Aboard the maxi-catamaran Gitana 13, equipped by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, there’s more of a festive spirit than yesterday. By dint of patience and perseverance, Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crew have managed to switch across to the correct side of the stormy low, which is currently reigning supreme off Madeira.
This is excellent news as Gitana 13 can make a direct course towards Cape Finisterre.
Yesterday evening, the crew of Gitana 13 was preparing for another laborious night in very light winds, but the weather decided otherwise to the delight of our ten sailors: 'The wind is finally in the right direction! We’ve hoisted the gennaker and we’ve been sailing downwind since early morning. We were expecting an epic night with a total lack of breeze for hours on end, but finally we only came to a standstill for a lowly hour between 0430 and 0530 hrs, instead of the expected six hours' explained Dominic Vittet, enthusiastic about these more favourable conditions for a record attempt.
However, the reward of this downwind sailing is the fruit of considerable effort: 'Throughout the whole of yesterday and last night, we were sailing through storms. All of a sudden, we were spending our time rolling in the sails, dumping them, changing tack… amidst an atmosphere of light patches and gusts a number of different manoeuvres were called for so it was all hands on deck' explained the onboard navigator, before going on to describe the enchanting spectacle of the storms:
'It was quite incredible. The thunder was rumbling about us in every direction and the lightning was striking pretty much all around, lighting up the horizon! It was a really good sea storm…' Though the sky seems to have cleared for Gitana 13 this morning, vigilance remains paramount. Indeed, the satellite images reveal numerous storm masses which are still circling in the vicinity.
Tomorrow night, the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group will pass to the immediate west of Madeira, some 167 miles away this morning, prior to negotiating a new gybe. This umpteenth manœuvre will enable Lionel Lemonchois and his men to make a direct course towards Cape Finisterre. This morning, Gitana 13 was still 880 miles from the NW tip of Spain, which the crew hopes to round at best during the course of the night of 20th September. A few figures
Gitana 13 left Hong Kong on Thursday 14th August at 07h 55’ 32’’ (UT)
Friday 19th September at 07:45UT, Gitana 13 was sailing at 30°51.27 N /19°47.82 W http://www.gitana-team.com