Gitana refit nears completion

Baron Rothschild's 60ft trimaran will be ready for first ORMA Grand Prix

Saturday March 1st 2003, Author: Anne Massot, Location: France
With one month to go until their first sailing of 2003, the post Route du Rhum repair and refit of Baron Rothschild's trimaran Gitana X is on schedule, except for the mast which is likely to be delivered a few days late. The Multiplast yard and the Gitana Team are currently finishing off the biggest project, which is the modification of the centreboard casing.

Yann Marilley, Team Manager comments: "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 centre hull rudder blade will be retractable, to reduce drag in light conditions; as well as having a 'fuse' in the event of contact with a floating object. The transmission system between the two helms and three rudders has also been further enhanced to refine helm precision. Similarly the barber-hauler of the gennaker has been modified to improve the hold of the sail when reaching.

A French-Swiss crew
For this season, the crew of Gitana will be French-Swiss and selected on the same basis as last year. For the four ORMA Grands Prix at Lorient, Cagliari, Marseille and Fécamp there will be eleven aboard.

A newcomer has just joined the crew in the form of Jean-Paul Levrel, highly experienced in the America’s Cup as well as 60-foot multihulls. Jean-Paul Levrel comments: "60ft 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.

Grand Prix crew
Lionel Lemonchois / F Skipper
Benjamin de Rothschild owner
Nicolas Berthoud / Ch (Canard) mainsail
François Denis / F (Bambino) N°1 / Foredeck
Philippe Durr / Ch Tactician
Nicolas Engel / Ch Mast
Jean-Baptiste Epron / F (JB) Mainsail traveller
Marc Guessard / F Navigator
Jean-Paul Levrel / F Grinder
Yann Marilley / F Trimmer
Olivier Wroczynski / F (Zolive) Trimmer

Crew Challenge Mondial Assistance
Lionel Lemonchois
Benjamin de Rothschild
Yann Marilley
Olivier Wroczynski (Zolive)
Marc Guessard
François Denis (Bambino)

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