Victory for Gitana Team in Brest, a collective and committed story

Victory for Gitana Team in Brest, a collective and committed story

Victory for Gitana Team in Brest, a collective and committed story


By Gitana
05/12/2019 - 19:45

The locals in Brest welcomed the winner of the Brest Atlantiques with open arms today. The backdrop offered up was one of glorious sunshine on glassy seas, ruffled only by the plumes of water spurting out of the Abeille Bourbon salvage tug that had left the harbour to see in the sailors. On this Wednesday 4 December, the day of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild’s victory, the atmosphere was one of a homecoming for Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and their media man Yann Riou. After 28 days at sea, the trio was warmly welcomed by the whole of Gitana Team, joined this morning by the boat’s supplier who wouldn’t have missed this much-awaited victory for all the world. Ariane de Rothschild, founder, with her husband Benjamin de Rothschild, of the five-arrow racing stable, has personally invested a great deal of time and energy into this project and today celebrates one of its finest successes. For over 140 years, the family has boldly inspired a power to innovate, which over time has enabled them to really push the envelope in this sport. Dockside at the Quai de la Recouvrance, families, friends, journalists and the local public – always so loyal – gave these few minutes a sincere human warmth, coloured by a great deal of admiration as much for the sailors as for this boat, which has left no one indifferent. Indeed, the sentiment is shared by one and all: this big looped circuit of 14,000 miles has enabled an important milestone to be passed in the competition between these giants and it has only just begun.

Franck Cammas, skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild

“For the past month, we’ve had highs and lows. It was a very tough race and we’ve known from the start how demanding it would be. Charles and I performed well and we’ve really enjoyed ourselves. We’ve battled from start to finish and our complicity has undeniably paid off. That doesn’t mean that we’ve always been in agreement (laughs), but that is what’s good about it, we each bring something extra to the table. When we want to say something, we say it and that’s how the duo operates. I have to say that Charles has been very solid and we make a fantastic pair. What pace to set on the boat is a constant question. We try to be reasonable as it’s a long race and there’s no point taking needless risks, so there were times when we were at pull pelt but we also had to ease off the throttle too at times. Overall, we tried to never go into the red, particularly so in the South Atlantic when there was a tough depression to negotiate. We got through it quickly but we really got shaken about on-board…. The boat is very solid and really excels at rolling with the punches. In this way, we’ve had a lot more ideas for the boat and we’re now going to put this experience to good use for the upcoming races.”

Charles Caudrelier, skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild

“The last few hours of racing dragged out a bit but the coast is sublime, I love this area. We’ve just passed close by where I learnt to sail and it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world to go sailing. The boat? I’m in love with her! I’ve loved her from day one. I’d kind of lost the faith a bit after three round the worlds on a very testing boat, but this trimaran is one of the finest in the world and above all one of the quickest offshore. The first boat designed to fly across the open ocean, she was created by Guillaume Verdier and the whole of Gitana Team. No boat has ever flown offshore for so long and we’re looking forward to the launch of the new trimarans next year. Naturally, we’re thinking of our rivals in this Brest Atlantiques at this time. We’re sparing a thought for Thomas (Coville – Sodebo Ultim’ 3) who has had to retire from the race, but his boat is very young and it’s par for the course to have a few issues at the start. We’ve also had our share of them. Thomas has sailed a very fine race and we look forward to crossing swords again soon. François (Gabart. Macif) is aboard the boat with which he’s won it all, but this time luck wasn’t on his side and he notably hit a UFO. We were embroiled in a fantastic match with him and we’d have liked it to have gone on for longer, but that too is part and parcel of these races. You have to make fast headway, avoid breaking, have a bit of luck on your side and a weather forecast that smiles on you. We’ve had nearly all these ingredients. We also know that we can go even faster and I think that the upcoming races will be even more thrilling.”

Yann Riou, media man

“It’s absolutely magical to sail aboard the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. Race boats have evolved a great deal in the past ten years and the equipment we use for filming images and notably drones are developing in the same way. We are now able to share images with technical means that were still unimaginable 10 or 15 years ago. Aboard the boat, the general atmosphere was very good. They may not always be in agreement but that too is part of life’s rich tapestry. Furthermore, given that we know one another very well, they really played the game very well with me and I thank them for that.”

