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Thread: Gitana Enters The Starting Gates

  1. #1
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    Gitana Enters The Starting Gates

    The crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild switches to yellow


    Lorient, monday, November 23, 2020 - After a long weather briefing carried out remotely with the router Marcel van Triest, the entire crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild gathered alongside Cyril Dardashti, director of the five-arrow team, has taken the decision to switch to code yellow, with a possible departure in a little over 24 hours. Although the weather models are still refusing to indicate a perfect window, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, the two skippers, are keen to give themselves a chance of setting sail to conquer the Jules Verne Trophy and make their own luck by crossing the imaginary line offshore of Brest early evening tomorrow, Tuesday 24 November.





    To set sail, or not to set sail? That is the question.


    This Monday, their actual departure is still cloaked in doubt and a great deal of uncertainty. Though everything is coming together to guarantee the right weather conditions at the start with the prospect of making the equator within a very respectable timeframe, for now the South Atlantic remains less inclined to offer up the ideal context to give free rein to a hassle-free descent on the quest for a sequence of low-pressure systems in the Southern Ocean. Due to the Saint Helena High, which is making forecasts very tricky, there’s a risk that in ten days or so, the favourable winds may escape the sails of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, slowing progress in her hunt for the outright round the world sailing speed record. On one model, it works; in the other, the crew gets stuck.




    Uncertainties in the South Atlantic

    “Today, on both the American and European models, the situation is relatively clear for the start, provided the crew sets sail shortly before a front rolls through, behind which conditions will deteriorate with the arrival of a small mobile ridge of high pressure with lighter winds”, explains Marcel van Triest, the boat’s 7th man, who is studying and analysing the situation. This top Jules Verne Trophy expert remains very confident with regards to the crew’s chances of kicking off its fabulous ride in style. “Even though it varies a little from one model to the other, including a 6-hour deal to negotiate the doldrums, there is every chance that the crew can make the southern hemisphere in 4 days and 12 hours. However, that’s where the situation becomes complicated and blurred”, he adds. “We’re faced with a very shifty situation that is evolving quickly. The danger is that we’ll miss the train and get crushed between two areas of high pressure in the South Atlantic. It poses a real threat, even though there is still a possibility of linking onto a course that takes us behind the high pressure. Right now, in this very progressive system, it’s circulating very low down in the south.”






    Possible departure from Lorient at midday tomorrow

    With regards to this situation, albeit driven by a real urge to set sail and attempt to break the record time of 40 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes held since January 2017 by the crew of Francis Joyon, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier are eager to give themselves every opportunity to snap up this late November weather window, which remains ajar today. This evening and tomorrow morning, they’ll study the situation again with the analysis of the new weather models. In the meantime, the six men who make up the crew are preparing to board the boat at midday tomorrow for a departure from the team’s base in Lorient, Brittany, at midday. At that point, they’ll set a course for the imaginary line between Le Créac’h lighthouse on Ushant and Lizard Point so this area offshore of Brest will be the start and finish destination for this planetary circumnavigation, which they have every intention of completing at full speed aboard their flying boat.






    Possible departure from Lorient at midday tomorrow

    With regards to this situation, albeit driven by a real urge to set sail and attempt to break the record time of 40 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes held since January 2017 by the crew of Francis Joyon, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier are eager to give themselves every opportunity to snap up this late November weather window, which remains ajar today. This evening and tomorrow morning, they’ll study the situation again with the analysis of the new weather models. In the meantime, the six men who make up the crew are preparing to board the boat at midday tomorrow for a departure from the team’s base in Lorient, Brittany, at midday. At that point, they’ll set a course for the imaginary line between Le Créac’h lighthouse on Ushant and Lizard Point so this area offshore of Brest will be the start and finish destination for this planetary circumnavigation, which they have every intention of completing at full speed aboard their flying boat.
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  2. #2
    Two for the price of one!
    Tis the season!

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    Cammas And Crew In Holding Pattern


    © E.Stichelbaut / polaRYSE / Gitana S.A


    Departure postponed for today but a new window targeted for Thursday!


