For the MOD 70, Edmond de Rothschild Group, winter training in the balmy Moroccan climate has culminated in nearly 4,000 miles sailed and over 70 hours of inshore races. In order to respect the balance offered by the Multi One Championship, the sailors from Gitana Team have been alternating between sessions offshore and around the bay. For the offshore aspect, Sébastien and his men have been able to familiarise themselves with the six-crew configuration during the return delivery trip (1,200 miles each way), as well as during the two training sessions in the area surrounding the Canaries. In addition to the miles they’ve racked up, they’ve also been able to get the hang of the watch systems during the past twelve nights at sea. The round-the-cans races, which will be on the cards for the City Races on the European Tour, have not been forgotten either, with over three weeks devoted to the exercise, under the leadership of Tanguy Leglatin.
“This training session was something we needed as we had to get some practical preparation under our belts so we could make up our deficit due to the later delivery date for the boat. This was a speeded-up learning process because the long days we spent sailing there helped us make double the progress,” admitted Sébastien Josse at once. “The MOD 70s are still big boats for six or eight crew, depending on the configuration of the races. As such this trimaran calls for a great deal of coordination in order to drive the boat to its full potential and that’s exactly what we worked on in Agadir. The choice of location for this winter training, far from our port of registry in Lorient, was dictated by a desire to find the optimum, mild conditions for sailing during this period of the year. And we weren’t really disappointed as we encountered all the different conditions we were after, from light airs to storm winds… That enabled us to reach the majority of the objectives we’d set ourselves. Perhaps the only drawback was the fact that we only had a short period doing battle with another MOD as Véolia had to leave early.”
The lack of adversaries which Edmond de Rothschild Group unfortunately suffered during the weeks spent in Morocco, is something that Sébastien Josse and his crew will be able to rectify over the coming days. Indeed, during the scheduled training with the crews of Spindrift Racing and Foncia, the men of Gitana Team will be able to pit themselves against one another, judge their level and thus target the work they have left to accomplish before the first of the season’s major race meets.
Though the experience gained during the training session in Morocco echoed technique in its purest sense, in this six-week ‘immersion’ period it was also the skipper’s intention that it would consolidate the group which will accompany him in the various races over the course of 2012. The human objective has been reached as Sébastien Josse explains: “In Agadir, I was really struck by everyone’s availability, whether it be the sailors or the members of the shore crew: they’re people who are motivated and happy to give 200% to this project. We had some long, intense working days, but everyone gave their all. This group suits me to a T and I’m eager to get to the start lines alongside my crew.” The odds are that these group dynamics, created by the men of Gitana Team, will be a considerable asset in the races which await Sébastien Josse and his crew.
The racing season will officially kick-off with the Tour de Belle-Ile on 28 April 2012 and the one-design in the colours of Edmond de Rothschild Group will be attempting to improve on the time set last year by… Gitana 11.
In the meantime, the MOD No.4 will head back to her technical base in Lorient for a few weeks so as the team can carry out a thorough check of the rig, the hydraulics, as well as the deck hardware.
Tour de Belle-Ile: 28 April
Grand Prix de Douarnenez Guyader: From 3 to 6 May
ArMen Race: From 18 to 21 May
Trophée SNSM: from 1to 3 June
Krys Ocean Race (Crewed transatlantic race): start on 7 July from New York – estimated arrival in Brest on 14 July
European Tour (Crewed tour of Europe): start in Kiel (Germany) on 2 September