« We finished only slightly behind the main pack, some 25 miles after a race covering more than 2,500. Quite a pleasant surprise. The fact that we were able to race with the main part of the fleet, albeit a little down the line, we did manage to make it back, not that far behind the pack even overtaking Foncia for a few hours. Our aim from the outset was not to get shaken off. We met that objective. We did get a bit muddled to start up in the home straight which meant that we lost sight of three trimarans - Géant, Gitana 11 and Foncia whom we had caught up with.
From a technical point of view, Gitana X suffered no structural damage although we did really push her hard. The odd minor thing here and there, such as the gennaker halyard which broke, and the odd electronic and computer problem, a broken helm… We were pleasantly surprised by the boat's performance. She is really healthy even at the top of the range with the main and gennaker up in a 30 knot blow ! Work carried out over the winter lay-up have reduced the range where Gitana X does not perform as well as the rest of the fleet. Instead of suffering between 8 and 15 knots, that range can now be reduced to 8 to 12 knots. As soon as conditions get a little choppy things also get tough as the boat slams more than the other members of the fleet. She is now lighter than before and so we have been able to raise the waterline by three centimetres ! Her new set of sails has also helped to make Gitana X easier to trim, more reactive and livelier all round. Float rudders were moved forward which has resolved the problem we had controlling her at more than 30 knots. Last year, that was nigh on impossible. In terms of pure speed, there is still a minor differential and we have noted that we cannot go beyond 33 knots whereas the rest of the fleet flirt with 38 knots. Hull forms, displacement, foil angle ?
In terms of crew, we had two young sailors who had never raced offshore over such a distance on a boat of this type (Léopold Lucet and Jacques Guichard). The atmosphere was brilliant and everyone got on really well. Everyone is highly motivated and has progressed well. A rich experience for all of us. We got into the swing of things form the word of and seldom found ourselves in the red. No-one was completely exhausted by the finish even if on the food front we were running short. Young guys don't half eat a lot ! We had two three-hour watches of three guys. Erwan Le Roux, Mayeul Riffet and Jacques Guichard were on one side, Nicolas Raynaud, Léopold Lucet and yours truly on the other. For the manoeuvres, at least four or five of us were up on deck. Mayeul was also in charge of the weather and took turns with me in navigating.
For the Grand Prix, our position in the prologue and in the coastal course off Lorient at the start of the IB Group Challenge shows the extent to which Gitana X can now manage to hold her own without coming within the scope of the front runners. The crew is less experienced than last season and we should find things a bit tough-going in the Grand Prix. There is room for improvement and I reckon that the last Grand Prix will give us the chance to play with the others. The boat has evolved technically. Now we have to make sure that we can better co-ordinate crew reactions when the heat is on.
We are going to head for La Ciotat, probably paired up to get some training done for the two-handed Transat Jacques Vabre race in November. All deliveries will now be done in pairs. Next week, we are going to work on the automatic pilots to check them over. Full crew presence in Calvi on 4th June to train before the Grand Prix de Corse (10th - 12th June). »
Scoreboard - IB Group Challenge, as at 14h50 Tuesday 17th May (French time) :
1- Banque Populaire (Pascal Bidégorry) finished on Tuesday 17th May at 7h 36' 17'', race time : 8 days 16 hours 36 minutes and 17 seconds
2- Géant (Michel Desjoyeaux) finished on Tuesday 17th May at 13h 55' 16'', race time : 8 days 22 hours 55 minutes 16 seconds (+ 6h 18' 09'')
3- Gitana 11 (Frédéric Le Peutrec) finished on Tuesday 17th May at 14h 40' 55'', race time : 8 days 23 hours 40 minutes 55 seconds (+ 7h 04' 38'')
4- Foncia (Armel Le Cléac'h) finished Tuesday 17th May at 14h 41' 15'', race time : 8 days 23 hours 41 minutes and 15 seconds (+ 7h 04' 58'')
5- Gitana X (Thierry Duprey du Vorsent) finished Tuesday 17th May at 16h 35' 42'', race time : 9 days 01 hour 35 minutes 42 seconds (+ 8h 59' 25'')
Retired - Groupama-2 (Franck Cammas)
For further information… www.gitana-team.com
In the world of sailing, the name Gitana is inseparable from the French-Swiss branch of the Rothschild family. It conjures up century old images of a particular lifestyle where passion, team spirit and the quest for excellence come together. Under the aegis of the Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, the Gitana history turned to multihulls in 2000 when the Gitana IX entered the Transat Québec /Saint-Malo. For the second year in a row, the Baron has entered two trimarans - Gitana X and Gitana 11 – in the ORMA Championship. The Gitana X, is devoted to the training of young talent and the objective for Gitana 11 is excellent performance at the top level. Tradition, innovation and transmission…
Photo Image Bank : Yvan Zedda Video Image Bank : Néfertiti Production