    Lorient, Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - Record hunting is not a bed of roses, but the many variables, which have inevitably been part and parcel of life for the Gitana Team and her crew since the start of standby, were known about by one and all before they decided to take on the Jules Verne Trophy. There are a great many expectations and the desire to see the six sailors of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild setting sail is still intact, but the five-arrow stable’s weather cell is keeping a cool head to give itself every chance to beat the record of 40 days 23 hours and 30 minutes set by Francis Joyon and his team in 2017. The departure, which was still being envisaged yesterday, for late in the day this Tuesday 24 November is no longer a possibility, but the team remains on code yellow as another opportunity might well present itself on Thursday.


    © E.Stichelbaut / polaRYSE / Gitana S.A


    No departure today


    Yesterday, by switching to code yellow, a change of colour synonymous with a possible departure offshore of the north-west tip of Brittany in 48 hours’ time, the Gitana Team had initiated the final round of preparations: PCR tests validated for everyone, loading of sailors’ provisions and their personal bags… The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was ready to go, with everything in place for her first circumnavigation. For all that, the weather cell comprising Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier, Marcel van Triest and Cyril Dardashti, was transparent: “Even though it varies a little from one model to the other, including a 6-hour deal to negotiate the doldrums, there is every chance that the crew can make the southern hemisphere in 4 days and 12 hours. However, that’s where the situation becomes complicated and blurred”, explained the onshore router yesterday. “We’re faced with a very shifty situation that is evolving quickly. The danger is that we’ll miss the train and get crushed between two areas of high pressure in the South Atlantic. It poses a real threat, even though there is still a possibility of linking onto a course that takes us behind the high pressure. Right now, in this very progressive system, it’s circulating very low down in the south.”


    © Y.Riou / polaRYSE / Gitana S.A


    The South Atlantic and its descent in the line of sight

    The grib file forecasts, which are updated and analysed morning and evening, have unfortunately seen the trend referred to yesterday play out. “The window is still favourable in the North Atlantic, with a passage time to the equator within the current record time held by Spindrift of under 5 days, However, the South Atlantic isn’t shaping up as we would have liked. Today, the routing isn’t just taking us on a big looped circuit to get around the Saint Helena High, which is extending out a long way to the west, it is also sending us a long way south, to around 47°, to secure a reasonable passage time at Cape Agulhas, which marks the entrance to the Indian Ocean. The detection of ice in the area must also be taken into account as that’s something we’ll have to contend with if would descend so far South…” explained Franck Cammas this morning at the end of the weather briefing.

    “The models have not been very in phase over recent weeks. The differences and the scenarios vary a great deal between the European model (CEP) and the American model (GFS) and that’s currently making our work to pinpoint the right departure window rather complicated. That’s nothing new though… it’s all part of the strategy of a challenge like this,” confided Marcel van Triest.

    This Tuesday 24 November could have been departure day for the men of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and all the team, who are supporting them in this quest for the outright round the world sailing speed record, but instead it will be another day of waiting, in the hope that the models match up and that a route opens up to release the 32-metre maxi-trimaran and her crew, who are eager to show off the true potential of the giant on a planetary scale.


    Memo Jules Verne Trophy:


    Crew of Gitana:

    Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, skippers
    David Boileau, trimmer bowman
    Erwan Israël, helm trimmer
    Morgan Lagravière, helm trimmer
    Yann Riou, trimmer media man

    Marcel van Triest, weather router
    Yann Eliès, replacement crew

    Reminder of the standby codes:

    During the period of standby for the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, which the five-arrow team has scheduled to run from 1 November to the first few days of February 2021, any changes in the situation and a possible departure date for the boat are announced via a colour coding system as detailed below:
    Black: no departure possible within 96hrs
    Red: observation of a possible departure between 72 and 96hrs
    Orange: observation of a possible departure between 48 and 72hrs
    Yellow: probable departure between 24 and 48hrs
    Green: departure within 24hrs


    Record to beat:

    40 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes > Record held by Francis Joyon and his crew (Idec Sport) since 26 January 2017.
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  4. #4
    Awesome, a multi maxi drag race around the planet!

