Launched on 7 August 2005 in Vannes, south-west Brittany, it has taken two months and nine days for the Gitana Team to make the brand new Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild reliable and get a true feel for her prior to her first official competition. Indeed, she will take the start of the 12th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre on 25 October in Le Havre. Suffice to say that with such a tight schedule and a machine as fabulous as she is complicated to fine-tune, every day counts and every sea trial is another leap forward for Sébastien Josse and his co-skipper in the Transat, Charles Caudrelier. Last week, the Edmond de Rothschild pairing made the most of the favourable weather conditions to head out west for a few days, with their eyes on a twofold objective: the first involved getting in some training and the second was about sailing the relevant distance required by the Transat Jacques Vabre's Race Management to qualify for the race. With this precious entry ticket safely in their clutches, the two sailors will be able to attend the event's press conference in Paris tomorrow.
Qualifier in the bag
On Wednesday 9 September, the Mono60 fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild left her port of registry in Lorient for her first long session offshore. During this sea trial of nearly 72 hours, the objective was twofold for Sébastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier: to train and to qualify!
The skipper of Edmond de Rothschild is a diligent and methodical sailor, who has always much preferred racking up the miles to the theoretical studies. “Imoca is a bit like riding a bicycle, once learned you never really forget it, but we're clearly in a discovery phase with the boat and there's still a long way to go before we can master all her subtleties. The Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild is a latest generation boat, which has a complicated set of on-board systems that call for a modicum of quality time spent on the fine-tuning. We have to get our bearings on this new boat and Charles and I are having to find our reflex actions as a couple,” Sébastien Josse explains. “To pull that off, we need to get out on the water again and again and thanks to the support of a great team, who are proving to be as readily adaptable as usual, we're lucky to be in a position to optimise our training time.”
Although the sailors of Gitana Team are the event's reigning multihull champions following their Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild campaign in 2013, an 800-mile qualifier was still a necessary step in their bid to take the start of this year's famous double-handed transatlantic race. Sébastien Josse gives us the low-down on the conditions they encountered during this highly educational outing: “By setting sail on Wednesday afternoon, we benefited from some very varied conditions, ranging from calm to medium breeze at the start and culminating with strong wind. In this way, we were able to make use of the boat's entire sail wardrobe and validate the sails. The aim was to seek out a front over to the west. The first 24 hours were fairly light, with a south-easterly breeze of 0 to 10 knots, then we began to come under the influence of the front. The strongest wind came once the front rolled through with an average of 30 knots, gusting to 37-38 knots. We made it back home with this same air flow so our sea trial proved highly beneficial and rewarding!”
This so-called qualifier is something that is required by the event's Race Management. It is a requirement in the regulations prior to every major offshore race, with the aim of validating both the boat and the duos' ability to helm their steed.
Given the poor weather conditions expected in Brittany throughout the coming week, Gitana Team has opted to make the most of this neutral weather window to treat their most recent addition to the Gitana fleet to a few days in the yard. Indeed, though the Verdier design is living up to the expectations of her skipper and the team, she remains a brand new prototype and naturally requires a few tweaks, starting with the interior fit-out, an element that will be incredibly important for Sébastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier over the coming weeks. Once she is relaunched, there will be exactly one month left for the duo to continue getting a feel for the machine and get ready for the fray prior to the big day itself on 25 October in Le Havre.
In the wake of Gitana, September 2015
For the sixth time this season, the Gitana Team is opening its doors to offer you the chance to dive into the heart of the team and explore what's happening underneath the façade. With two months to go until the major meeting that is the Transat Jacques Vabre, it's a webzine entirely dedicated to the Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild which awaits you amidst news articles, an exclusive tour of Gitana 16 and a series of technical explanations about the famous foils.
Waterline length: 18.28m
Air draught: 29m
Water draught: 4.50m
Displacement (weight): 7.6 tonnes
Keel bulb weight: 3 tonnes
Maximum upwind and downwind sail area: 290m2 / 490m2
Number of sails permitted aboard: 8 (1 mainsail, 7 headsails)
M2 of living space: 10m2
Number and type of daggerboards: 2 foils
Source of on-board energy production: generators coupled to the diesel engine + hydrogenerators
Naval architects: Guillaume Verdier / VPLP Yacht Design
Yard: Multiplast (Vannes)
Rudders: C3 Technologies
Daggerboards: Heol Composites
Keel: AMPM (La Mothe-Achard)
Mast: Lorima (Lorient)
Start of construction: September 2014
Launch: 7 August 2015