The Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild enters the water in Lorient in her new Route du Rhum configuration. Image copyright Yvan Zedda/Gitana SA
by Kate Jennings
Gitana Team’s week couldn’t have got off to a better start. Indeed this Monday 12 May marks the Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild’s refit completion and her return to the liquid element. With this same trimaran, Sébastien Josse will take the start of the Route du Rhum in a little less than six months, on 2 November 2014. Up against the giants of the Ultimate Class, the boat fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild will be one of the smallest trimarans of her category and the challenge promises to be a significant one. For all that, Sébastien Josse and the members of Gitana Team have left nothing to chance over the past winter in their bid to optimise the existing platform and adapt her to the task of solo sailing. However, the three month refit, away from prying eyes, has also been an opportunity for the team with the five-arrow logo to create and implement a brand new set of features; a system which ought to prove its worth over the coming weeks during the boat’s commissioning and sea trials.
Originally built to be sailed by six or eight men, the Multi70 was put through her paces in double-handed configuration during the Transat Jacques Vabre. Back in November, Sébastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier won that particular duel against the crew of Oman Sail. The rhythm maintained by the four sailors throughout the 5,400-mile sprint between Le Havre and Itajai seriously impressed onlookers. On his arrival in Brazil, Sébastien Josse stepped back on dry land with one certainty: he wanted to take up the gauntlet of competing in the next Route du Rhum aboard this same multihull, solo. In a little less than six months, the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild will set sail from Saint Malo to contest his very first Rhum at the helm of a trimaran.
The Gitana Multi70 on land after her alterations. Image copyright Yvan Zedda/Gitana SA
In order to be up to this legendary transatlantic, the most recent of the Gitana fleet has passed through the expert hands of the Gitana Team at her technical base in Lorient, south-west Brittany: “The team has done a remarkable job over countless hours as the timing was tight given the boat’s late return from Brazil. In the ensuing three months, we knew we couldn’t launch into a major transformation where the boat would have been extended for example. As such the idea was to use the existing 70-foot base, thus retaining the boat’s key potential, then optimising anything that could be improved within this deadline in readiness for a single-handed transatlantic,” explained Cyril Dardashti, Gitana’s team manager.