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    The Clock Is Ticking: 25 November 2020 at 2h 26m 26s UTC Is The Deadline For Gitana

    The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild sets sail on the Jules Verne Trophy


    Lorient, wednesday, November 25, 2020 - Leaving Lorient shortly after 21:30 hours local time on Tuesday 24 November, the men of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild launched onto an express delivery trip up to Ushant and the start line for their first Jules Verne Trophy attempt. Four hours later, the latest addition to the Gitana fleet was awaiting a front to roll through to set sail on the theoretical 21,760 nautical miles that make up this long, looped circuit around the planet. At 03:26 hours, the Cammas-Caudrelier pairing and their four crew finally set the stopwatch going and quickly left the north-west tip of Brittany in their wake. With a time to beat of 40 days 23 hours and 30 minutes, held by Francis Joyon and Idec Sport, the sailors in Gitana Team will have to be back offshore of Brest again before 5 January 2021 at 02:55 hours if they are to stand a chance of becoming the 10th crew in history to secure the prestigious round the world sailing record.


    © Y.Riou / polaRYSE / Gitana S.A





    They were in a hurry to get going. None of the six men made any secret of their satisfaction at finally casting off and setting sail for the start zone for the Jules Verne Trophy. On Tuesday evening, in the Gitana Team’s base in Lorient, the pace picked up dramatically at around 19:30 hours for Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier, Morgan Lagravière, Erwan Israël, Yann Riou, and David Boileau. For the six sailors, on the alert for more than two weeks, there was no mistaking it. This time, everyone knew the time was ripe for a departure which will likely send the speedos spinning around the world in a race against the clock at the highest level of oceanic performance. Already kitted out in their boots and foul weather gear, their headtorches already on their heads or close to hand, all six of them listened to the last precious weather information from the router Marcel van Triest. From his HQ, the latter confirmed that they could try to make their own luck on the route around the three capes, provided that they don’t dawdle and quickly snap up the weather window which, though not exceptional, gives them a chance of kicking off their circumnavigation of the planet in style by enabling them to make the equator in 4 days and ten hours.

    After really getting a shift on, dockside in Lorient at 21:37 hours, to cheers of encouragement from the team and their nearest and dearest in a joyful atmosphere where the group’s energy was already buzzing aboard the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, the two skippers and their men made the start zone offshore of the island of Ushant at good speed. After a few last manœuvres, they finally set off at 03:26 hours on the dot in 18 knots of NW’ly wind and three-metre waves. Under J3 and full mainsail, they crossed the line, or rather they took off on the hunt for the record… at 40 knots! They set sail around thirty minutes behind Sodebo Ultim 3.



    © Y.Zedda / Gitana S.A

    Pre-departure impression


    Charles Caudrelier, skipper: “It’s not such a bad departure, because in the end there hasn’t been the time for the pressure to mount. We were expecting to set sail at any given moment. It’s the Jules Verne Trophy and our target is less about the start and more about the finish. It’s the pre-race periods which are more stressful; the stress itself diminishes and then disappears once you’ve got down to the action. In our minds, we’ve already been prepared for a little while. This record is different to a race as we’ll kind of be doing battle against a ghost ship, even though there is another boat out on the water which we’ll be watching and monitoring. We know that we have an exceptional boat. If we have good weather, with a bit of luck we can secure a great time. This boat is really quick!”

    Franck Cammas, skipper: “Completing this round the world is already a fine challenge in itself. Obviously, we’re hoping to beat the record and that’s why we’re setting sail. However, nothing could be less certain when you’re on the departure dock! What we’re hunting down in the South Atlantic is still shifting. We’re not sure that leaving on Thursday would be better than leaving now. We said to ourselves that it was risky to set sail before our rival in what is effectively an average weather window, and it’s less risky to set off behind them in an average window. It’s still an average window, but during my previous record, in 2010 with Groupama 3, we set sail with a very poor window and we ended up beating the record. Naturally, the ideal scenario would have involved the perfect window, but maybe that doesn’t exist for this winter. So, we’re already trying our luck this evening and we’ll see what happens…”


