Progress with the new Gitana IMOCA 60 Progress with the new Gitana IMOCA 60

New maxi-multihull for Gitana

Baron Rothschild's team will make its new 100 footer airborne

Tuesday May 12th 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Baron Benjamin de Rothschild's Gitana team has finally confirmed that it will build a new G-Class maxi-multihull. This has been rumoured for almost a year now and has been evident looking at the team's intense investigation into foil-born craft. At present this includes modifying a GC32 catamaran and adding lifting foils to their already modified MOD70 trimaran, which last weekend set a new course record for the Tour de Belle Ile.

As reported, the MOD70 trimaran was fitted with lifting foils but as part of the team's test program this comprised an L-foil to port and a C-foil to starboard, as well as T-foil rudders that were elongated compared to the T-foil rudders fitted to the boat prior to the Route du Rhum. This boat is the two-thirds scale test boat for the Gitana team's new 'Ultime'.

Skipper Seb Josse explains: “During the Route du Rhum, the gains we saw were really encouraging, the T-foil rudders being just one step towards our goal. Racing a 70ft trimaran offshore singlehanded is already a challenge, but getting her to fly is something else! With this 2015 version, we’re entering a whole new dimension; a period of fine-tuning and testing for the next stage in Gitana Team’s projects.

"Theoretical studies and simulations are essential, but they will never be enough on their own as nothing can replace practical time out on the water. We’re incredibly lucky to be able to test the design possibilities in real situations on the Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild. There are still so many unknowns about how the new features handle in big seas and over a long distance, that all our sea trials offer us the chance to record this invaluable data.”

Foiling represents one of the most significant step in yacht design, as Baron Benjamin de Rothschild observes: “Sailing, and more specifically offshore racing, is witnessing a sea change. We’re in the process of writing a new alphabet and we’re on letter A.”

Since January 2014 and the presentation of the IMOCA Edmond de Rothschild, Gitana Team has made no secret of its interest in maxi-multihulls, but the team has allowed itself time to develop this project.

Cyril Dardashti, Gitana's General Manager comments: “Thanks to the support and willingness of Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild, as well as the associates of the Edmond de Rothschild Group, the Gitana Team is launching it's latest adventure with a giant of the seas. It’s an incredible opportunity for the team to be able to embark upon this journey, particularly given that our aim is to launch the design of a versatile maxi-multihull that relies on the latest technological advances in foils, transposing them to offshore sailing. We are at the gateway to a new generation of boats, which is why, even though the design teams have already been working on it for months, we still have a lot of points to follow up on before the start of the build, scheduled for late 2015.”

This new maxi-multihul, will be 31-35m long and is being designed to make an attempt on the outright non-stop round the world record, significantly in both crewed and singlehanded configurations. However, from a design perspective the significant innovation with this new Gitana will be in her being able to sail efficiently in both flying and 'low riding' modes.

To achieve this, Gitana Team’s design office, managed by former ORMA 60 sailor Antoine Koch, has entrusted the design of the giant Gitana to Guillaume Verdier and his associates - Hervé Penfornis, Romaric Neyhousser and Morgane Schlumberger. As was the case for the modifications made to the Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild, Verdier’s firm will work closely with American VPP expert Bobby Kleinschmit, as well as engineers Pure Design - all members of Team New Zealand alongside Verdier - plus Len Imas and Romain Garo who will handle the fluid dynamics.

The build of the maxi-multihull will commence in late 2015 at the Multiplast in Vannes with the launch of the new boat taking place in the spring – summer of 2017.

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