Slow progress as attempt on Route d'Or record enters last 600 miles

Nicholas Raynaud, one of ten crew on boardGitana 13, the 110 foot maxi catamaran nearing the end of her attempt upon the Route d’Or record from New York to San Francisco, has been talking about the trying conditions that they are experiencing.

“When you spend your time struggling along, feeling Gitana 13 suffer in its battle against the elements, you can’t claim to have had a good day. One piece of good news though is the 360 miles we have made on course towards San Francisco. The other is that it was a great sight once again. After a daybreak which was a touch gloomy, the skies were of an incredible pureness once again, powerfully highlighting the dark blue seas dotted with white horses. With a long, powerful W’ly swell, from the other side of the Pacific perhaps, this stirred-up race zone was particularly captivating to look at. As regards the very cold, N’ly wind, varying between 13 and 20 knots, this is forcing us to sport hats or balaclavas, whilst our fleeces have been a must for a good two days already.

“It remains that this second section of the record has been totally different from the first. Though we hardly strayed from the direct route on the way down to the Horn, which provided us with some fine stretches with eased sheets or close reaches enabling us to rack up some great speeds, this climb up the Pacific has been quite the reverse. With the all too odd exception, we have never been able to adopt the shortest course, instead spending our time tacking upwind or on a reach. The upshot of this is not a single day of over 500 miles to get our teeth into, and indeed this will continue to be the case between now and the finish. Though we’ve been on a favourable tack towards San Francisco for the past four days, little by little we’re distancing ourselves from the direct course. Tonight we’ll have to reposition ourselves slightly towards the coast for the first time. In a straight line the finish is very close, now less than 600 miles (at 0900 UT), but in reality it is more likely to be a good 800 miles. This shouldn’t prevent us from retaining the same ETA though, which is set to be during the day on Thursday 28th.”

Keep up with their progress here 

Map courtesy of