    Morgan Lagravière, helm-trimmer: “I was expecting a slightly more rushed departure, not one like this! It took me two minutes to say goodbye to the family. It’s a bit intense at the time, but you’re very quickly down to the action. I’m already casting my mind forward to the actions we have to carry out, to the emotions we’ll experience and the positive emotion stirred up by the enormity of the challenge we have to take up. It’s an honour to be a part of this crew on this exceptional boat. To be aware of how lucky we are at times like these is important. I’m looking forward to crossing the line. As we’re not in a race, the competitive stimulation is a little different. As such, we’re going to be fully focused till we cross the line and then we’ll bring our competitive instinct into play to really push the envelope. Aboard the boat, we’re all competitive. This emotion excites us all, so we’re going to try to capitalise on all our training sessions, the technical work that has been done and the confidence of all those who support us.”

    David Boileau, trimmer-bowman: “I’m happy to be setting sail and bringing this period of standby to a close. We’re ready for this departure. We’ve been waiting for this and training for this for a long time. It feels like a release. We’re going to head towards the line, prepare ourselves and get off to a good start off Ushant. For the first two days at sea, we’ll need to get into our rhythm and take things as they come, piece by piece, day by day. This is the mindset with which I’m setting sail on my first Jules Verne Trophy.”

    Erwan Israël, helm-trimmer: “It’s my fourth departure on a Jules Verne Trophy attempt. This time, I hope it’ll be a lot faster than the others and, above all, that we’ll go all the way, because of my four attempts, I’ve completed the circuit just the once. A few months ago, over the summer, I still had some doubts about whether I would be aboard the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild for this attempt after injuring my leg. It took a while to heal and I felt a great sense of relief in the autumn when I was fully fit again and ready to go sailing. I’m ecstatic. I’m not here for a cruise though. I’m going to give my all. To secure a sub-40-day time would be the icing on the cake, but what counts is beating the record. It doesn’t matter if we finish with a lead of ten minutes or two days.”

    Yann Riou, trimmer-mediaman: “It’s the first time that I’ve set sail on a round the world on a flying boat and perhaps ten years ago I wouldn’t have even understood the sentence! It's just great. I’m itching to cross the line. I think I’ll be doing a fair bit of media, video-photos at the start, then as soon as we get into a watch system, I’ll settle into my position as one of the crew aboard.”




    © Y.Riou / polaRYSE / Gitana S.A


    Memo Jules Verne Trophy:


    The figures to note:

    Crossing of the start line: 25 November 2020 at 2h 26m 26s UTC
    Deadline for the finish to beat the record: 5 January 2021 at 1h 55m 26s UTC


    Crew of Gitana:

    Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, skippers
    David Boileau, trimmer bowman
    Erwan Israël, helm trimmer
    Morgan Lagravière, helm trimmer
    Yann Riou, trimmer media man

    Marcel van Triest, weather router
    Yann Eliès, replacement crew


    Record to beat:

    40 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes > Record held by Francis Joyon and his crew (Idec Sport) since 26 January 2017.
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    Gitana Howling South



    Gitana Team’s Maxi-soundbites from the ocean, Season 1 - Episode #1
    Batten down the hatches, pin back your ears, and above all buckle up before you allow yourself to be carried away by the force of the ocean, the howling wind and the power of the elements aboard the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. Tuned into the noise, Yann Riou, the on-board media man, aims the mike at the partners joining him in this extreme sailing synonymous with the Jules Verne Trophy. It’s a wonderful invitation to an audio journey sharing the extraordinary daily life of these six crewmen engaged in the quest for the speed record around the seas of the globe.
    Season 1: Descent of the Atlantic
    Episode 1: Welcome to the on-board discomfort

    Soundcloud Interview




    And things get going with a bang, straight into a descent of the Atlantic, which begins with all the sails aloft, snatches of conversation turned inwards at an average of over 30 knots! Behind the numbers, words snapped up inside the cockpit, just like the noises captured up on deck in the heat of the action in this top-flight navigation, show the reality of a race against the clock at a furious pace. In this opening episode, David Boileau and Morgan Lagravière give us an audio account of their first anecdotes relating to the intensity of this competition at the cutting edge of oceanic performance. And it begins briskly offshore of Portugal. We can hear the swell roaring, the waves breaking, the gusts of wind whistling, the boat rushing and accelerating over the crests of the waves, leaving no respite for the men on deck enjoined to hold on tight. Welcome to the on-board discomfort!



