Gitana is pursuing her optimisation programme, from which no mechanical sport can escape. At the end of July, after a highly encouraging qualifying voyage from Marseille to La Trinité, with Lionel Lemonchois and his crew for the Transat Jacques Vabre, Marc Guessard on board, Gitana returned home to spend three weeks in the yard, punctuated by her re-launch on 18th August.
« Her underside has been entirely sanded down and repainted, indicated Lionel, the dagger board's trailing edge has also been redone and her rotation system has been slightly modified. Always on the lookout for ways to save weight, we have done away with the antennae support and boom aft, whose advantages did not proven their worth given the extra weight carried. We'll be taking part in the Fécamp Grand Prix with the same set of sails we have been using since the start of the season, keeping the new wardrobe for the Transat Jacques Vabre which I'm racing with Marc in November. »
Few crew changes to the Gitana team for the last crewed series in the multihull season. Only the Figariste Sébastien Josse, who is currently preparing for the Vendée Globe on the 60-foot monohull VMI, will be playing at bing a trapeze artist on the bows to replace François Denis, who is unavailable.
As for the competition, 12 multihulls will be lining up on the start of the Grand Prix de Fécamp. The battles to be fought out on the water will be as tough as ever for Gitana Team which is counting on a bit of bad weather next Thursday to liven up the start. South-westerly winds should have kicked in by then and will give these amazing machines the ocasion to express themselves as they know how, putting on a great show for spectators who will be able to watch proceedings from the beach.
Gitana's crew for the Fécamp Grand Prix :
1. Skipper/helm : Lionel Lemonchois
2. Owner/Performer : Benjamin de Rothschild
3. Tactician : Philippe Durr (Swiss)
4. Navigator : Marc Guessard
5. Mainsail trimmer Grand Voile : Nicolas Berthoud, aka « Duck » (Swiss)
6. Port trimmer : Jean Baptiste Epron
7. Starboard trimmer : Yann Marilley
8. Grinder : Thierry Barot
9. Traveler : Olivier Wroczynski
10. Pitman : Nicolas Engel (Swiss)
11. Bowman 1 : Sébastien Josse