Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Dinghy Wetsuits

Rolex Fastnet Race - Gitana 11 stands up to the challenge

by Kate Jennings translation on 16 Aug 2011
Gitana 11 (FRA) rounding Fastnet Rock - Rolex Fastnet Race 2011 © Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi http://www.carloborlenghi.net
Rolex Fastnet Race - After setting off from Cowes at noon on Sunday, Gitana 11 crossed the finish line in Plymouth Sound, on Monday 15 August at 21h44’36’’, less than an hour after the brand new event record holder and around twenty minutes prior to the two competing MOD 70s.

The maxi-trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild covered the 608 theoretical miles of the course in 33 hours 44 minutes and 36 seconds. Thanks to this efficiently conducted sprint, Sébastien Josse and his six crew take second place in the 2011 edition, which comes as great satisfaction for the Gitana Team. As far as the corrected standing is concerned, taking into account the ‘handicap*’ imposed by the race organisers, we’ll have to wait until the whole multihull fleet have crossed the finish for that particular verdict.

Measuring 23 metres in length, Gitana 11 managed to stand up to the challenge of the largest racing trimaran in the world, Banque Populaire V. Benefiting from 40 metres at the waterline, it was on the cards that the maxi-multihull, with her new helm Loïck Peyron, would be out on her own at the front of the legendary Fastnet Race. However, Sébastien Josse and his six crew sailed in contact with the thirteen strong crew on the other boat for over 350 miles; a rather improbable scenario at the start as the skipper of Gitana 11 highlighted: 'We had already raced against them during the SNSM record but they quickly got away from us after the start. In this race, it’s pretty incredible as we sailed more than half the race in contact and even within sight of each other at times, especially during the passage around the famous Irish lighthouse. Gitana 11 is powerful but also very versatile, which enabled her to keep up a good speed and meant she was at ease in the light airs. She’s a fine boat as has been proven once again.'

Galvanised into action by this proximity, the men from Gitana Team weren’t sparing of their efforts in keeping pace. They also made the most of this rare moment of on-the-water battling to check the veracity and effectiveness of the training sessions over recent months: 'It’s extremely motivating to be in contact as it forces you to apply yourself. In contrast to our previous races of the season, where we haven’t really had any rivals of our scale, the Rolex Fastnet Race was our first confrontation with yachts that have a similar potential to that of Gitana 11. It’s a lot easier to quantify the boat and crew’s performance in this configuration. During this race, we knew how to exploit the potential of Gitana 11 fully. Our apprenticeship is on the right track…' smiled Sébastien Josse.

In contrast to its vicious reputation, gained during the terrible 1979 edition, the Fastnet 2011 was kind to the hundreds of crews competing, or at least those at the front of the multihull fleet. This is a sentiment backed up by Sébastien Josse’s description of the weather in this 2011 edition: 'We had some very manageable conditions throughout the race. The exit from the Solent, as well as our entire climb up towards the Fastnet Rock, was essentially raced in upwind conditions (sailing into the wind) with about fifteen knots of breeze and relatively flat seas. The only exception was our first passage to the West of the Scilly Isles where there were a few, not very comfortable hours in heavy seas. However, for the descent between the southern tip of Ireland and the western tip of England, there was a rotation in the wind and we were able to open our sails a little with a spell of close reaching (wind on the beam). Banque Populaire made the most of these conditions to make her additional 20 metres speak for themselves and lengthened her stride. After that, the end of the race along the southern coast of England was marked by the boat’s ability to slip along under gennaker in the easing winds. However, not all the leading boats suffered the same fate as the wind filled in offshore and all of a sudden our pursuers were able to make the most of this opportunity to make up some ground on us over the final miles. Fortunately though, we were also able to make up a few miles on Banque Populaire at the end.'

This Rolex Fastnet Race has also provided Gitana Team with a chance to carry out some observation from their steed, which will very soon be going in the shed at Baron Benjamin de Rothschild’s offshore racing stable: 'While sailing, I always managed to keep an eye on the course adopted by the two MOD 70s. On paper, the MODs and Gitana 11 are fairly similar in terms of performance. It’s satisfying to see that the boats can keep pace. It’s also pretty great to see the crews finishing within four minutes of each other after a race spanning more than 600 miles. It really bodes well for some great battles, where the crew will be the elements which make a difference… I can’t wait for it but, for the time being, we’re lucky to be able to have this position as an observer prior to becoming one of the protagonists in this new class of boats', admitted Sébastien Josse. Indeed, the Gitana Team has placed an order for the one design trimaran No.4, the delivery of which is scheduled for the end of this coming October.

And so the minute they crossed the finish line, Gitana 11 once again headed offshore, bound for her port of registry, La Trinité-sur-Mer, south-west Brittany, where she’s set to arrive at the end of the day on Tuesday.

*In the Rolex Fastnet Race, as with numerous other IRC races, those yachts who are participating are awarded a handicap by the organisers. This amounts to a factor which is calculated according to the size and category of boat, and its aim is to preserve a certain amount of fairness on the water. In this way, the largest craft to take part or the first competitor to cross the finish line, isn’t necessarily the race winner. The RORC (Royal Ocean Racing Club) draws up one ranking in elapsed time and one ranking according to everyone’s handicaps.