    David Boileau: gliding flight… controlled fortunately
    “I’d just drained the water from the bilge. I wanted to make sure the galley hatch was closed properly, because the water can come in there and I was laid on top of the galley to close the handles when the boat buried into a wave. I was holding on tightly to these handles but I let everything go and ended up pretty much in the berth compartment. Mid-flight, I fortunately managed to catch hold of the companionway rung (…) I could have hurt myself. However, I had a bit of luck on my side and managed to recover myself as I was flying through the air!”



    Morgan Lagravière: watch out for decelerations!
    “I’m making the most of a wonderful spectacle. I’ve just woken up, the colours are lovely, with white on the surface of the sea. That’s indicative of wind. And looking at the boat’s speedos and anemometers, we’re creaming along! In the bunk, but especially in the outside cockpit, you sometimes find yourself in positions where, despite the fact that you’re holding on, you end up going over the top of the object you were pressed up against. Even during training on this boat, we rarely experienced decelerations like this. You have to be careful. A silly injury can occur just like that and that’s hard to deal with in this environment, you really have to watch out.”



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    Rudder Damage Ends Gitana's JVT Attempt

    The Gitana Team interrupts its Jules Verne Trophy attempt
    After three days at sea on their first round the world record attempt, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, in agreement with Cyril Dardashti, the director of the five-arrow racing stable, have this evening taken the decision to interrupt their record bid and return to their port of registry. This announcement comes as a result of damage that occurred when the boat collided with a UFO* yesterday, rendering it impossible for the crew to sail the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild at her full potential. Currently situated to the north of the Cape Verde archipelago, the sailors that make up Gitana Team are positioned some 1,900 miles from Lorient. Gitana 17 is now pointing her bows towards this destination.



    “The decision to turn back really hasn’t been an easy one to make. It was carefully thought out and all the different parties involved in the project were consulted and the crew made the decision. It is motivated by two elements: the incident that occurred yesterday and the technical consequences discovered this afternoon, together with the quality of the window we’ve enlisted in. Indeed, day after day, our weather observations are confirming that the South Atlantic will not be showing us her best side, with a Saint Helena High that is a long way south, forcing us not just to take a big detour around the outside but also to plunge deep into the south to round the Cape of Good Hope. Even though the routing is still giving us a passage within the record time, we know that such a feat would require us to be at our full potential, which unfortunately is no longer the case. Turning back today means we can quickly return to our technical base, effect the necessary repairs and then very quickly get back on standby ready to set sail again this winter to conquer the Jules Verne Trophy”, concluded Cyril Dardashti.



    When setting sail from Ushant in the early hours of Wednesday, the possibility of turning back was clearly mentioned by Franck Cammas before leaving terra firma. Though the doubts of the co-skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild were more geared around the reliability of the weather window that his crew were preparing to take on, this scenario of breaking gear was also among the cases discussed within the team in the run-up to the departure. This is not an unprecedented situation in the Jules Verne Trophy, in fact it even forms an integral part of the history of the record! Ironically, on this exact same date some 4 years ago, the crew of Idec opted to turn back whilst it was making headway to the south of the doldrums following a deterioration in the weather window. However, this first aborted attempt did not prevent them from setting sail again nineteen days later and returning to Ushant on 26 January 2017, the record and an exceptional new reference time in the bag.



