Gitana average over 21 knots as they attempt to cross the North Pacific in record time 4/4/08

Since leaving San Francisco last Saturday, Lionel Lemonchois and his crew have been making good progress, averaging over 21 knots. After just four days, the 33-metre catamaran has a considerable lead over Olivier de Kersauson’s record.

Crewman Cyril Dardashti commented: “Conditions are now ideal? We have been experiencing periods of sailing which have been considerably more pleasant over the past 24 hours. We have brilliant sunshine, increasingly calm seas and a twenty knot North-Easterly breeze, which [is] currently enabling us to belt along at between 27 and 34 knots.”

In 2006Geronimocompleted the course in three stages. Weather conditions were such that its skipper Olivier de Kersauson was pushed onto a very Southerly course. Hence the maxi-trimaran was awarded two intermediary records: San Francisco to Honolulu; then Honolulu to Yokohama.

The current conditions are allowing Gitana to remain pretty much on course. “If the wind had guided us close to Honolulu we’d certainly have attempted the intermediary records, but we’re passing too far north of the archipelago to warrant adding additional miles. This is rather good news for the outright crossing record!” added Dardashti. Positioned 320 miles north of Maui last night, the maxi-catamaran has since left the Hawaiian archipelago.

The North Easterly wind is set to veer progressively to the East and South East tomorrow. A combination of strong winds and fairly flat seas should allow Gitana 13 to lengthen her stride.

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