For a first year in which Fred Le Peutrec's new team has been getting to grips with the boat, the results of the last three Grand Prix 2004 races (Fécamp 3rd, Corsica – 1st, Marseille – 3rd), the work undertaken this summer, followed up by a fine win in the Petit Navire Speed Trials in Douarnenez, it is clear that Gitana 11 had not been long in finding her place with the favourites on the ORMA Grand Prix circuit. In the season's ocean races, Gitana 11 confirmed her full potential in the Transat Québec-Saint Malo, but last July her demonstration was unfortunately cut short when she retired six days into the race at a moment when she was in the top three. Gitana Team's ambitions for a top three finish in the 2005 Championship will require the boat and the crew to perform well both offshore and inshore. Throughout the winter months, Fred Le Peutrec and his team will continue the technical and sailing development which got underway last January and which continued throughout the 2004 season. As soon as Gitana 11 finished racing in the Mediterranean at the end of October, she rallied Port-La-Forêt in the Finistère, for a four-month winter session in the shed at the CDK yard. Whilst the platform will not be undergoing any changes, in common with a number of her fellow competitors, further research will be carried out on the appendages and sails of the Lauriot-Prévost/Van Peteghem design. Gitana 11 will also be receiving a new mast.
The winter route book also includes several optimisation objectives for the crew. Sailing members have to improve their level of efficiency for offshore races and maintain an optimum level of fitness for the Grand Prix. Physical training, sailing on other types of craft, weather training and computer courses are planned for the crew this winter, whilst Gitana Team's shore crew headed up by Jean Le Huérou-Kérisel, is aiming to launch a versatile Gitana 11 next March, which will be every bit fearsome on the Grand Prix course as in offshore racing.
After having capsized in the Fécamp Grand Prix last August, the trimaran had a six month spell in the shed at the Gitana Team's Multipôle base in Brittany. After having given Gitana X a thorough check-over, her new skipper Thierry Duprey du Vorsent and his shore crew have drawn up a complete list of work to be carried out to make the most out of her immobilisation. As for the platform itself, Thierry wished to amend the interior layout of her central hull. The interior coatings have been sanded down and replaced by a thin coat of paint. Her helm station layout fixed onto the crossbeams have been reduced.
Thierry emphasises the fact that « The work carried out on the platform of Gitana X has meant we have been able to rid the boat of 130 kg of unnecessary weight. For 2005, Gitana X will be lighter, which should contribute to improving her Grand Prix performance. Although Gitana X's structure suffered during her capsize, her electronics, mast and sails were lost and have had to be replaced. We have used this opportunity to rethink the electronics completely which we have simplified to correspond with my way of sailing. Gitana X will be getting a new mast and a new set of sails from Incidence. Baron Benjamin de Rothschild wants Gitana X to become a training platform for top notch crew in much the same way as Gitana VI was a few years ago for up and coming racing yachtsmen. Backed up by the highly experienced Olivier Wroczynski young sailors who already crewed on Gitana X in 2004 will be honing their multihull experience next year, in the likes of Erwan Leroux who has become boat captain for Gitana 11, joined by Alexandre Marmorat and Jacques Guichard. We will be taking on two new recruits for the sailing team, including Léo Lucet, who was in charge of hydraulics last year for the Gitana Team and who will be sailing on both ocean races and the Grand Prix competitions in 2005. Today we have a highly motivated team, and are in keeping with the schedule we set ourselves two months ago. We are planning to launch her on 15th February which will leave us a little over a month to validate our technical modifications and get down to some training before settling down to our first races of the ORMA 2005 calendar. »