Over 25 knots with no foil!
On board Gitana 11, currently leading the way in the Transat Jacques Vabre, Lionel Lemonchois and Yann Guichard have been sailing without starboard foil for over 24 hours. But this mishap does not seem to be hindering the progress of the big blue trimaran, which was still flying along with mainsail and gennaker up at over 25 knots this morning. However, the crew are considering a possible stop to replace this important part.

The foils are adjustable appendices which, at high speeds, allow the strain on the hull to be lessened and prevent it sinking down into the water. Consequently, Gitana 11 is currently handicapped when sailing on a port tack, i.e. when the strain on its starboard float needs to be relieved. Nevertheless, the trimaran boasts an enormous advantage: as her floats are bulkier than those of her rivals, they still stabilise her and thus allow her to sail without a foil. That said, sailing in this way represents an increased risk in terms of safety and of course reduces speed, which puts into perspective the performance of Gitana 11 and her crew over the past 24 hours. Moreover, Lionel Lemonchois admitted this morning to having been “very afraid on two occasions off Cape Finisterre!
The Gitana 11 skipper described the incident as follows:Yesterday morning, 200 miles off Cape Finisterre, we heard a cracking sound coming from the float and rushed to have a look, We couldn't see anything, but a few minutes later, there was another loud crack and we realised we had no starboard foil. We were first of all very disappointed, as the course we'd taken overnight had paid off in fine style. But we soon found our motivation again, thanks mainly to our technical team, who were truly exceptional, and we went back on the offensive again, which I don't regret at all! When I see today what we've managed to achieve, I realise that our position was excellent and that we really did make the right choice. For the moment, we still don't know if we're going to stop to change the foil. It'll be decision time in a few hours.
From a technical perspective, this possibility was anticipated by the Gitana Team, which is on standby to intervene if the skipper confirms that they're going to make a stop

Next press release at 05:30 pm

Ranking at 8 am - ORMA Multihulls
Boat Rank / Skipper  Latitude  Longitude Vit.  Cap Dist. But  Dist. 1st
1 Gitana 11  36 44.02' N  14 55.11' W  22.2  198  3291.8  0.0
2 Groupama  36 27.59' N  13 43.23' W  20.4  191  3303.6  11.8
3 Banque Populaire  36 17.11' N  13 01.87' W  19.0  198  3310.3  18.5
4 Sopra  38 05.07' N  13 14.11' W  17.4  186  3400.6  108.8
Non localisé -- Brossard BOURGNON Yvan/VINCENT Jacques

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