Marc likes heavy weather sailing. The last 24 hours of his 1000 mile long passage went way beyond his highest hopes! «I left La Trinité around lunch time on Thursday, four hours later that I'd planned to. The weather system was in the process of changing and although I set out in good conditions, I knew that the situation would worsen a great deal towards the end.» As it turned out, by Friday evening, weather forecasts were alarming. Marc was a few hours ahead of a threatening front lying north-south between Ushant and Cape Finistère. A few hours later, a strong swell began to form and the wind caught up with him around the Glénans archipelago and the island of Groix. He lowered his sails. He still had 200 miles to cover, but the alternative was clear. Keep going and risk finding himself in a critical situation or obtain the permission to shorten his course. Marc called René Boulaire at the UNCL, the organisation which monitors the qualifying passages, and obtained the go-ahead to make way for La Trinité and obtain the validation of his qualification.
Throughout the 60 hours spent in the Bay of Biscay between Belle-île, Cape Finistère and the island of Sein, Marc met with a whole range of weather conditions, giving him the opportunity to put the 2004 version of Gitana X to the test under various points of sail. South-easterly breezes to start with, followed by winds from the south, then north-west, dead calm, gusts of up to 35 knots, downwind, reaching, close-reaching, shortening sail, ballast, Marc went through a whole range of situations which might arise on a transatlantic. A really useful sail which helps Gitana X's new skipper start finding his bearings on this trimaran.
« I'm getting to know the boat. Although Gitana X still doesn't perform very well in light air, she really bucks up when the wind picks up, particularly downwind. The new platform with the winglets on the central rudder and the new curved foils central change her performance and balance substantially. Pitching has reduced incredibly as a result of the new appendages. »
After a well-deserved rest following the « very positive » familiarisation session with Gitana X, Marc can get down to devoting his time preparing for the Grand Prix de La Trinité safe in the knowledge that his qualification for The Transat is in the bag. Time to work on the minor adjustments he made a note of during his qualifying passage. « Not that much at all in fact. The shore team have done a great job. »