Nothing could be more straightforward. The Défi Petit Navire involves covering a 9-mile long course set between Douarnenez and Morgat, in either direction as many times as the competitor may wish, between 11h00 and 19h00 over a three day period. This year, 28 « sailing craft » entered the Défi, but only the conditions of the first two days turned out to produce conditions which were favourable to stunning performances, with the wind on Saturday falling to 7 knots whereas it had been blowing at more than 20 knots on the first two days. Gitana 11 won with a course time of 16'59'', translating to an average speed of 32.14 knots after a series of 125 runs raced by 4 60-foot miltihulls, 10 kitesurfers, 8 windsurfers and 6 speed craft. Gitana X's time of 19'10” made her third overall behind Banque Covefi (18'10").
ITV with Fred Le Peutrec, skipper of Gitana 11 :
« There's a great atmosphere on this challenge. It's a brilliant idea to bring all the speed freaks together and give a wide range of categories the opportunity to weigh each other up in identical conditions, even if things were a little easier for we multihulls as we have a wider range of possibilities in different wind angles. It's a wonderful site, the runs finishing in front of the jetty making it possible for the public to see what we are made of. As for the technical side of things, it is actually quite difficult to draw conclusions based on what is a very special sort of event consisting of going as fast as possible on one single tack. There's no manœuvre or tactical element to compare with normal racing. But it does mean that we have to push the boat as hard as we can which does mean that we thoroughly check the repairs made to Gitana 11 after the damage she sustained in the Québec Saint Malo race. We have also been able to continue working on our speed calibration under different points of sail and to perfect our trimming. We're pleased to have clocked up an average of 32.14 knots over 9 miles – a fine performance of which we are proud. Now Gitana Team's objective is to continue down the same path through to the end of the ORMA 2004 programme where three more competitions lie ahead. In Fécamp this week, followed by Corsica and then Marseille at the start of October. »
Thursday 19th August 2004
The 28 competitors had a calm sea, a fine 15-20 knot south-westerly blow and sunny spells for the start of the Défi 2004. From the very beginning of this three day long confrontation, both of the Gitana Team multihulls set the pace with a combined total of 13 attempts (7 for Gitana 11 and 6 for Gitana X) pushing up the bids throughout the day and putting on a rare show for the public. At the end of this first series of runs, totalling 63 by the end of the day, Gitana 11 proved to be the fastest of all, covering the course from Morgat to Douarnenez in 17'20'', at an average speed of 31.5 knots over a distance of 9.1 miles. Gitana X took second with a time of 19'10''.
Results over 63 runs:
Best time overall on the 9.1 mile run : Gitana 11 in 17'20'' / average speed of 31.5 knots
Friday 20th August 2004
A second day of runs with spectacular conditions for competitors and the hundreds of spectators who had come to watch this unusual match. A fresh northerly wind, blowing at 20 knots with gusts of up to 30 knots, whetted the appetite of record-hungry competitors, particularly the 60-foot multihulls. The kitesurfers had come along with the firm intention of tackling the multihulls, comforted Manu Taub's recent speed record of 40.58 knots. 52 attempts were made on Friday after which Gitana 11 was once again in the lead improving on her previous day's performance by 21 seconds, with a time of 16' 59 ‘', an average speed of 32.14 knots. A performance marked by some extraordinary images on France 2's television evening news programme. Gitana X third for the day and overall behind Banque Covéfi.
Overall results after 115 runs:
Best time overall on the 9.1 mile run : Gitana 11 in 16'59 / average speed of 32.14 knots
Saturday 21st August 2004
With average wind speed of 7-10 knots, it was not possible to improve upon Gitana 11's previous time of 16'59'' on this last day of the Défi. Gitana 11 comes out of the competition as overall winner of the third edition of this speed test with the best time on not only the outward but also the outward and return run with a time of 39' 38''.
Members of the Gitana Team on board for the Défi Petit Navire
Crew - Gitana X
Erwan Le Roux
Crew - Gitana 11
Fred Le Peutrec
Jean Baptiste Epron
Loïc Le Mignon
Next competition : The Grand Prix de Fécamp on 27th, 28th and 29th August.
After the Défi Petit Navire, both Gitana Team trimarans set out for the coast of Normandy on a delivery passage for the first training sessions for the Grand Prix de Fécamp due to start on Friday.
Crew list for the Grand Prix de Fécamp
Marc Guillemot – Skipper
Fred Le Mestre
Erwan Le Roux
Fred Le Peutrec - skipper
Baron Benjamin de Rothschild
Jean Baptiste Epron