The ArMen Race kicks off the season for the Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild
A few days on from the launch of the Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild, Sébastien Josse and the members of Gitana Team have chosen the ArMen Race to rack up their first miles in the 2014 race season. On the afternoon of Thursday 29 May, the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild will set sail from La Trinité-sur-Mer on a long coastal course around the Breton shoreline, the definitive version of which won't be revealed until the morning of the start so it can be best adapted to the expected weather conditions. Sébastien Josse will be accompanied by six crew this Thursday for his first official outing. With 48 hours till the start, 170 boats have confirmed their entries. Of note is the fact that Gitana Team will be joined in its category by the crew of Oman Sail.
On 12 May 2014, the Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild returned to the liquid element after three months work at her general HQ' in Lorient, Brittany. Since that time, Sébastien Josse and his team have performed a number of sea trials to validate the choices made during the winter break. The installation of T-foil rudders on the floats of the 70-foot trimaran naturally ranked among the most notable modifications and the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild gave us his initial analysis of these famous appendages built in the Antipodes*: “After a three month refit, we were itching to get out on the water and confirm the architectural choices made over the past winter. The work carried out by the shore crew has borne fruit and Edmond de Rothschild is just as we'd envisaged. The major new feature was the addition of T-foil rudders of course. After a number of sea trials, we can safely say that we've validated the principle. The boat is very responsive and she's lost none of her seaworthiness, but she has made gains in a number of areas. For all that, these new appendages are a first for a large ocean-going trimaran and the systems, which are specialised in their implementation, require some time for their fine-tuning. That comes as no surprise to us. We have over five months left until the start of the Rhum so we'll know how to use them wisely by then and we'll be able to take our time making the platform reliable and optimised in her definitive format.”
It is logical then that the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild will be equipped with her original float rudders for the ArMen Race. It's a precautionary measure, which can be easily understood on close scrutiny of the event's intended route. Indeed, the organisers of the ArMen Race have envisaged several courses, nine in total, and a set of different scenarios to adapt to the weather conditions on the actual day. The longest course traces out a triangle shape spanning nearly 500 miles between La Trinité-sur-Mer, the Occidentale de Sein and the BXA mark offshore of Royan. Meantime, the shortest route equates to just 237 nautical miles with a race start in the Baie de Quiberon, a climb up to the Pointe de Penmarc'h in southern Finistère, before rounding the Ile d'Yeu in the Vendée region, and returning to La Trinité-sur-Mer. “This race follows a course close to shore, where there can be a large amount of shipping. The majority of the race will be run under the cover of darkness and the various objects (UFOs, fishing nets, crab pots ) you can encounter on this type of course are all elements that could damage the new rudders. That's obviously not the goal given our competitive aims this season,” Sébastien Josse points out.
A light airs edition in the offing?
With regards to the weather outlook some two days until the race start, the forecasts are still lacking clarity as the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild explains: “We're in neither an anticyclonic nor a depressionary situation. There are a number of small fronts moving about near the north-west tip of Brittany. These fronts aren't very active and they're set to generate cloud cover and possible rain but not strong winds. In today's grib files, the wind is very shifty, both in terms of strength and direction over the period that concerns us. The trend is for light airs with a breeze oscillating between 0 and 10 knots. For the time being, it's still difficult to say what the conditions will be like for the first 12 hours of the race as the grib files aren't in agreement at all. For the next stage, things look a bit more ordered. If the breeze moves into the zone as forecast, we should have a prevailing northerly wind, which will shift round to the north-east or the north-west on Thursday night through into Friday. However, there's still time for the weather patterns to develop further between now and the start.”
As such we'll have to wait until the briefing on Thursday morning to get greater precision on the weather conditions in which the race will be played out and hence the course that will be selected for the fleet's largest craft, among which is the Multi 70 Edmond de Rothschild.
“My objective this season is the Route du Rhum but solo sea trials didn't seem like enough of a preparation. Nothing beats covering the miles, whether they're in solo or crewed configuration. I'm very happy to be sharing this start to the season with the team. In the ArMen Race, the primary goal is to rediscover the sensations of sailing offshore and there's nothing better than a race and the competitive spirit of a race start with other boats racing alongside us,” says a buzzing Sébastien Josse, just 48 hours from the start, which will take place on Thursday afternoon at the mouth of the River Crac'h off La Trinité-sur-Mer.
* These new rudders are the fruit of what is a close collaboration between Antoine Koch, the naval architect Guillaume Verdier and the members of Team New Zealand. The precious parts which make up the rudders - the blade and a lifting surface - were manufactured in the Antipodes at the Core Builder yard, based to the north of Auckland, and arrived in Europe a few weeks ago, so that the members of Gitana Team could adapt them to the protective elements made in-house.
To track the Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild in the ArMen Race: http://www.armenrace.fr
The crew of Edmond de Rothschild in the ArMen Race
Sébastien Josse (skipper)
David Boileau, Florent Chastel, Jean-François Cuzon, Cyril Dardashti, Olivier Douillard, Antoine Koch