07h55'32'' (UT)
Friday 22nd August at 0745 UT, Gitana 13 was sailing at 12°03.42 S / 93°37.92 E
Watch No1: Lionel Lemonchois (Skipper / watch leader / helmsman) / Olivier Wroczynski (trimmer /head of computers and power) / David Boileau (Bowman / head of deck fittings)
Watch No.2: Ludovic Aglaor (watch leader / helmsman) / Laurent Mermod (trimmer) / Ronan Le Goff (Bowman)
Watch No.3: Pascal Blouin (Watch leader / helmsman) / Ronan Guérin (trimmer) / Léopold Lucet (No.1, head of supplies and doctor)
Outside the watch system: Dominic Vittet (navigator)