Gitana 13 reaches trades in Route d'Or attempt

Gitana 13 is currently sailing up the coast of Chile, 26 days into its attempt on the ‘Route d’Or’ record from New York to San Francisco. The maxi-catamaran left New York on 16 January.

Yesterday, skipper Lionel Lemonchois and his nine-man crew successfully negotiated their way from an area of unstable winds to the southeasterly trades. The maxi-catamaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild is taking full advantage of the trade winds today. Under full sail?flying the full main and the big gennaker?Gitana 13 is using the breeze of around 15 knots to pick up the pace and open up its stride. The ten sailors could however face a weakening breeze in the next few days. “We’ve had to shift positions twice in search of a wind current running close to the coast. But with these manoeuvres we quickly picked up the long-awaited southerly and then southeasterly winds! Given the forecast, we couldn’t afford to hang around looking for the trade winds, since in recent days they have tended to lose strength,” said Dominic Vittet from the maxi-catamaran’s chart table.

The cold and blustery weather has afforded little comfort to the crew of Team Gitana over the past couple of weeks. Fortunately, in addition to offering a reaching breeze and the opportunity to ramp up the speed, the southern-hemisphere trade winds are synonymous with milder weather conditions: “As we make our way to San Francisco, the temperatures are rising, and that really makes a big difference. The boldest among us have already put on shorts. Yesterday the crew was allowed to shave, wash and dry. It was about time! After 26 days at sea the air onboard was getting a little thick…” said Vittet, with a smile.

Keep up with their progress here.