Gitana X turned turtle in the Fécamp Grand Prix last September. Two specific yard sessions were required. The first one essentially involved repairing the forward starboard crossbeam which had been dented by the mast as poor weather made it impossible to right the trimaran straight away. The platform itself had not sustained any major damage but all of her electricity, electronics and computers needed to be redone. Headed up by Thierry Duprey, the technical team also made one or two improvements to the boat's circuits and changed some of the interior layout. All of the coatings were stripped down to the first skin of carbon and one single layer of paint has been applied. Chart table, galley, bunk and batteries have been centralised and made lighter. Furthermore, the central hull's forward compartment used to be accessed via the deck. The hatch has been done away with and the interior bulkheads have had holes added to them to facilitate moving weight about in race conditions. By way of precaution, the engine has also been changed and all of the electrical and electronic circuits are new, have been made more straightforward, more efficient and lighter.
As for the deck, the helm stations have been reduced (-30 kg), coatings behind the crossbeams and the mainsheet traveller have gone, the external transmission steering system has been simplified and a coffee grinder pedestal has been removed from the cockpit. All in all, a saving in weight of around 250 kg ! To optimise the boat, the rudders on the floaters have been moved forward to just behind the cross beam (shifted 3 metres) to reduce the negative effects caused by the banana shaped floaters. The central rudder now has a new hydraulic system to modify the angle of attack of the foil design which modulates the trimaran's longitudinal trim. The mast has also been replaced by a small chord monolithic section (600 mm) and a new set of sails has been made by Incidences La Rochelle.
Manoeuvres are easier and faster now that the hydraulics pedestal has gone. Thierry Duprey's team has added a winch onto the mast for the halyards (mainsail, gennaker, staysail) ad the old winch in the cockpit is now used for the textile mainsheet. The crew will therefore be further forward and able to play on the hydraulics with four winchers (in stead of two previously).
Thierry Duprey has planned a week long Grand Prix configuration training session, followed by a two-handed qualifying passage in April with Erwan Le Roux for the Transat Jacques Vabre. « When we decided to race Gitana X this seaosn, the aim was not to win on the ORMA circuit as that is not in keeping wit the boat's potential. The idea is to give young talent the chance to get ocean-racing multihull experience. Almost all of the crew is between 20 and 30 years old with the exception of Xavier Dagault, an experienced winch man and former crew for Loïck Peyon, Marc Guillemot and Fred Le Peutrec… Erwan Le Roux (tactics) was formerly bowman on Gitana X , Alex Marmorat (winch man), Antoine Carpentier (foredeck) and Jacques Guichard (trimmer) were also present on board in 2004. The following will be joining us : Mayeul Riffet (pit), formerly on Banque Populaire and Sopra Group, Caroline Vieille (trimmer) only female crew on the ORMA 2005 circuit and Mathieu Tatibouët (mainsheet traveller) who's been sailing Open 7.50's for years. Also Léopold Lucet (foredeck hand), part of Gitana Team's shore crew last year and Yann Le Govic (mainsail trimmer) who is just getting to know mulithulls but who has already done lots of sailing. Taking the boat's potential and our lack of experience against such a high-profile field into account, our aim is to make regular progress in Grand Prix racing but also to take a shot for the top three places in the two ocean races on the calendar, particularly for the Transat Jacques Vabre. »