Winter Quarters !
Since the middle of November, the trimaran Gitana has been hauled out into its technical base, the Multipôle 56 in La Trinité-sur-Mer (Atlantic coast of France). Her withdrawal in the Route du Rhum is now history, but a lot was learnt. The Gitana Team is working on getting ready for the World Championship 2003 season.

You will recall that Gitana had not sailed much at all before the start of the Route du Rhum. She had clocked up just 3000 miles (5600 km) which meant that many of the architectural and technical options were uncertain. And if one of them – the narrow chord monolithic mast – was the reason for her brutal stop in this transatlantic race, it is one of the solutions which has been identified by yachtsmen who race 60 foot trimarans as a relevant option for the future.

It is of course one of the focal points of Gitana Team's work, as the mast has to be replaced. The final decision of the configuration of the new spar will be made in the very beginning of January 2003, after the General Meeting of the Orma (to which Gitana belongs). After the Route du Rhum which brought 2002 to a close, there was much discussion between skippers, organisers, architects, engineers, builders and of course owners, with a view to developing the rules which govern their sport. These meetings were necessary for a fleet which has never been so large and given the increasingly high level of the line-up.

Christmas truce

A short-lived truce for Gitana Team, as the trimaran has to undergo several developments. Some of the changes to be made, like the mast, can only be put into effect once the class's General Meeting has been held. Never the less, Gitana Team has started a big programme concentrated on her appendages (daggerboard, rudders, foils) under the aegis of a new member to the Team, Hugues de Turckheim, engineer. As for the sails, Nicolas Berthoud alias "Canard" is working on improving the wardrobe and in making new sails. Finally, as with any prototype, Gitana needs constant improvement. This is an integral part of the boat's regular maintenance. She should be re-launched no later than the end of March 2003, in order to be ready for the new season.

Italy and Brazil

Although the Championship will kick off with an Atlantic Grand Prix, it will continue in May with the Challenge Mondial Assistance, a crewed race round Europe, covering some 2750 miles (5100 km) between Cherbourg (F) and Rimini (on Italy's Adriatic coast). Then two other Grands Prix will be run in the Mediterranean (Sardinia and Marseille) in June/July before heading up to the Channel for the Fécamp Grand Prix (F) in September, and the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre in Le Havre in the month of November. A two-handed transatlantic race, the Jacques Vabre takes competitors over to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil after a 5300 mile (9800 km) long course via Ascension Island (South Atlantic).

The Gitana Team is no doubt eager to get back onto the water and measure herself against her competitors, to gauge her performance "crewed" where the potential of the boats is really put to the test.

Diary date

Whilst awaiting the outcome of the decisions relating to the ORMA 60 foot class in the beginning of 2003, the activity of the Gitana Team and around the trimaran will be a reduced. Gitana Team's website will also be moving into its virtual winter quarters and asks you to visit it again in the beginning of January. In the meantime, the Gitana Team wishes a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year to all web users out there who make the Gitana Team website a privileged port of call.

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