A tactical headache
Light air is making the course in Fécamp tough to negotiate, together with offshore winds perturbed by the cliffs and fairly strong tidal currents. Judging by the training runs, Gitana 11 appears to be rather at ease from a tactical point of view and Gitana X in difficulty when it comes to speed.

Since 1995, the Grand Prix du Port de Fécamp has been one of the highlights of the Multihull Championship. This year France is basking in an idyllic Indian summer. Stifling heat hung over Fécamp during the last training sessions on Thursday before races get underway on Friday morning. Winds were fickle in strength and in direction (SW to W then NW) with fairly strong tidal currents along the Normandy coast. The Gitana Team has been in Fécamp since last Sunday and has had the time to fell their way around the course and to become familiar with the specific details of the course here. Compared with this time last year, there were strong winds and Gitana 11 finished third behind Sergio Tacchini and Groupama-2. Easterly offshore winds are highly disturbed by the cliffs in Fécamp. Tactics and strategy members of the crew - Yann Guichard and Daniel Souben (Gitana 11), Erwan Le Roux and Mayeul Riffet (Gitana X) – have their work cut out for them so they avoid getting caught out by light shifting winds which are not easy to anticipate !

Daniel Souben (Gitana 11) :

« Weather forecast is for a little more wind this weekend. That suits us ! We cannot keep up with the rest of the fleet in light air. With an offshore wind, the course here in Fécamp is not easy combined with the currents and the wind corridors. On Thursday we saw how Groupama-2 crossed the line too early and had to start again. She never quite made it back into the race. We won the round on Gitana 11 – fifty centimetres ahead Foncia and with Banque Populaire hot on our heels ! We have a fight on our hands. We're also going to have to keep our eyes out for Armel Le Cléac'h and his crew who are very much at home here. But if the wind drops then we're in trouble. »

Mayeul Riffet (Gitana X) :

« Gitana X has always had problems with speed in light air, except between 0 and 5 knots where our hull forms have little wetted surface. But between 5 and 12 knots, there's no point deceiving ourselves – we're short in terms of performance. On Thursday here in Fécamp, we were less at ease than we were in the Grand Prix in Calvi, Marseille or Vigo where the breeze was really light. Why ? We're not that sure to be honest. Are the other boats really that much faster than we are ? or are we really that slow to find out how to sail her fast ? We are working hard on that point and are determined to find out why. Crew changes cannot explain everything away. This course is tough and with a 2-3 knot current, close-hauled sailing angles change. The electronics cannot keep up with what is going on. The boat is not so reactive and does not need to rely upon recorded data so much. We simply need more wind ! »

Crew for the Grand Prix de Fécamp (Gitana 11) :

Frédéric Le Peutrec (skipper)
Baron Benjamin de Rothschild (performer)
Yann Guichard (tactics) 
Franck Citeau (trimmer)
Daniel Souben (trimmer)
Jean-Baptiste Epron (mainsheet)
Alexandre Quiblier (wincher)
Loïc Le Mignon (wincher)
Antoine Mermod (pitman)
François Denis (foredeck - n°2)
Christophe Lassègue (bowman - n°1)

Crew for the Grand Prix de Fécamp (Gitana X) :

Thierry Duprey du Vorsent (skipper-helm)
Erwan Le Roux (tactics)
Mayeul Riffet (pitman-navigator)
Jochen Krauth (trimmer)
Mathieu Tatibouët (mainsheet)
Yann Le Govic (mainsheet)
Eric Péron (trimmer)
Arnaud de Boringer (wincher)
Xavier Dagault (wincher)
Antoine Carpentier (foredeck - n°2)
Léopold Lucet (bowman - n°1)

Provisional rankings in the ORMA Multihull Championship:

After the IB Group Challenge (weighting 3), the Grand Prix de Corse (weighting 1), the Giraglia Rolex Cup (weighting 0.5), the Grand Prix de Marseille Métropole (weighting 1) and the Grand Prix de Galice (weighting 1) :

1-Pascal Bidegorry (Banque Populaire) 11 points (0+3+2+4+2)
2-Michel Desjoyeaux (Géant) 17 ½ points (6+4+1,5+3+3)
3-Frédéric Le Peutrec (Gitana 11) 20 ½ points (9+2+3,5+2+4)
4-Franck Cammas (Groupama-2) 21 points (21+0+0+0+0)
5-Armel Le Cléac'h (Foncia) 30 points (12+7+1+5+5)
6-Thierry Duprey du Vorsent (Gitana X) 35 ½ points (15+5+2,5+7+6)
7-Giovanni Soldini (TIM-Progetto Italia) 83 points (51+6+3+6+17)
8ex-Thomas Coville (Sodebo) 113 points (51+18+9+18+17)
8ex-Yvan Bourgnon (Brossard) 113 points (51+18+9+18+17)

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