The seven records, three of which are oceanic, gleaned by the members of Gitana Team throughout the 2008 season, had really taken their toll on the maxi-catamaran’s platform.
As such, on her return to her home port of La Trinité-sur-Mer, Gitana 13 underwent an evaluation which has revealed some structural weaknesses. With the Gitana Team sheds unable to accommodate the 33 metre catamaran, a tent was specially erected on the Saint-Philibert platform at the start of January so as to begin repairs. A five person team, jointly managed by Hubert Corfmat for the composite sections, and Léopold Lucet, got to work on the shell: “The stresses and strains imposed on the platform during our circumnavigation of the globe have left their mark… During the three months refit she’s just undergone, we worked on the four junctions between the floats and the beams. To reinforce her, we needed to redo the honeycomb over these zones. We also restuck the fore and aft bulkheads which were damaged. Finally we spotted some wear on the masthead, which required a few repairs to the zones we’d pinpointed beforehand” explained Léopold Lucet.
At the same time as this structural work, the team also performed the classic maintenance of a vessel returning from nine months long distance sailing: from the deck fittings to the mechanics, through to the running rigging, everything was reviewed and replaced as necessary.
At the start of April, the tent which protected Gitana 13 throughout the winter was dismantled. The relaunch of the maxi-catamaran is shaping up for the end of April. At that point, the men that make up Gitana Team, including David Boileau, Olivier Wroczynski and Léopold Lucet, will perform a series of sail trials around the bay of Quiberon so as to be fully geared up to welcome their summer guests. Indeed, after its flourishing round the world record campaign, Gitana 13 will this year be devoted to public relations operations. From La Trinité-sur-Mer, the maxi-catamaran will set off to meet the various entities that make up the LCF Rothschild Group, which border the South-West of France and the Mediterranean. The voyage will take her away from her home port until the start of November.