    Review of the damage

    26 November 14:00 UTC – On Thursday afternoon, whilst slipping along downwind at over 30 knots between the Azores and Madeira, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild hits a UFO (Unidentified Floating Object). The impact is violent, immediately causing the 32-metre giant to slow. Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier’s crew alerts the shore team and begins its investigations. The effect of the impact on the rudder of the port float and more precisely its trim tab, has caused a piece of the steering system to break. David Boileau immediately switches back to his role of boat captain and quickly proceeds with the repair. After 1hr at a reduced pace, the latest addition to the Gitana fleet gets back out on the hunt for the record at high speed. Visually, the rudder blade is not damaged but the appendage proves to be hard to manipulate, which suggests there is damage to the system for raising and lowering the port rudder. For all that, a check is impossible as the area located at the end of the float is too exposed and too dangerous to venture out to. The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild continues her course towards the equator.






    27 November 09:00 UTC – To adjust their trajectory towards the equator, the men of Gitana put in several gybes. During the second, completed in the morning, when switching onto port tack, those on watch on deck notice that the port foil is also damaged and the evidence the crew discovers leave no room for doubt; they are the result of an impact, likely the same one suffered yesterday afternoon. Despite the crew being motivated to carry on, a series of exchanges throughout the day with their technical director, Pierre Tissier, and the manager of the design office, Sébastien Sainson, conclude that the appendage can be repaired at sea but the crew would no longer be able to use it at its full potential.

    The Gitana Team wish the crew of Sodebo every success with their attempt.


    *UFO: Unidentified floating object





    Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, skippers
    David Boileau, trimmer bowmanErwan Israël, helm trimmer
    Morgan Lagravière, helm trimmer
    Yann Riou, trimmer mediaman

    Marcel van Triest, weather router
    Yann Eliès, replacement crew
    Last edited by Photoboy; 11-27-2020 at 05:08 PM.
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    Retooling For A Quick Return

    Jules Verne Trophy

    In repair prior to another attempt

    Lorient, Thursday, December 3rd, 2020 - Last Friday, after three days at sea on their first round the world record attempt, the crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild opted to turn back after damage resulting from impact with a UFO. Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and their four crew managed to make it back to their port of registry in Lorient yesterday evening. A few hours later, the shore team had already set to work dismantling and repairing the damaged appendages in order to enable the sailors of Gitana Team to set sail again in as short a timeframe as possible, as soon as a favourable weather window opens up. Indeed, there is no time to lose as the five-arrow racing stable’s objective remains very much intact: to set sail this winter to have a stab at securing the Jules Verne Trophy.




    A long detour for the return journey

    The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild had to take a big detour to the west of the Azores before she could point her bows back towards Brittany, a scenario Marcel van Triest had predicted as soon as the decision was taken to turn back last Friday: “We had to quickly make a choice so as not to lose too much time during our return trip, which was already shaping up to be quite long. In 48hrs, a low-pressure system dropping down from the north and stretching up as far as the north of Madeira, generating 6 to 7 metre seas and 50 to 60 knots of wind on its western face was set to sprawl itself across our course. This phenomenon would force us to make a major detour, but it was a lot safer for the boat. Our aim is to set sail again very quickly, but to do that we need to know how to be conservative with regards the boat and the men.”




    “Come back stronger!”

    Charles Caudrelier, who shares the helm of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild with Franck Cammas, shared his thoughts this lunchtime, after a good night on shore: “The mindset within the crew is positive. We hit something, which is unfortunate, but that’s part and parcel of the history of offshore racing. On a positive, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is not badly damaged so the repairs will be relatively quick. At sea, we noted a considerable difference in performance after our damage and we were certainly handicapped so in this regard the decision was pretty simple. The time set by the crew of Idec is going to take some beating and the slightest handicap is a real problem if we’re going to stand a chance of outpacing them. That really tipped the scales, especially as the upcoming weather didn’t look excellent to us and that seems to be how things are playing out. Another very positive point about this first attempt is the experience we gained doing it. We still lack sailing time and this week in race and delivery mode has been highly beneficial, as we don’t encounter such intense conditions in training. The boat will set sail again with a greater degree of reliability, and the crew will be all the stronger! We have this massive opportunity to be able to have another go at the record and today our thoughts go out to our friends in the Vendée Globe who won’t have this same possibility. We know how lucky we are, we just need to be patient!”




