Back from Sardinia
42 hours at sea were all that was needed for Gitana to cover the 350 miles (670 km) between Cagliari (Sardinia) and La Ciotat (France), mainly head to wind or with no wind at all. A lively problem-free sail back.

Even if deliveries are not important in themselves, the crew still have to pay a great deal of attention. These boats are prototypes "...they are very physical and tiring to sail, they are not cruising machines at all...", affirms Jean-Yves Le Govic alias Napo, a member of Gitana's technical team who was on board for the occasion. ..." But they are exceptional fantastic sailing boats. It is the first time I have sailed Gitana X on the open sea. Pure pleasure at the helm, she just slips through the water. And you can reach unbelievable speeds with very little wind. Lionel (the skipper) is a different guy altogether at sea – particularly sailing short-handed with sailors and friends like Olivier Wroczynski and Yann Marilley. One hundred percent pure pleasure... ".

The 5th man invited on board for the occasion confirms. Alain Hubert*, polar explorer with many a first in extreme conditions, was getting his first taste of ocean-racing multihulls : "... I didn't expect to do this voyage non-stop. I thought that sailing meant making stop-overs in harbour every night. I've discovered an extraordinary milieu with truly professional sailors. It's fascinating to spend a night at sea, with all the stars and fluorescent plankton in the wake of the boat. It's a bit like in polar regions when you have no marker other than the horizon which moves forward as you do. In fact, I only went down below for an hour and a half throughout the duration of the voyage, preferring to make the most of the sea environment which I adore. I'm going to organise my next expedition*... ".

As Alain Hubert discovers the world of sailing, Lionel Lemonchois states that if he had enough time, he would really like to follow in Alain's footsteps : " ...I like what he does. The Arctic is still a space of pure freedom, where there are not many people, an extreme milieu. And I know nothing about it. I'd like to have the chance to find out...".

Preparation for Marseille

Everything has to be prepared so that the new (pivoting) dagger board works perfectly well. For the foils (skates), the lifting/lowering system has been improved and fine tuned following changes to incidence. Finally, between each Grand Prix, the general maintenance on a racing yacht is extremely demanding.

Lionel Lemonchois : "...part of the normal work, but work never the less. And as the only way to move is forwards, then we are particularly attentive to the tiniest detail. For Marseille, I hope we'll have at least 15 knots of wind. Firstly it's more interesting from a sailing point of view. And Gitana is more at ease in stronger winds..."

Twelve multihulls are expected to take part in Marseille for the 3rd Grand Prix of the season which is to take place from 4th to 6th July 2003 (after Lorient/F and Cagliari/It). Both Bayer and Belgacom will be back in action on this occasion.

*For 2006, Alain Hubert is preparing the Grande Dérive Arctique (the Great Artic Drift) dreamed up by the Norwegian Fridtjöf Nansen in 1895, a project which involves reaching the geographic North Pole by boat. In order to do so, he wants to acquire the only polar sailing boat capable of withstanding the pressure of the ice, the ex-Antartica which belonged to Jean-Louis Etienne and to Sir Peter Blake. This expedition takes form under the aegis of the International Polar Foundation created by Alain Hubert two years ago. &

The content that appears on this website is protected by copyright.
Any reproduction or representation is strictly forbidden.

For further information, please refer to the legal notice section.
Enter at least 4 characters...