Grand Prix de Marseille. Motivated...
After 6 days spent training in La Ciotat (next to Marseille), the Gitana Team are highly motivated as they approach the 3rd Grand Prix of the World Championship. The windy days in store should be favourable to the blue and yellow trimaran and her crew which is making regular progress in its apprenticeship and handling of the boat.

Lionel Lemonchois, skipper : "...we're moving forwards. We're getting better all the time. In a steady 20/25 knots (36/42 km/h) wind, we were up there with the others during today's training session. But we'll see how things work out tomorrow. Today didn't count...". In start of not getting off to a very good start in the opinion of tactician Philippe Durr " ...I wanted to stay over to the right hand side of the course ..." - Gitana remained on a level pegging with Tim (Giovani Soldini) and Bonduelle (Jean Le Cam), rounding the windward mark in 4th position. We never the less ought to point out that of the 12 boats entered in this 2nd Mediterranean Grand Prix, only 7 of them lined up on the start of today's "warm up".

An encouraging place for Gitana which is starting to see the result of the effort put in to date. Our studious sailing sessions of last week were not in vain. Marc Guessard, navigator : "...we've worked hard on crew cohesion in our manoeuvres. We've also sailed a lot with our new dagger board, to discover optimum markers for speed at different angles of orientation. Ditto for the foils whose angel of incidence in the water have also been modified...".

A wonderful course

With a steady Mistral blowing at 22/25 knots, brilliant sunshine and a short choppy sea very specific to the bay of Marseille, almost ideal conditions for these big multihulls. In perfect unison the Gitana Team said : "...great day's sailing. Wind, sun, perfect temperature and beautiful, superbly handled boats...". Conditions which should hold out over the three days of the Grand Prix which gets off to its official start tomorrow at 10h30 on Friday 4th July, with the starting shot of the first round. But all the science of the tacticians will be required to sail the right way to win, be it hugging the islands or out in the open sea.

It certainly looks as thought he crews will be keeping a sharp eye out indeed on the fickle winds in the roads and particularly the America's Cup hounds on board the multis. Marseille has been pre-selected by the organisers as one of the 5 towns in the running to host next Cup.


Absent form the Grand Prix de Cagliari (Italy), as he was taking part in the Bol d'Or, the Swiss Nicolas Engel is back on board in the pit. He can be forgiven for his little escapade as he won the Bol d'Or in the monohull category on the family boat. This year's Bol d'Or saw almost 550 sail boats racing on Lake Geneva (Switzerland).

Grand Prix de Marseille Métropole / Programme

Friday 4th July
10h30 : First warning signal for the multihulls. Several windward-leeward loops.
At approx. 16h30 : Baume&Mercier runs.

Saturday 5th July
10h30 : First warning signal for the multihulls. Coastal course - Grand Prix de la Communauté Urbaine and windward-leeward loops, depending on the weather.
At approx. 16h30 : Baume&Mercier runs.

Sunday 6th July
10h30 : First warning signal for the multihulls. Two to three windward-leeward loops.
17h00 : Prize-giving ceremony on the race village podium (Old Harbour).

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