A first for this event - never before have so many boats entered an ORMA Ocean-racing Multihull event with eight new boats arriving on the scene this year (including Gitana X). Among the competitors, all the big names of the discipline are going to be there, including Loïck Peyron, Jean-Luc Nélias, Alain Gautier, Franck Cammas and Michel Desjoyeaux. There is no doubt that the battle in the event's crowning category will be fought tooth and nail. Lionel Lemonchois : "As I have sailed with or against several of the others, I know that the level is going to be very high indeed. The most difficult thing of all, will be keeping up with the pace of the big guys who have clearly got a lot more experience than I have and some of them know their trimaran inside out. I'll have to strike the right balance between the performance capacities of Gitana X and those of her skipper. But in any event, I'm going to attack. I am extremely motivated".
The Gitana Team have got just three weeks left to perfect the preparation of Gitana X before the starting shot is fired on 10th November. Right now, the whole team is working on the final details and Gitana X has just returned from a new two-handed 36-hour training session. Olivier Wroczynski, boat master : "Although there were two of us on board, cross my heart, I didn't touch a thing. I was just there to check that everything works properly, mainly the electronics, computers and automatic helm. But I also drew up technical checklists for Lionel to help him react quickly on board or with my help from ashore. Apart from the rain and lack of wind on the way back, the boat is ship shape".
Since last Saturday, Gitana has been hauled out in her technical base, the Multipôle 56, for a thorough check-up of the whole boat, particularly the underwater part of the hull and appendages (helm, dagger board, foils) and for a few improvements to the rig (mast). As for the rest (sails, chandlery, etc.), everything is ready. Yann Marilley : "The whole team has been giving it all they've got over the last few days so that Gitana will be ready. There are just one or two details to sort out. We're doing all we can to get up to Saint-Malo as soon as possible so that we are not dependent upon the weather or subjected to the slightest damage. But also so that Lionel can remain serene".
In accordance with the race rules, Gitana X has to be in Saint-Malo no later than 1st November. Gitana Team has already worked out the boat's arrival in the start town and the logistics. The support boat and workshop container will be leaving at the end of next week.