Yann Marilley, Team Manager : "We are spending a lot of time with the sander but everything is going well. We are in the process of enhancing the boat for this crewed season and there is a great deal of implication and work within each modification. For example, at the moment we are changing the position of a "coffee grinder" pedestal to ease the passage of the helmsman when tacking. We are also improving the trimming system on the lower shrouds (backstays for holding up the mast) so that they are automatically adjusted when the spar is canted (as with a windsurfer). We are making protective hoods for the helming stations too. Jean-Baptiste Epron has designed them and Lionel Lemonchois has adapted them..."
Without doubt, the Gitana Team, in spite of very little sailing last year, has put up a solid front against the first imperfections of the 'innovative' trimaran and tried to rectify them as quickly as possible. Among the list of transformations already announced, the new rudder blade of the central hull will be retractable, so as to reduce the drag in light weather conditions; as well as having a 'fuse' in the event of contact with a floating object. The transmission system of the helms has also been further enhanced to refine helm precision. Similarly the barber-hauler of the gennaker (large balloon jib) has been modified to improve the hold of the sail when reaching.
A French-Swiss crew
For this season, exempt of single-handed sailing, the crew of Gitana will be French-Swiss and selected on the same basis as last year. For the 4 Grand Prix of Lorient (F), Cagliari (It), Marseilles (F) and Fécamp (F), there will be eleven aboard. A newcomer has just joined the crew in the person of Jean-Paul Levrel, emulator of the America's Cup as well as 60-foot multihulls, since he has accompanied Lionel Lemonchois next to Yvan Bourgnon. Jean-Paul Levrel : "60-foot trimarans make up a superb sports series ; very physical and tactically very interesting. Aboard Gitana in the Grand Prix, I'm initiating a second career as a top-level sportsman".
In fact, Jean-Paul has a great deal of experience in high level sport and his own physical preparation : He was part of the French Judo Team for 12 years and is still a trainer. The Gitana Team will undoubtedly be able to put his wealth of experience to good use, particularly as the training period before the first Grand Prix promises to be excessively short and ultra intense. A non-stop navigation is planned between 17 and 24 April, leading straight onto the Grand Prix de Lorient from 25 to 27.
Gitana Team 2003
|Olivier Besse / CH :||Project Manager|
Crew Grand Prix
|Lionel Lemonchois / F :||Skipper|
|Benjamin de Rothschild :||Performer|
|Nicolas Berthoud / CH :||Mainsail|
|François Denis / F :||N°1 / Foredeck|
|Philippe Durr / CH :||Tactician|
|Nicolas Engel / CH :||Piano|
|Jean-Baptiste Epron / F :||Mainsail traveller|
|Marc Guessard / F :||Navigator|
|Jean-Paul Levrel / F :||Wincher|
|Yann Marilley / F :||Sail trimmer|
|Olivier Wroczynski / F :||Sail trimmer|
Crew Challenge Mondial Assistance
Benjamin de Rothschild
Hugues de Turckheim / F
Richard Bastide / F
Jean-Yves Le Govic / F
Olivier Staub / F
Patrick Jullien / F