The dismasting suffered by Gitana 12 took place right in front of the port of Nice, at a point when the full crew for the Trophée du Conseil Général des Alpes Maritimes had already effected several upwind and downwind training legs. The mast fell slowly backwards, without injuring any of the crew. All the equipment was able to be salvaged (mast in two pieces, sails, etc.) as the sea was calm and the wind limited to 10-12 knots.
“It's the bulkhead holding the hydraulic rod on the stay (cable which keeps the mast forward) which tore off. It's an original part of the boat which was showing no sign of wear and tear when the winter work was done on her. The rod tube tore the deck as far back as the rear staysail chainplate, so over about two metres. Consequently, the mast fell backwards until it came to rest softly on Gitana 12's cross-arm. What with being precariously balanced and the movement of the sea, it then broke off cleanly at the mainsheet bar. As it's a monolithic carbon profile, it's easier to repair. We're in touch with the experts (Lorima for the construction of the mast, Hervé Devaux for the structure calculations) in order to work out how to repair it as rapidly as possible. The two pieces are therefore going to arrive in Lorient this afternoon and Gitana 12 is going to sail down to La Ciotat over the coming days to have the deck and stay bulkhead repaired. We're working flat out with the Gitana technical team to be ready for the Grand Prix de Trapani (2-4 June). I'd like to thank everyone who has given us a helping hand.”
The Trophée du Conseil Général des Alpes Maritimes gets underway this Saturday, but the weather conditions could see the programme being modified, as some hefty conditions with a force 7 to 8 (28-35 knots) westerly wind are forecast at the start of the weekend for the passage through a depression around the Gulf of Genoa. A more manageable force 4 (15-18 knots) west to south-westerly wind is then forecast for Sunday, which should permit three rounds to be held. Four trimarans will be at the starting line: Banque Populaire IV, Géant, Gitana 11, and Groupama 2.
Gitana 11 crew
Frédéric Le Peutrec (skipper-helmsman)
Baron Benjamin de Rothschild (performer-trimmer)
Jean-Baptiste Levaillant (trimmer)
Frédéric Guilmin (trimmer)
Daniel Souben (trimmer)
Jean-Baptiste Epron (trimmer)
Alexandre Quiblier (wincher)
Ronan Le Goff (wincher)
Antoine Mermod (piano)
François Denis (foredeck/n°2)
Christophe Lassègue (bowman/n°1)