Team spirit
As the multihulls attacked the start of their 12th day of the race, the battle for leadership was rife. Gitana 11 moved into second place this morning and started to gain mile after mile largely thanks to a fairly direct track down to Ascension Island. The fleet should have reached the island early this evening. Gitana X has just made it out of the Doldrums after a tricky and tiring day. The boat is still in 4th position more than 600 miles behind the leaders. Credit never the less to Thierry Duprey du Vorsent / Erwan Le Roux, who have hung on in there since the start in very tough conditions indeed, plagued also by a series of technical set backs which have not managed to shake their determination.

Two races within a race, each of the trimarans comprising the Gitana Team has had a different race to sail. Frédéric Le Peutrec and Yann Guichard are punching on ahead in the leading threesome, neck and neck with their direct opponents, all vying for that precious first place.  Overnight, the tandem drove a fast and flighty Gitana 11 up through the ranks. Her opponents have great cause for concern. As for Thierry Duprey du Vorsent and Erwan Le Roux, they too are sailing an excellent race, albeit unfortunately a little more personal. Looks like a long route ahead for the crew who are hampered by the distance to the leader. Never the less, team morale on board is fine, following in the wake of the track sailed by Gitana 11...

Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, midday today:

"The start of the course was a little rough going for us, which is precisely why we are hanging on. We've opted for a very easterly track, hugging the coast of Africa. Four years ago on Gitana IX, we steered the very same track and had a hell of a time with the fishing boats off Mauritania. This year, there are fewer boats about! I'm pleased we're out of the Doldrums. Yesterday was awful with 30 knots in the squalls and dead clam right afterwards. Our mental energy took a knock then. With all the technical hitches we've had, we're the tail ender but without hoping to win, we can hope to gain some ground. Conditions have not been favourable to those of us further downfield. We just haven't had what was required to attack again. Not easy to race against the wind as your only opponent. Although we're not really in the match any more, we're following Gitana 11's performance from afar. Best of luck lads. If we could give you extra miles, we would. Fred and Yann are in an excellent position for passing Ascension, even compared to Banque Populaire. Fingers crossed. The guys know what they're doing and the boat has enormous potential downwind. "

Frédéric Le Peutrec:

"We haven't let up for an instant. We're going for it, giving it all we've got and of course we've not slept a wink. We're knackered but in great shape! Ascension Island is getting closer every minute and is just 45 miles ahead. A bit more in fact as we're close-hauled. Banque Pop will be bearing away any time now and we'll gain ground on them yet again. By the time we reach Ascension, we could come to just a couple of miles distance from them with the psychological advantage of being on the offensive. 
Géant must have had quite a surprise this morning! Otherwise, nothing to report. We can't wait to finish. Sunday? In time for the aperitif? We'll be looking out for our friends on the "X" who have really had a rough ride indeed. Our thoughts go out to them whole heartedly!»


Short tricky seas for the multihull fleet at the moment. Crews are having to play things carefully to keep their steeds in good shape for the final sprint to Bahia.
South-east trade winds should remain steady for 48 hours after passing Ascension Island. 

Further info on
In the world of sailing, the name Gitana is synonymous with the French-Swiss branch of the Rothschild, and conjures up a style of living going back more than 100 years, comprised of passion, team spirit and the quest for excellence. Under the aegis of the Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, the story of the Gitana boats turned to multihulls in 2000 when Gitana IX was entered in the Transat Québec /Saint-Malo yacht race. For the second year running, the Baron is active on the ORMA Championship circuit with two trimarans, Gitana X and Gitana 11. Gitana X is devoted to training young talent and Gitana 11 aims to shine at the highest level. Tradition, innovation and transmission…
Photo image bank : Yvan Zedda  Video image bank : Néfertiti Production

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