    A week dockside

    The special feature of speed records is that they can offer crews a second chance to attack them! It is this opportunity that the racing stable fitted out by Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild is snapping up today by returning to its technical base to effect repairs and set off again with a boat able to sail at her true potential. This Thursday morning, the whole of the shore crew had rallied together to dismantle the parts which need to be worked on. According to the first diagnosis, the latest addition to the Gitana fleet will likely be out of action for a good week before she can return to the water for a trip out to get her back in operation again: “We have been working on preparing for the necessary repairs ever since the boat turned back. As such, this morning, everyone knew what they had to do and the dismantling and the usual structural checks were able to get underway very quickly. The job list is clear, but the time required for the repairs cannot be compressed down if we want to do things right; especially with regards the bonding and drying times on the foil”, explained the Technical Director, Pierre Tissier.

    Right now, at the same time as the work being undertaken by the shore crew, Gitana Team’s weather cell is back in action observing potential weather windows. Indeed, once the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is repaired, we’ll have to wait again and be ready to snap up a favourable weather window to attack the record of 40 days 23 hours and 30 minutes for the Jules Verne Trophy, which is the time set by Francis Joyon and his men in 2017.





    Reminder of the events and the damage


    25 November 02:26 UTC – The decision to switch to code green to set sail was made shortly before 20:00 UTC the day before. In Lorient, the departure sequence was very speedy and the latest of the Gitanas was soon making headway towards the start line and the island of Ushant at over 40 knots. The crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was keen to make the most of a front rolling through and a NW’ly breeze to set sail on the Jules Verne Trophy. It is 02:36 UTC on the dot when the Cammas-Caudrelier pairing and its men start the stopwatch and leave Le Créac’h lighthouse in the wake of their 32-metre flying giant.

    26 November 14:00 UTC – On Thursday afternoon, whilst slipping along downwind at over 30 knots between the Azores and Madeira, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild hits a UFO (Unidentified Floating Object). The impact is violent and immediately slows the 32-metre giant. Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier’s team alerts its shore crew and begins its investigations. The impact, which occurred around the rudder on the port float, and its trim tab in particular, has led to the breakage of part of the steering system. David Boileau immediately dons his boat captain’s hat and quickly effects a repair. After 1hr at a gentle pace, the latest of the Gitanas is back on track for her high-speed record. Visually, the rudder blade is not damaged, but the appendage proves to be hard to manipulate, which suggests that the system for raising and lowering the port rudder is damaged. For all that, checking this element is impossible as the area situated at the end of the float is too exposed and too dangerous to venture out to. The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild continues her journey towards the equator.

    27 November 10:00 UTC – To adjust their trajectory towards the equator, the men of Gitana put in several gybes. During the second, undertaken in the early hours of the morning, whilst they’re sailing on port tack, those on watch on deck notice that the port foil is also damaged and the crew find evidence that leaves no room for doubt; it is the result of an impact, likely that suffered the previous afternoon.

    27 November – 21:00 UTC – Despite the crew being motivated to carry on, there is a series of exchanges throughout the day with Cyril Dardashti, the manager of the team, Pierre Tissier, the Technical Director, and Sébastien Sainson, manager of the design office. Together, they conclude that the appendage can be repaired at sea, but the crew will no longer be able to sail the boat at her full potential, even after the repair. After consulting their weather router, Marcel van Triest, and given the position of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, namely less than 2,000 miles from the start, the decision is taken to turn back and return to Lorient to effect repairs so they can get back on standby as quickly as possible.

    2 December 19:30 UTC – Five days after interrupting their record attempt, the six sailors on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild make it back to Lorient, welcomed by the members of Gitana Team, who are ready to take up the baton.




    Memo Jules Verne Trophy:


    Crew of Gitana:
    Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, skippers
    David Boileau, trimmer bowman
    Erwan Israël, helm trimmer
    Morgan Lagravière, helm trimmer
    Yann Riou, trimmer media man

    Marcel van Triest, weather router
    Yann Eliès, replacement crew


    Record to beat:
    40 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes > Record held by Francis Joyon and his crew (Idec Sport) since 26 January 2017.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  9. #9
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    The Window Opens And Closes




    The window closes back up, return to standby to ready for the next one!

