Gitana 13 is set to attempt the last challenge in the team's 2008 record campaign

The maxi-catamaran Gitana 13 was re-launched on Tuesday (5 August) in Hong Kong after over a month on the hard and around 2 weeks’ refit. Gitana 13 is now set to go on its last challenge in the team’s 2008 record campaign: the Tea Route – 15,000 miles from Hong Kong to London, passing via the Sunda Strait and then leaving the Cape of Good Hope to starboard.

Lionel Lemonchois and his nine crewmen will set off in the coming days. It is a legendary 15,000 nautical mile course, comprising a host of climatic conditions and no less than two changes of hemisphere. As soon as they cast off from Hong Kong, Lionel Lemonchois’ men will begin their crossing of the South China Sea and then the Java Sea. From that point, Gitana 13 will make its entrance into the Indian Ocean where it will make for the Cape of Good Hope. The ten sailors will then begin their climb up the Atlantic Ocean, prior to entering the English Channel and the River Thames.

Though the reference time on which the crew will base their performance is that of Philippe Monnet, set in 1990 – 67 days 10 hours 26 minutes – Lionel Lemonchois has fixed himself a course time of around forty days.

The crew of Gitana 13 will be complete from 9 August. From that point, the weather will dictate the departure of the 33-metre maxi-catamaran.

From his Météo France offices in Toulouse, Sylvain Mondon will play his familiar role of 11th man. He comments on the various departure scenarios currently envisaged: “We’re currently working on two cases for the departure. The first possibility would involve Lionel and his crew attempting to set off outside the tropical storm season – it is worth noting that at this time of year, these storms follow one after the other in this sector and amount to at least one a week. This initial configuration would force the maxi-catamaran to set off upwind in a SW’ly breeze.

“The second hypothesis would be to benefit from the passage of a tropical storm to hook onto a NE’ly wind enabling them to pick their way along downwind in some rather brisk conditions. In order for this scenario to come off, this storm would have to come from the Philippines and work its way up towards Taiwan.”

Records of Gitana 13:

Route de l’Or (New York – San Francisco, via Cape Horn): 43 days 3 minutes 18 seconds (February 2008)
North Pacific Crossing (San Francisco – Yokohama): 11 days 12 minutes 55 seconds (April 2008)
Yokohama – Dalian: 3 days 20 hours 19 minutes and 11 seconds
Dalian – Qingdao: 23 hours 50 minutes and 20 seconds

Qingdao – Taiwan: 3 days 52 minutes and 15 seconds
Taipei – Hong-Kong: 1 day 58 minutes 27 seconds

For more information, visit .