Yvan Zedda / Gitana SA

Gitana 16's hull-decks released

Significant moment in the contruction process of Seb Josse's new IMOCA 60

Friday February 20th 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Started in September, the construction of the Edmond de Rothschild IMOCA 60 Gitana 16 is continuing to progress at Chantier Multiplast in Vannes.

This week the hull and the deck were successfully released from their moulds (more on this below), marking the end of the first construction phase of the tooling, lay-up and cooking. To date construction of the new VPLP-Verdier monohull has taken up 12,500 man-hours with a team of 20+ working on the construction.

From here the team start the 'assembly phase' with four months to go until the scheduled June launch.

Pierre Tissier, Gitana Team’s Technical Director responsible for monitoring the build observes: “The release from the mould is naturally a key stage in the construction of the boat, as it’s the first time you really get to see her shape. It is only then that you get to apreciate her as a whole and see the appearance of the hull surface - an important indication of the build quality. These moments during a project are a bit stressful, but also very enjoyable, as they answer the numerous questions running around your mind.

"We’re always keen to see the surface condition, to know if the mould has made any marks and allows us to check for defects and that everything agrees with the construction plans. They do -  so it’s a very good day!

After an initial inspection of the carbon fibre hull and deck, a look of satisfaction was evident on the faces of both the Gitana Team and the Multiplast build team, which have worked relentlessly over the past six months to adhere to the specifications and the build schedule.

Tissier continues: "The required quality control checks were carried out during the manufacture, prior to their release. In fact, such checks have been made at every stage of the construction: after the first skin was laid, checking the bonding of the honeycomb core as it was glued in and finally the inner skin. They have all been checked and proved sound.”

General Manager of Gitana Team, Cyril Dardashti adds: “The Vendée Globe is a global challenge. Naturally it’s a sports and human challenge, but it’s also a technological one. The design choices are crucial, but their implementation is equally important. We really must pay tribute to the quality of the work carried out by Yann Penfornis’ team [at Chantier Multiplast]. The close collaboration which exists between Gitana’s design office, through Pierre Tissier, who is in charge of on-site monitoring, and the Multiplast yard, is bearing fruit."

Gitana 16 is the third latest generation IMOCA 60 from designers VPLP-Verdier, who have worked in close collaboration with the Gitana Team’s designer.

The new boat features a planing hull with a high volume bow to enhance the boat's performance downwind, tumblehome to limit the beam of the deck (and thereby reduce weight), a reduction in freeboard, which further emphasises the boat’s beaminess. There is a flat deck, open cockpit, plus the latest generation DSS-style foils instead of conventional daggerboards…

Of the work that lies ahead, Tissier outlines: “The coming weeks will be devoted to the installation of the hull and deck bulkheads. Once the structure has been bonded in, we’ll be able to join the hull and deck - a phase which should be completed in April. This phase promises to quite unique - it will be a first for the teams as Gitana 16 is built split horizontally along her entire length. Usually, we complete the deck and hull. Without going into too much detail, that’s linked to the [shape of the] hull below the waterline."

The new Edmond de Rothschild IMOCA 60 has a scheduled launch date in June.

Skipper Seb Josse comments: “With the removal of these parts from their moulds, the project suddenly seems more real. For months now, with the architects and Gitana’s design office, we’ve been going into the little details of this boat and all its systems. Now complete, I can really begin to look forward to the first sea trials this summer and, in the longer term, about the round the world race that awaits me in this monohull! I’m really keen to see this boat launched, to put in her first tacks and above all soak up the initial sensations."

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