Gitana X and Gitana 11 out of the yard and into the water
Jean Le Houérou-Kérisel, Gitana Team's technical manager has been co-ordinating the work of the 5-strong shore crew hard at work for the past three weeks at the CDK yard in Port La Forêt (Finistère Sud) with the task of repairing the damage done on last month's course between Canada and France to both Gitana multihulls.

Both trimarans were hauled out as soon as they arrived at the Breton yard some three weeks ago after the Québec Saint Malo race which finished in mid-July. From then on, the technical team had to devote all its energy to getting their 60-foot long charges back to competition standard in time for the Défi Petit Navire raced with a watered down 6-strong ocean-racing crew, followed by the Grand Prix de Fécamp, raced with a crew of 11 at the end of August.

ITV with Jean Le Houérou – Kérisel

"Since the end of the Québec Saint Malo, the Gitana shore Team comprising Léo, Laurent, William, Jean Pierre, Pierre and me, have been hard at it in the CDK yard with the help of Olivier Wroczynski, Antoine Marmorat and recently Thierry Duprey, all three of whom are part of Gitana X's sailing team. Our challenge was to survey the damage to both boats and to carry out repairs as fast as possible in order to continue the race programme.

We know that Gitana 11 had sustained more serious damage than Gitana X, the latter's damage being largely restricted to  her dagger board, transom and central rudder. As for the 11, her collision with a floating object at 28 knots 6 days into the race seriously damaged her central rudder, the dagger board and the casing together with the transom. The violence of the impact was such that she took on water flooding the central hull for several hours before the crew was finally able to fill the hole. The engine however, necessary to produce electricity for on-board electronics had come into contact with saltwater and could not be saved. A new one has had to be installed along with all the electrical cables and wires that involves. One good piece of news after the thorough survey of Gitana 11, is that the main electrical circuit and onboard electronics withstood the flooding and have received the go-ahead for entering back into service with - relief all round.

We have been with the guys from the CDK yard for 20 days now overseeing the repairs to Gitana X and Gitana 11. Thanks to a general mobilisation of manpower at a time when many could claim the right to take some well-earned holidays we have been able to get both boats ship shape and Bristol fashion in time to continue the programme. Gitana X was re-launched the day before yesterday 10th August and Gitana 11, yesterday Thursday.

Both are now ready to sail. " Mission accomplished " for the shore crew …until the nest time. In ten days from now that is, in  Fécamp, to put the finishing touches to the boats for the Grand Prix, with a short stop-over in Douarnenez."

Gitana Team  - sailing programme

Gitana X : crew training sessions - 16, 17 and 18 August
Gitana 11 : speed tests in Port La Forêt with other Orma multis organised by the Pôle Finistère - 16, 17 and 18 August
Gitana X and Gitana 11 : Petit Navire speed trials in Douarnenez  (Southern Brittany) - 19, 20 and 21 August - keep up with news on the event's website :
Gitana X and Gitana 11 : Grand Prix ORMA de Fécamp (Normandy) - 23, 24, 25, 26 (training), 27, 28 and 29 August (GP)

Gitana Team best overall last weekend in the Open 7.50

The Gitana Team* won the Challenge Boreau last weekend in La Trinité sur Mer and absolute must on the IRC** summer calendar in La Trinité sur Mer. The Team won three of the fours rounds raced on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th August in a 22-strong line-up.

Along with other teams on the Orma circuit, the Gitana Team has chosen the Open 7.50 monohull one design series to train when the multis are out of action in the yards after each big race. Until now, only the sailing members of the Gitana Team had taken part in racing these very fast monos which fly the flag of the Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, just like the multihulls.

Last weekend, under the aegis of Erwan Le Roux, crew on Gitana X, the 7.50m was put into the water to race this Challenge. Backed up by Yann Marilley, Gitana Team manager, two members of the shore crew - Léo Lucet and Laurent Bourgues, all with several years of tracing experience under their belt, were on board alongside three members of the sailing team - Erwan skipper-helm of the 7.50 this time round, Alexandre Marmorat (crew on Gitana X) and Xavier Dagault (crew on Gitana 11).

Léo Lucet : "This was the first time that part of our shore team had raced under the Gitana flag as it were. For Laurent and myself, we are proud of the experience as it gave us the opportunity to fly the sponsor's flag in an official event. It also meant sailing with people we work with all year round and whom we get on with really well. On board, everything  fell into place quite naturally and we sailed really well. After this first positive  " trial run " experience, we'd like to take part in other races too with members of the sailing team. But we have to remain realistic. The technical programme we have on our hands with two multihulls to take care of, it's not that easy. Never mind, but we'd like to be able to!. "

An other member of the Gitana Team makes his mark in the Solitaire du Figaro 2004

Yann Eliès, « Grand Prix » crew on Gitana 11 since the start of the 2004 season put on brilliant performance yesterday Thursday 12th August moving into second place of the overall rankings of the Solitaire du Figaro 2004.

The 52 competitors first set out from Caen one month ago and have stopped over in Portsmouth (England), St Gilles Croix de Vie (Atlantic coast of France), Gijon (Spain) and Quiberon (Brittany, France), completing a course of more than 1 350 miles, the last leg of which was raced in particularly tough weather.

Not only is Yann is considered to be one of the finest inshore racing yachtsmen of his generation, but is also one of the most talented ocean racing yachtsmen. In what is his eighth participation, Yann has won the 1st and 4th legs of the 35th edition of this great summer classic. Although « only winning makes it worth it », this second place is a fine performance in this year's top-notch line-up, and confirms the talent of this young Breton sailor, if proof were needed.

Charles Caudrelier Bénac is overall winner this year with a race time of 9 days 4 hours and 53 minutes, just 52 minutes ahead of Yann who gave it all he got right through to the end of an event largely considered to be the finest and toughest of all solo races.

Once Yann has taken a couple of days well-earned rest, he'll be back with the rest of the Gitana Team at the end of the month to compete in the Grand Prix de Fécamp on Gitana 11.

* portraits of all members of the Gitana Team  on the website :
** IRC : race open to any type of boat in a unique ranking with a system of corrected time.

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