The crew of Gitana 11 in the Rolex Fastnet Race:
Sébastien Josse – skipper
Cyril Dardashti - Olivier Douillard – Antoine Koch – Sébastien Thétiot – Christophe Espagnon – Eric Cochet
Gitana Team website
T Clewring One DesignInSunSport - NZColligo Marine 660x82

Related Articles

Images of Barley Cove- Rambler100 righting and pumping out
Images of the righting and pumping out of the supermaxi Rambler 100 in Barley Cove, Co Cork, Ireland. Images of the righting and pumping out of the supermaxi Rambler 100 in Barley Cove, Co Cork, Ireland. The world's fastest supermaxi capsized just five miles away from Fastnet Rock during the Rolex Fastnet Race. All her crew were rescued.
Posted on 22 Aug 2011
Rolex Fastnet Race- Fastnet Race in Four Minutes - Crewcam Video
Sail-World's Ben Gladwell (NZL) crewed aboard the 52fter Bob for the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race, and compiled this four min Sail-World's Ben Gladwell (NZL) crewed aboard the 52fter Bob for the 2011 Rolex Fastnet Race, and compiled this four minute video clip of the race, shot using a headcam. Join the crew on the rail and bow of Bob for the start, leaving The Needles, being passed by the supermaxis ICAP Leopard and Rambler, rounding Fastnet Rock and more.
Posted on 22 Aug 2011
Rolex Fastnet Race lives up to its reputation
Rolex Fastnet Race lived up to its reputation as the most gruelling/tactically challenging of the classic offshore races Rolex Fastnet Race - Records tumbled in this year's event, living up to its reputation as the most gruelling and tactically challenging of the classic offshore races. As usual the 608 mile long course took the boats from the start line off Cowes, Isles of Wight towards the Fastnet Rock off southwest Ireland, back around the outside of the Scilly Isles off southwest England to the finish lin
Posted on 20 Aug 2011
Rolex Fastnet success for McConaghy
The Rolex Fastnet race saw McConaghy built ICAP Leopard 3 finish at the front of the fleet. Competing against one of the largest and most diverse fleets assembled in the history of offshore yachting, the Rolex Fastnet race saw McConaghy built ICAP Leopard 3, the Reichel Pugh 65 Vanquish (crewed by the young American Oakcliff Offshore Team with average age of 25) and the new Ker 40 Keronimo finish at the front of the fleet.
Posted on 20 Aug 2011
Rolex Fastnet Race prizegiving ceremony at the Royal Citadel
The Rolex Fastnet Race completed its prizegiving ceremony at the historic Royal Citadel on Plymouth's famous Hoe. The Rolex Fastnet Race completed its prizegiving ceremony at the historic Royal Citadel on Plymouth's famous Hoe. Dating back to 1660s and standing on the site of the fort built in the time of Sir Francis Drake, the Royal Citadel over the centuries has been one of Britain's most important defences and today is the base for the 29 Commando Regiment of the Royal Artillery.
Posted on 20 Aug 2011
Rambler crew received safety training at LRSE
The entire crew of Rambler underwent safety training at Life raft and Survival Equipment of Tiverton, RI. In the Rolex Fastnet Race, the crew of Rambler capsized and were subsequently rescued. The entire crew of twenty-one underwent advanced man overboard and safety training just prior to leaving Rhode Island for the Transatlantic Race and the subsequent Rolex Fastnet Race.
Posted on 20 Aug 2011
Rolex Fastnet Race recap from Gryphon Solo 2
Rolex Fastnet Race - As our race ended abruptly on the first day I thought it might be good to review what happened Rolex Fastnet Race recap from Gryphon Solo 2’s skipper Joe Harris: As our race ended abruptly on the first day of an expected four day race, I thought it might be good to review what happened and how the race turned out for others. Thank you to everyone who expressed condolences and encouragement following our withdrawal from the Fastnet due to sail damage.
Posted on 19 Aug 2011
Rolex Fastnet Race - First double win in 50 years
The Rolex Fastnet Race has for the first time in more than 50 years witnessed a back-to-back handicap winner. The Rolex Fastnet Race has for the first time in more than 50 years witnessed a back-to-back handicap winner. Following on from her victory under IRC in 2009, this afternoon the Royal Ocean Racing Club has confirmed that Niklas Zennström’s Rán (GBR) is once again the overall winner of the Rolex Fastnet Race and the prestigious Fastnet Challenge Cup.
Posted on 19 Aug 2011
Rolex Fastnet Race- Capsized supermaxi Rambler righted plus Video
The Irish Times is reporting that the capsized supermaxi, Rambler 100, owned by US businessman George David, has finally The Irish Times is reporting that the capsized supermaxi, Rambler 100, owned by US businessman George David, has finally been righted in Barleycove Bay, Ireland. 'The hull was being pumped out yesterday evening before the yacht was towed into port without its mast and rigging,' says the Times. 'Seán Harrington of Atlantic Towage and Marine Ltd of Castletownbere, Co Cork, said the location of
Posted on 18 Aug 2011
Rolex Fastnet Race fleet slows down
In the Rolex Fastnet Race, the pace was brisk for the first forty-eight hours but, has now slowed due to high pressure In the Rolex Fastnet Race, the pace was brisk for the first forty-eight hours but, has now slowed due to high pressure encroaching into the Celtic Sea and towards the south of Cornwall, just west of the finish in Plymouth. Since yesterday afternoon there have been just been five finishers
Posted on 18 Aug 2011