Offshore racing

We sailed aboard the Ultim foiling trimaran Gitana17:Edmond de Rothschild

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Gitana: A family of prestigious, classic boats

In 1876, Baroness Julie de Rothschild commissioned Thornycroft shipyard to build a 24.45m record steamer. The first of the Gitanas would be timed on Lake Geneva at 20.5 knots (an extraordinary speed for the period!): the world record! The Gitana saga had begun! In the 1960s, Baron Benjamin (founder of the financial group in 1953) revived the family enthusiasm for boating and racing.

 

The transformation into a racing team mainly dedicated to multihulls

In 2000 Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild established a real competition team that recruits its skippers from among the cream of the crop: Fred Le Peutrec, Loïck Peyron, Jean Le Cam, Thierry Duprey Du Vorsent and Lionel Lemonchois have been among those elected. The first racing trimaran was the former Elf III, now Gitana IX (Designed by G.Ollier - Multiplast). Then came the first boat entirely developed by the team: Gitana X. Its design was already based on the characteristics that were to become the hallmark of the team: daring techniques and aesthetics were being sought. The X was the product of a unique collaboration (something not yet undertaken in 2002!) between Gilles Ollier, Sebastien Schmidt, Mario Caponnetto and Duncan Mac Lane. Geared towards performance at Grand Prix level, this boat with X-arms was a little fragile for ocean racing.

By now the team had gained experience and made the informed choice of the acquisition of Jean Luc Nélias' ex-Belgacom (VPLP / Larros / CDK). Fred Le Peutrec and Loïck Peyron were the skippers, before Lionel Lemonchois' fantastic ride in the 2006 Route du Rhum, with an incredible victory in 7 days 17 hours! It was one of the most fantastic performances in this race since its inception. The boat was then to be transformed and extended by 17' to be eligible for the new Ultim class, and would then come 4th in the 2010 Route du Rhum, with Yann Guichard. Gitana 12 (formerly Jean Le Cam’s Bonduelle) was to be the team’s last Orma before the acquisition of one of the 4 giants of the time: Loïck Peyron’s former Innovation Explorer. Perfectly prepared, the big catamaran measuring 32.80m set out on a series of ocean records in 2008. From 2009 through 2012, the one-design circuit of the Extreme40 Sailing Series mobilized the team's multihull activity with Pierre Pennec at the helm. In 2011, the Mod 70 series started to look promising: one-design with a dynamic calendar. The bar had been raised! An ideal boat for the team. Alas the system rapidly collapsed: Sébastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier’s victory in the Transat Jacques Vabre was to be the high point of the adventure. Transformed into an experimental flying trimaran, which makes L foils progress quickly (the most efficient at the time), the Mod 70 Gitana 15 returned under the hand of Guillaume Verdier (one of the pioneers of the Team New Zealand foiler during the America’s Cup). This boat was to become the first modern ocean foiler: it paved the way ...

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