Gitana X returned to her shed at her base in La Trinité sur Mer to undergo repairs which are likely to take all winter, the aim being to get her back onto the water at the start of February 2005. Whilst the future for Gitana X is starting to become clear, for the moment the Gitana Team is focusing most of its energy on the end of the season for Gitana 11, which confirmed her potential in the Grand Prix de Fécamp, taking 3rd overall. For Marc Guillemot, the skipper of Gitana X, the season comes to a close without the two Mediterranean meetings which would have confirmed the excellent job done by her crew and shore team in optimising the trimaran launched two years ago.
Marc who has done his very best to lead the multihull to maturity will be leaving the Gitana Team at the end of October in search of financial backing to compete in the Orma circuit in 2005.
A few questions put to Marc Guillemot
What was your approach to the 2004 season at the helm of Gitana X ?
Above all else, I must say that I am very grateful to Baron Benjamin de Rothschild for having made it possible for me to race this year as the partnership with my previous sponsor had come to an end for lack of funds. Whilst Gitana X is rather a long way in terms of performance from the boat I would like to have had, I was fortunate enough to be able to bring together 80% of my previous crew, all of whom are extremely talented people I value and alongside whom I had been working for 3 years. When I joined the project, with the support of the Gitana Team shore crew already in place, we all pushed up our sleeves and got down to the job of getting the very best out of the boat, which we managed to do in the middle of the season. On the Québec - Saint Malo race, I had the impression that we had done a good job, in spite of a broken dagger board at the start ; and in Fécamp, between the training sessions and the first round, we showed that we were a serious contender. A combination of crew solidarity, the work done by the shore team and perhaps also with a little of my 25 years experience of multihulls, the whole started to pay off.
Had you envisaged being skipper of Gitana X in 2005 ?
No. When I joined the team last February, we were talking just about the first Grand Prix de La Trinité, The Transat single-handed race and the short-handed Québec Saint Malo. In view of the work put in by the shore crew and the sailing team, the Baron Benjamin de Rothschild decided that Gitana X complete the 2004 programme entering the last three Grand Prix, in Fécamp, Calvi and Marseille. I am pleased to have been able to continue the season with the crew, even if Gitana X's speed potential offers little opportunity to threaten the supremacy of the very top boats. But the boat's current configuration does not represent enough of a challenge for me. The Baron Benjamin de Rothschild offered to make major modifications to continue optimising Gitana X, but I did not want him to commit himself to major expenditure as there is no guarantee that Gitana X can achieve the level of the top boats on the 2005 circuit. I believe that it would be a good idea to keep the boat as she is and use her to train young talented sailors. I could have opted for a certain degree of security from a purely material point of view in heading up this new adventure, but I prefer to keep my options open and work towards competing at the top level with another boat. I am fighting fit and have not tired of the milieu I have been working in for the past 30 years. I still get the same buzz at the start of each race and still have the same desire to win. I still have what it takes to do some fine things racing multihulls.
What have you contributed to the Gitana Team ?
One of the greatest sources of satisfaction has been working with the quality of people we have in the Team, who will no doubt continue sailing with Gitana. If I am able to find a partner for next season, I shall no doubt have to look for new crew ….. ! !!
Handing over ?
It is almost done as my stand-in Thierry Duprey du Vorsent is to take over Gitana X. He is an excellent yachtsman, an great guy who has been working alongside me for three years. He knows the boat inside out and was technical manager this year. Now it's up to him to manage a new team and establish his objectives. I shall be concentrating on looking for new partners in the weeks ahead and sailing too in the Open 7.50 class and on the Décision 35 in Switzerland, just to keep my hand in…