Multihulls must not be associated with the notion of frafility
Member of the Gitana Design Team, Gilles Ollier is also one of the greatest international specialist when it comes to ocean-going multihulls. Gitana X was built in his Vannes-based (Brittany) Multiplast shipyard, where many mythical giants were also born*. The architect / builder takes an insightful look at the Route du Rhum which just came to an end.

"First of all, underlines Gilles Ollier, we must avoid the association of multihulls and the notion of fragility. Exceptional weather conditions were encountered this year, conditions which were so horrendous that they caused a tanker to sink, generating a major oil pollution ! Sure, the trimarans had to face more damage than usual, due to the weather, but anyway the common proportion of race retirements on a Route du Rhum is 50%. This race involves solo sailors on multihulls, in November : that's too many factors at the same time, in my opinion… Personally, I have not wished to get involved in that field of 60 ft trimarans designed to race single-handedly - we've been asked 5 times, and I turned down the offers. On the other hand, I was glad to participate in the Gitana project, because the goal was to come up with an unusual boat, not to "clone" the existing solutions".

Learn and start over

"With the Gitana Design Team, we decided to start from scratch. The result is visibly original ! And everyone agrees to think she has a big potential". Gitana X is now wintered, and the technical staff will start to work to prepare the forthcoming season. One of the major jobs will of course be the mast : for the new spar, the team has decided to start from the same design as the first one. Gilles Ollier : "the experts are working things out right now, and their conclusions have not been revealed yet – I nevertheless think that the race for lightness has had a price, paid during the last season by everyone… The previous season, there had been no damage and everyone was feeling confident : they all went further in their quest for weight reduction, and a limit has been reached… We have to bear in mind that we're not in the rigid field of pure sciences, and we're working on prototypes. But in 2003, the boats will be reliable !"

* among other sailing myths, Multiplast has built Orange, the current Jules Verne Trophy holder, and Geronimo, the world's biggest trimaran, skippered by Olivier de Kersauson.

About the Route du Rhum

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