At Marseilles
Quayside in the Phocaean city's Old Port since the start of the week, the two Gitanas are readying themselves to compete in the 5th Grand Prix de Marseille. This afternoon, Gitana 11 and Gitana 12 took part the official training for this event counting towards the Cafe Ambassador Multi Cup Championship. It offered an opportunity to assess everyone's performance over a nice little stage completed in a brisk 12-15-knot west/south-westerly breeze!

With the arrival of Loick Peyron at the helm of Gitana 11, it is as if the man has just found his bearings on a course always retained in his mind's eye. Frank about the superior potential for speed of a certain green trimaran, Loick Peyron, as incisive on the water as ever, is planning to tease his opponent while at the same time hopefully forging a bond between his crew in order to get the best out of them this weekend. Alongside him will be Frederic Le Peutrec as his onboard tactician, thus reforming a duo from an era when the series was dominated by another green vessel – Fujicolor!

On Gitana 12, the young crew led by Thierry Duprey du Vorsent has been reunited with the trimaran after a month of frenetic repairs. Seizing the bit between his teeth, the skipper is delighted to at last be able to take on his rivals in a Grand Prix.

Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, skipper of Gitana 12…

“It's our third outing since the mast was refitted and the first really interesting one as the wind was just right: not too strong but enough for us to realise that we've still got work to do. As soon as the conditions worsen, it complicates things seriously and the manoeuvres are less fluid… there's no secret about it, we have to get plenty of sailing in, especially a young crew like us. This week is the first time all eleven of us have sailed on the boat and half the crew are still getting to know Gitana 12. We've kept the crew from last year but then we were sailing on Gitana X. But what we might lack in cohesion, we make up for in motivation! Tomorrow promises to be an even tougher test, with a mistral of 20-25 knots forecast… it's entirely different for the others as it will be their second grand prix in the wind, so they're in the swing of things, which might make it more difficult for us! But the boat's going well and is nice and fast. Consequently, we need to work on our weak points in order to be at our best and get the most out of Gitana 12's potential. It's a great opportunity for us!”

Loick Peyron, skipper of Gitana 11

“I'm happy to be back sailing, even if it isn't that easy to return to the helm at the drop of a hat! Luckily, I've got Fred as my right-hand man (ed's note: Frederic Le Peutrec), and we formed a pretty good partnership not so long ago! In teams where there is a lot of potential, and God knows, there certainly is in the Gitana Team, you sometimes just have to tinker with the formula to find the right blend! It's the same with football, and the French team is currently experiencing similar problems finding the right combination. Like them, this team is full of talent but you have to have the right person in the right position or it can easily all go pear-shaped. You can have the very best, but without belief and a cohesive unit, it just doesn't work. These training days have been extremely enlightening. These boats are very restrictive and difficult to control… It's a bit like in a racing car with drivers and navigators! It's mindblowing choreography to organise… and it doesn't always come naturally. I have to find my bearings again, but although it's not quite like riding a bike, it still comes back quite quickly! I'm really pleased that I've made plenty of silly mistakes over the two days to be able to analyse them and most importantly use them to our advantage. It's funny, as there is still a green scarecrow out in front. After Fuji, now it's Groupama-2… But I'm sure we can give her a few frights of our own… Marseilles' waters really are very tricky and fascinating, and what's more, we've got Notre Dame de la Garde watching over us…

Gitana 11 Crew:

Loick Peyron (skipper-helmsman), Baron Benjamin de Rothschild (performer / navigator), Frederic Le Peutrec (tactician), Daniel Souben (trimmer), Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant (trimmer), Jean-Baptiste Epron (trimmer), Ronan Le Goff (wincher), Christophe Lassègue (bowman), François Denis (n°2), Antoine Mermod (piano), Alexandre Quiblier (wincher)

Gitana 12 Crew:

Thierry Duprey du Vorsent (skipper-helmsman), Erwan Le Roux (tactician), Mayeul Riffet (navigator), Alexandre Marmorat (trimmer), Nicolas Raynaud (trimmer), Mathieu Tatibouet (trimmer), Arnaud Derrendinger (trimmer), Antoine Carpentier (piano), Yann Le Govic (trimmer), Léopold Lucet (bowman), Fabrice Blondel (wincher)

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