Marcel van Triest, onshore router 

“With these boats, being 100 or 200 miles ahead is nothing. You know that if you fluff a move or you have a technical issue, the others are there, right on your tail. At the end of the race, when I saw the door closing behind us and that Macif and Actual Leader were the other side of the anticyclone, I was able to calm myself down a bit but otherwise you’re never confident. I was impressed by the ability to maintain high average speeds even in heavy seas. We’ve naturally learnt a great deal about flying offshore. It’s the sea state that changes the game and if you manage to rise above it that alters everything. In routing terms, that makes things super complicated and you find yourself wondering for example: do I take a much longer route where I can fly all the time or do I opt for the most direct course but stop flying for six hours? With Franck and Charles, we don’t speak in person, rather we write to one another. We send each other pictures, screen shots and satellite photos. I knew Charles before and especially so recently with Dongfeng Race Team’s victory in the Volvo Ocean Race. Franck I’ve worked with for over 10 years through routing. This long-standing complicity is an advantage. So is that what led to victory? It’s the whole of Gitana Team’s project, the boat’s reliability, the fact that it’s competitive at the start and above all during the race. It’s also about being lucky enough not to have to retire due to a UFO and, of course, the sailors’ capacity to get the very best out of the machine. After that, you have to choose the right side of the playing field and that too panned out. The double-handed format is fantastic for the sailors, albeit more difficult for the router because there’s always someone awake! In solo format, I wouldn’t be able to sleep any more! On the other hand, in solo format it’s evident that the stress of managing sleep and the rhythm of the boat will go up a notch.”

Guillaume Verdier, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild’s naval architect

“We began creating this boat in 2015 with Hervé Penfornis, Véronique Soulé, Romaric Neyousser and Romain Garo and we ended up with fifteen or so people designing this platform with Gitana Team. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the boat’s ability to fly in the waves. We can do better and things will evolve still further as there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Essentially it’s only the beginning. Gitana Team with Cyril Dardashti, Pierre Tissier, Sébastien Sainson and the whole team supporting them, have always remained unruffled, even after breaking the float in the Route du Rhum. They’d had a glimpse of the boat’s potential but it’s important to realise that it takes 170,000 man-hours to build a boat like this one so when it breaks, it’s very difficult. For us, the work is at our drawing board, but what turns it into a reality is a whole other dimension entirely.”

Ariane de Rothschild, President of the Swiss Edmond de Rothschild Executive Committee (SA), supplier of Gitana Team

“In day-to-day business and with the team at the Edmond de Rothschild bank, I often use the example of Gitana as our stories have trodden somewhat similar paths. At the start, there was a very strong conviction that the road forward for flying boats was open, but we wanted to pass a very important milestone and get to work on a transoceanic flying boat. It’s fair to say that there’s an element of risk involved and you always wonder when you’re making the switch from theory to practice whether ambitions will become a reality. It was also important for us as a family to write a new chapter in the history of sailing. A little over 140 years ago, Julie de Rothschild, a woman, was the first to test peaks of speed in her own unique way (aboard an auxiliary steamship on Lake Geneva). Perpetuating this tradition, prompted a little by a woman once again, appealed to us. And it now translates as our ability to post peak speeds of 50 knots. Today’s victory now gives concrete expression to these ambitions at the heart of competition. Congratulations to Franck, Charles and all those within Gitana Team. We will continue to break new ground and it is clear that we still have some very fine pages to write.”

Cyril Dardashti, Managing Director of Gitana Team

“The rules of this race permitted technical pit stops, without a penalty. At Cape Verde, the boat hit a UFO, damaging her ‘skate wing’, the lifting surface on the central daggerboard. This altered the way the boat handled and was detrimental to her performance. In Lorient, we began to prepare for the pit stop. Salvador de Bahia appeared to be the best option. The Transat Jacques Vabre was drawing to a close and we knew that we could get help on site, especially in port. As such, we mounted a commando operation, which isn’t that easy on 11 November! We opted to hedge our bets on an airliner and put the spare part in a surfboard bag. The shore team, led by Pierre Tissier, masterfully dealt with all that and the boat set sail again after around a dozen hours. As we closed on South Africa, the question of a pit stop cropped up again. The boat had once again hit something in the water and the skate wing flaps had broken. We knew that Sodebo was damaged but we didn’t have any info on the others. We were leading the way so we decided to carry on. This victory is down to the maturity of the team, which is discovering and opening up new ways of sailing every day. It’s true to say that in the process we stumble, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and we go again, which takes energy and also frustration. We know that we’re on the right track but patience and the desire to excel is enabling us to get there. We’re going to continue on, break even more new ground and work the boat up so she delivers still more because we know she can do it.”

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