Gitana X, Géant and Sodebo have answered the call of the SNSM. On Monday lunchtime, a press conference announcing the opening of the SNSM event was held at the town hall in Saint Nazaire. Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, Michel Desjoyeaux, Thomas Coville, together with Frédéric Le Peutrec (Gitana 11), Franck Cammas (Groupama-2) and Alain Gautier (Foncia) were all there. Gitana 11 is unfortunately unable to take part in this group record attempt as the finishing touches are being put to the boat's dagger board in the CDK yard.
Thierry Duprey du Vorsent will be accompanied by Erwan Le Roux (tactician), Jacques Guichard (trimmer), Mayeul Riffet (navigator) and Léopold Lucet (bowman). All three tris will be setting out five minutes apart, the starting order being drawn out of a hat a few hours before the starting shot is fired. Weather conditions are not ideal for a short reference time to be set (20-knot westerly wind as far as Ushant with a 10-knot northerly blow slackening off in the Channel). The main aim of the game however is to promote and help the Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer. The French national lifeboat association needs all the help it can get from cruising and professional racing yachtsmen. Only one sailor out of twenty is a member of the non profit-making organisation which represents 3 500 volunteers who go out to sea, 1 200 shore-based volunteers, 1 200 lifeguards, covering 172 permanent centres and 58 seasonal centres in France.
Thierry Duprey du Vorsent :
« What an excellent idea this record is. A reference to the SNSM whom we can count upon whenever we set out to sea. It is one way to thank them and help them gain recognition so that a greater number of cruising yachtsmen become increasingly aware of the work they do. The fact that they exist does not mean that you should not do your utmost to be independent and autonomous. Gitana X is there mainly for the record but above all else for the SNSM to assist them in promoting the work they do. I have already had the occasion to see them at work, get to know them and appreciate what their work represents, quite how they fit in. Bravo ! When I set out to sea, of course I am conscious of the fact that I may require assistance. But the whole idea is that we prepare everything in such a way to avoid them having to leave terra firma. The best place for them is never the less ashore ! »