Cockpit modification...
Gitana is currently undergoing her most important "operation" to date at her base in the Multipôle 56 in La Trinité-sur-Mer (French Atlantic coast). Work announced to lighten the trimaran with a view to her participation in the season's leading event of the year, the two-haanded Transat Jacques Vabre.

Immediately after the Grand Prix de Fécamp (Channel coast) held at the end of August, Gitana has had her mast unstepped and has been hauled out and put into the shed. The permanent members of the Gitana Team including the assistance team - Léo, Lucas and Laurent - dismounted all the gear from the cockpit very quickly and cut away her famous "ears". These extensions which stuck out on either side of the central cockpit's aft helming station bore the headsail winches and their travellers. Once the removal operations were complete, including the cross bracing spreaders and flooring, the work began on the composite reconstruction of the cockpit. Yann Marilley : "...Lionel (Lemonchois) has redesigned the cockpit to optimise the repositioning of the gear and to enable headsails to be trimmed more effectively. It's a big job which will keep us busy through to the end of September. As for the laminate work, we have been working non-stop for a whole week, the team working in shifts to keep going night and day. Once this stage has been completed, all of the winch transmissions need to be overhauled adding a winch to the general coupling system...".
Setting aside the improved efficiency in manoeuvring, this operation will save an estimated 80 kilos.


Losing weight has become a leitmotiv within the Gitana Team. Whilst the laminators were working on the structure, Olivier Wroczynski alias "Zolive" was carrying out major changes to the on-board computers. The two original computers have been removed in favour of a specific watertight unit (which can withstand the connection of all equipment), and a back-up laptop PC. "Zolive" has also worked on improving the boat's automatic helm which will have improved performance software. Zolive: "... until now, we've used the automatic pilot as a course-holding instrument. It is much better to be able to use it in 'intelligent mode' to follow the true wind variations. Once she is back on the water, we'll have lots of trials to carry out ; particularly lots of sea trials so that the automatic pilot gets used to the boat, so that it records the trimaran's behaviour in order to be more reactive and as efficient as possible..."

Gitana's relaunch is scheduled to take place on 6th October, with the aim of sailing as much as possible before setting out for Le Havre, where she must be by Friday 24th October at 10h00 GMT.
Find out more about the Transat Jacques Vabre :


As skipper Lionel is in south Brittany overseeing the modifications to her trimaran, his alter ego for the Transat Jacques Vabre, Marc Guessard, is busy racing a Figaro one design with Franck-Yves Escoffier from Saint-Malo. Still mad about a class of boat where he sailed brilliantly well (3rd in 1997), he is battling it out with the leading group in a race from Saint-Nazaire (Atlantic coast) to Dakar (Senegal). At the time of writing, he was lying 3rd as the fleet rounded Cap Finisterre (north-western tip of Spain), just 4 miles behind the leader. A two-handed offshore race perfectly suited to his preparation for the Jacques Vabre Transatlantic race.
Keep up with Marc Guessard :

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