Work underway on Gitana
Gitana Team's shorecrew have been busy building her new mast after the top broke off during the early stages of the Route du Rhum.
The team were waited for the general meeting of the ORMA 60-foot multihull class held on 3rd January earlier this year, to see how the rules might develop, following the events in the Route du Rhum. From now on, masts (and the boats structures and appendages), can no longer be made of very high density carbon fibre (M55J).
Their high cost, uncertainty of supply and the difficulty in knowing quite how best to work these ultra stiff fibres on these boats, has lead class members to turn to a more tolerant and less costly fibre, the M46J. The decision shall apply to the whole of the fleet from 1 January 2004. As Gitana has to build a new mast this year it is being made in this lower tech fibre by Lorima. Delivery of the new spar is scheduled for the end of March 2003. It will again be monolithic and with a narrow chord of 60cm. However the material change will make it a little bit heavier than the previous one, although potentially more reliable.
Another big job for Gitana as a result of the class rules, is the making of her new daggerboard and case. Multiplast, the yard where the trimaran was built, will be carrying out the work at Gitana’s technical base, the Multipole 56 in La Trinité-sur-Mer (on France’s Atlantic coast). At the same time, a new rudder for the central hull will be made, and its profile changed. Hughes de Turckeim, who recently joined the Gitana Team, is in charge of this work on the appendages. He is also to take care of developing the multihull’s foils.
As for the sails, a new main sail is in the process of being made, designed with the Grand Prix in mind. A new, more powerful Solent will also be made by Europ Sail under the aegis of its representative Nicolas Berthoud, alias "Canard" (Dick), a member of the Gitana Team.
Gitana’s 2003 programme is now set. It centres upon the four Grand Prix and two ocean races - the Transat Jacques Vabre between Le Havre and Salvador de Bahia in Brazil.