Exit this way!
In January 2014, the racing stable founded by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild announced its return to the great planetary adventure that is the Vendée Globe, the focus of which was the creation of a new boat in line with the aims of Sébastien Josse and the Gitana Team. After an eleven-month build phase at the Multiplast yard in Vannes, south-west Brittany, the Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild hit the water for the first time this Friday 7 August. The third IMOCA of the latest generation to be unveiled, the newest member of the Gitana fleet lacks neither character nor style.
A prototype designed for the Vendée Globe
Built according to designs by the Verdier / VPLP duo of naval architects, in close collaboration with Gitana's design office, the Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild is the third boat from the new generation of Imocas to be unveiled. Boasting a planing hull below the waterline and a very high volume bow to enhance the boat's speed performance, a so-called tumblehome hull shape (meaning that the beam at the sheer is less than the maximum beam of the hull) to limit the beam of the deck and thus make her more lightweight, a reduction of the freeboard, which further accentuates the sensation of the boat's beaminess as well as a flat deck she naturally shares a number of common features with her elders - Safran and Banque Populaire. However, particularly in terms of the hull forms below the waterline, there are a number of points that make her stand out and a few elements that are unique to her. These features include her very open, lowered cockpit, inspired by the deck layouts of the Volvo Ocean Race monohulls that Sébastien Josse was after, as well as the shape of the foils, which replace the straight daggerboards of the former generation boats. Finally, the cockpit ergonomics as well as the interior fit-out are all part of the skipper's signature as this monohull has effectively been handmade by Sébastien Josse.
“This monohull was created and built for the Vendée Globe because even though we're competing in the races that make up the Imoca race schedule in 2015 and 2016, the round the world race is our primary objective. The entire philosophy of the project is based on this premise. A lightweight boat is an obsession for all offshore racing teams as it is synonymous with efficiency and hence performance. However, from the outset of this project and given the nature of the major race we're targeting, reliability has been our priority and formed the opening gambit in our specifications. My last experience in the Vendée Globe (his 2nd participation) resulted in a retirement following technical damage, so I know full well that in order to win a race, first you have to finish it!” explains the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild
This Friday morning, the smiling faces spoke volumes and reflect the satisfaction of a job well done! And so ends what has been nearly a year-long design phase, which leaves the way clear to validate the boat and make her reliable through a series of sea trials. Very soon, from 25 October 2015, Sébastien Josse and his co-skipper, Charles Caudrelier, will be able to really get the measure of the machine and their competition in the Transat Jacques Vabre.
Though the teams from Gitana and Multiplast have been working together throughout the build, particularly in the finishing-off phase of recent weeks, this first launch is essentially a handover and marks the switch from construction to sailing mode. To mark the occasion, Cyril Dardashti, General Manager of the five-arrow racing stable, was keen to praise the work carried out by the teams to ensure the boat's launch: “I want to thank all the teams for their commitment, their rigour and their availability throughout the construction; they've really put in the hours to ensure we hit the water despite a tight schedule. My thoughts of course go to the members of Gitana Team and to Yann Penfornis and his Multiplast teams. From the moment we began drawing up the project, we wanted a partnership rather than a service from the construction yard and that's exactly what we've had, accompanied by a high level of expertise and quality. I think this collaboration has taught both parties a great deal. The constant exchanges with our in-house design office, under the leadership of Pierre Tissier who has done an incredible job, have today given us a highly optimised boat.”
10,000 hours of studies, 150 plans exchanged, 30,000 hours of construction, an entourage of nearly 100 people involved in the project these numbers testify to the complexities of creating a latest generation monohull like Edmond de Rothschild, alias Gitana 16. Pierre Tissier, who joined the Gitana Team in 2014 as technical director, has brilliantly monitored this sizeable build. “The boat is fantastic and we're really happy to be able to launch her in what is an acceptable timeframe for Sébastien with a view to the Transat Jacques Vabre. It's a complex, optimised prototype and it hasn't always been an easy task, but we've been able to rely on the expertise and reactiveness of both Gitana Team and the team at Multiplast so as to live up to the expectations and demands for quality of this project. Today a new phase begins. There is still a huge amount of work to be done but I believe the foundations are solid,” admits Pierre Tissier.
