The day before her launch scheduled for 17h00 a followed by stepping of the mast immediately afterwards, Fred Le Peutrec summarises the winter Gitana-11 spent in the shed.
« Last year, the whole team had to get to know the trimaran. We discovered that she had great qualities in certain conditions and on certain points of sail, particularly downwind in heavy seas. She performs well offshore. Our basic thinking throughout the winter was not to touch the boat's strong points, but to try and identify her weaker points to compensate for them. Acceleration upwind, course holding abilities… A new large chord mast was built by Lorima according to calculations produced by HDS. We now have a section with a greater propulsive force. It is much more aerodynamic. The classic, but fully directional symmetrical section dagger board has been replaced by a finer dagger board with a trimmer (aft part which can change shape), which should improve acceleration in light squalls and enable her to sail closer to the wind.
Following the violent collisions with floating objects in The Transat and particularly in the Québec-Saint Malo race where the central hull's transom was torn away and where water filled part of the float via the dagger board casing, we fitted rudders to the floats behind a watertight bulkhead and did away with their transoms altogether. The central rudder can now be lifted in the event of an impact via a compressed air system so that the spade comes entirely free of the water. If there is a collision, then the means of controlling the boat remain intact.
In order to save weight and to try and make her as light as Groupama-2, all of the hydraulics have been revised with joints in titanium. Electric cabling has also been simplified. She has an entirely new set of sails made by Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant from the Incidences loft. He will be on board at the start of the season. The shrouds have been moved one metre aft, which increases the gennaker surface area (+20 m²) downwind. Helm transmissions are now more direct with the tubes now being external to the aft crossbeam. Enhanced sensations at the helm for better control. Lastly, a new boom to gain 40 kg!
We are going to take part in lots more races this year compared to previous years. Boat shaves to be extremely reliable as the gaps between races are not that great. The season kicks off with a race from Lorient to Hyères (start 8th May), two Grand Prix in the Mediterranean in June (Calvi and Marseille), a Grand Prix in Spain in July (Vigo), two other Grand Prix in the Channel waters (Fécamp) and one in the Atlantic (Lorient) in September. The season finishes off with a two-handed transatlantic race (starting out of Le Havre on 6th November bound for Salvador de Bahia). »
From Tuesday onwards, the first sessions out on the water will start the team on their validation process of the work carried out during the winter. Particular attention will be paid to the helm transmissions, leverage with the dagger board trimmer and sails as they are delivered. In the beginning of April, training in Port La Forêt will give the team the chance to compare their performance with the best trimarans in the circuit before the season gets underway. This winter has also been the occasion for the Gitana Team to continue sailing Open 7.50 one designs in the Bay of Quiberon, racing against an increasingly aggressive opposition with the Spi Ouest France (25-28 mars) on the horizon. Twenty-four identical boats will be lining up on the start with Fred Le Peutrec, Thierry Duprey and their crew from the Gitana stable, other skippers and crew from the ORMA circuit such as Armel Le Cléac'h (Foncia), Vincent Riou (Géant), Charles Caudrelier (Banque Populaire-4), and also Loïck Peyron, Marc Guillemot, Bruno Troublé, Jean-Pierre Dick…