    At noon December 28th , following a weather briefing with their router Marcel van Triest, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier knew that their chances of setting sail in the coming hours to take on the challenge of the Jules Verne Trophy were slender, not to say miniscule: we reckon we have a 5% chance of a departure tomorrow, but this percentage may double from one grib file to the next or crumble away to nothing, so we need to give it a go and leave ourselves a few extra hours to come to a decision, explained the sailor originally from Aix-en-Provence. Unfortunately, the patience of the six crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and all the team supporting them in their bid has not been rewarded, for now at least! Indeed, though the standby period devoted to the quest for the legendary record began in earnest some two months ago, with one attempt cut short in late November after the boat collided with a UFO (unidentified floating object), the men of Gitana Team still have over a month and a half for their plans to come to fruition so they can try to depose Francis Joyon and his crew on Idec Sport, the current holders of the trophy with a time of 40 days 23 hours and 30 minutes.



    None of the three criteria met

    The six sailors on the flying maxi-trimaran could picture themselves turning the page on 2020 at sea. Ultimately though, that’s not how things are set to play out! The narrow window being targeted over the past few days contains too many areas of uncertainty for only small gains, namely a series of intermediate passage times, which are simply too far off the mark targeted by the team.
    “At noon yesterday, the probabilities were very slender but possible. We knew that the North Atlantic would not improve, but there was still a hope that the south would be worth the effort. The latest grib file forecasts we have at our disposal showed no notable improvement. The passage times to the equator are much longer than what we’re after: from 5 days 18 hours to 6 days 10 hours, compared with the 4 days 15 hours that we could reasonably target with a decent window. On top of the rather uninviting weather, the route to get there appeared to be rather difficult to implement with a predominantly coastal route full of pitfalls as a result of the string of islands to be negotiated. Added to that now is the fact that in the south, the transition we would have to hook onto if we were to quickly make our way down to the austral latitudes can no longer be taken for granted seemingly. It is too random and there is not enough certainty for us to try our luck with this window. These comings and goings are part and parcel of record attempts…” explained the co-skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, who has managed to put things into perspective but is naturally disappointed at the prospect of remaining dockside for a few more days.





    Keen not to spoil their chances

    There was a great deal of discussion as the stakes were high, however the decision was unanimous! “We stand a chance of having a better window than this one. It’s never an easy decision to return to standby, but we mustn’t spoil our chances of breaking the record by setting sail on a poorly timed attempt. We’re all eager to be able to set off and show what we’re made of on this course, which makes the waiting around drag on somewhat… Furthermore, it isn’t the simplest of weather this year. From the start, we’ve had to contend with a rather atypical North Atlantic for the season. There are low-pressure systems dropping a long way south and rolling towards the Azores and to the west of the Canaries. This particular weather configuration makes our task more complicated because we frequently have favourable situations for leaving the north-west tip of Brittany, but with them comes a break in the trade wind system in the northern hemisphere, which seriously hampers our drag race towards the southern latitudes…” concluded Franck Cammas, recently elected Sailor of the Decade by the French Sailing Federation (FFV).


    At this stage of their Jules Verne Trophy standby, the men of Gitana 17 have to be particularly vigilant to ensure that their decision is not made too hastily, as Charles Caudrelier explained: “with the end of standby approaching, we cannot allow ourselves to set off on a simple trial run, it has to be the one!”



    Jules Verne Trophy memo:

    Crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild:

    Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, skippers
    David Boileau, trimmer bowman
    Erwan Israël, helm trimmer
    Morgan Lagravière, helm trimmer
    Yann Riou, trimmer media man

    Marcel van Triest, weather router
    Yann Eliès, replacement crew

    Record to beat:

    40 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes > Record held by Francis Joyon and his crew (Idec Sport) since 26 January 2017.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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