If you look at the position data every couple of hours, you can see that Gitana is sailing fast. Almost 350 miles (648 km) covered in 24 hours, an average speed of 19.7 knots per hour (36.5 km/h), things are damp on board. One hand on the helm, the other ready to free off the gennaker sheet to cool things down if the boat should suddenly yaw off course. "The boat is in perfect condition. In the last two hours, we've made an average of 25 knots (46 km/h). We're on a broad reach (wind blowing from an angle of 70°at a speed of 25 - 30 knots) with the main sail and small gennaker".
Straight on towards the Equator !
Right now, the job in hand consists of reeling in 900 miles (1667 km) before attacking the trickiest pitfall of the second part of the course, namely the Doldrums. Marc is rather calm for what lies ahead. "We're quite happy with our position in relation to the high. We're steering a straight line course to the point at which we have decided to cross the Doldrums, whereas our closest opponents will no doubt need to gybe several times. We should be able to keep close to the rest of the fleet. However, once we get into the light fickle winds in the Doldrums, then it might well turn out to be a different kettle of fish altogether. But we're giving it all we've got... If we can keep up with the main pack until the finish, that'll be fine indeed". Until Gitana reaches the zone known which used to be known as "the empty territory" in the times of the sailing ships, the temperatures have climbed and around lunchtime today, Marc was up on deck for manoeuvres in nothing but a pair of shorts. Time for a shower, radio chat session with those ashore since the intervention of the Gitana Team... Happiness is just a short step away !