Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Gitana 13 takes a beating...

This Wednesday morning, whilst the crew of the maxi-catamaran in the colours of the LCF Rothschild Group is attacking its twentieth day at sea, the Agulhas Cape is still 90 miles ahead of their bows. Despite yesterday’s forecasts, Gitana 13 is slightly behind schedule which is the result of a difficult day as much for the men as the gear. Grappling with a new front associated with a low, Gitana 13 has suffered, and Lionel Lemonchois and his men are lamenting some damage to the starboard beam up forward. Their entrance into the Southern Atlantic will certainly be well deserved!

Contacted by his shore crew, Lionel Lemonchois went over the circumstances of the damage which was incurred by Gitana 13 yesterday afternoon:

“As we were heading towards the front, which we knew was set to be rather venomous, the wind was gradually picking up. The crew, who had fully anticipated this strengthening wind, had perfectly adapted the sail area so that Gitana 13 would suffer as little as possible. We had up to 55 knots at the strongest part of the system. However, it was the seas more than the strength of the wind which caused us problems. They continued to build until the waves reached 6 to 7 metres. As we were sailing against the current, the seas were abrupt and fairly breaking. One of the waves was stronger than the others and Gitana 13 dropped down heavily. It was one impact too much!” conceded the skipper of Gitana 13, before going on to say: “It was a dark night, the seas were still very big and there was nothing more we could do. As a result we’d decided to heave to for the night, in order to be able to inspect the damage at daybreak. It consists of a crack spanning over 60 cm on the forward section of the starboard beam. However, to the best of our knowledge it isn’t detrimental to the boat’s structure. However, we’re continuing investigations together with the help of Gitana Team’s shore crew.” Read More