Gitana in 2011
Last week was a rich one for Seb Josse, the skipper of the future MOD 70 Edmond de Rothschild Group. On Monday, Gitana 11, the team's 77ft maxi-trimaran, left their base in St Philibert bound for the WW2 submarine base in Lorient, where she safely arrived 48 hours later. This launch and first sea trial marked the stmart of Gitana's crewed racing programme for 2011. As soon as the 77 foot multihull was tied up in Lorient, Josse headed to Paris for the press conference launching the Krys Ocean Race, the first transatlantic race in the Multi One Design Championship.
At the end of this presentation, Josse gave his impressions of this first race: "Eastbound transatlantics are rare in fleet racing. The course on offer to us is fairly reminiscent of the North Atlantic record. I’ve never been involved in this famous race against the clock but the route certainly isn’t unfamiliar to me. During my participation in the Volvo Ocean Race, back in 2006, we had a New York–Portsmouth stage. As such I’ve already had the opportunity to sail around the Statue of Liberty, while we were moored in Manhattan. It was magical and I have an incredible memory of it. The race itself promises to be demanding as the route us takes via Newfoundland and its characteristic fog banks. During this period, we can also expect to negotiate some depressions. In fact it coincides with the prime time for record hunters to set off. After that we finish the race in Brest as the maritime festival is in full swing, so we can be guaranteed a warm welcome on our arrival, as it’s something the locals of Brest are well practiced in.”
Though the Gitana Team will have to wait for a few months before taking possession of its new MOD70, which will be the fourth to launch towards the end of the year, Josse and his team have no intention of sitting by and they plan to start training aboard the Gitana 11 the boat which former skipper Yann Guichard raced in last autumn's Route du Rhum.
On 7 May Gitana 11 will take part in the Tour de Belle-Île; a race where amateurs and professionals rub shoulders in a fleet of 300+ sailboats. A month after this first official outing, Josse will set off, again with crew, on the Armen Race followed by the SNSM Record. The Armen Race is a brand new race which will consist of a big circuit starting and finishing in La Trinité-sur-Mer, rounding the Ar Men lighthouse situated west of the Pointe du Raz and the Ile d’Yeu, off the Vendée coast.
Then in mid-August, Gitana 11 will take the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race, an event familiar to Josse who has won it three times in various IMOCA 60s. For the team the race is also significant as Gitana V held the Fastnet Race record for nearly 19 years.