With regards synergy, it's the same scenario for Yann Penfornis, General Manager of Multiplast “In Gitana Team, whether its management, engineers, technicians or the skipper, everyone knows what's really important. There is no time or energy wasted on what doesn't directly contribute to the quality of the boat. Indeed, to make a good boat, you need good people to liaise with and we've been really spoilt in that regard with this team! Whether it's with Cyril Dardashti or with Pierre Tissier, we've always made our decisions collectively so as to improve reliability and speed. On a technical level, Pierre, with whom we've already manufactured three boats, is incredibly competent and boasts vast experience in a series of winning. On a human level, he has been rubbing shoulders with our technicians for several years and knows how to get the best from them. Finally, to have a client which is renewing its trust in us for another boat before the first one has even been launched is a rare privilege.”
Indeed, the racing stable fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild announced in May the launch of a maxi-multihull measuring over 30 metres, which will be built by Multiplast from October 2015 according to designs by Guillaume Verdier.
Bound for Lorient, her port of registry
After an efficient launch, the Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild, with Sébastien Josse at the helm, cast off from Vannes shortly after 10:00 GMT, in line with the tides, to make her port of registry in Lorient. Once there, the boat will have her keel and then her mast stepped over the coming days. She will also undergo the relevant static tests for any new boat (180° righting test and so on ) before the men of Gitana Team can get the measure of their new steed and trial her offshore.
“The Vendée Globe starts today,” said Sébastien Josse. “This event is something we prepare for over the long term and right now, with the launch of the boat, it will be on our minds on a daily basis. I say we because its teamwork that brings together a trio of elements: the team, the boat and the skipper The guys have worked superbly well to enable us to have a machine such as this and now it's down to me to fulfil my part of the bargain. The work goes on because there's still a long way to go to optimise her and fine-tune her. It's going to be full-on until the start of the Vendée on 6 November 2016 but we're privileged to be here!” the happy skipper assures us.
“Thanks to the support of the boat's owners - Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild - and the 2,700 associates that make up the Edmond de Rothschild Group, we can enjoy days such as this with the launch of an exceptional boat. We say it over and over again but we're well aware how incredibly lucky we are to be in this position and the whole team gives the very best to make it all happen,” concludes Cyril Dardashti.
A sleek look inspired by the family emblems
The Gitana yachts have always been instantly recognisable through their highly characteristic liveries with blue as the predominant colour and hints of yellow. Whilst remaining true to the family values, Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild, the owners of Gitana, have never had to think twice about shaking up the rulebooks and playing the modernity line in their Edmond de Rothschild liveries. Like Multi70, whose compass design on all three hulls is reminiscent of a tribal tattoo, the latest addition to the Gitana Saga sports two of the key elements of the family coat of arms on her bow, namely an eagle and a lion. This new livery, which is in perfect harmony with the sleek, aggressive style of this latest generation Imoca, has been designed by Jean-Baptiste Epron. The team's painter, Hubert Corfmat, who transcribed this fabulous design, is often heard to say: “a good boat is a beautiful boat first of all!”
Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild in figures and images
Waterline length: 18.28m
Air draught: 29m
Water draught: 4.50m
Displacement (weight): 7.6 tonnes
Weight of keel bulb: 3 tonnes
Maximum upwind and downwind sail area: 290m2 / 490m2
M2 of living space: 10m2
Number and type of daggerboards: 2 foils
Source of energy production on-board: generators coupled to the diesel engine + hydrogenerators
Naval architects: Verdier / VPLP
Yard: Multiplast (Vannes)