Archive for the ‘Gitana’ Category

After seventeen races, most of which were contested in a light breeze, Yann Guichard and his Gitana Extreme  crew have won the first event of the 2009 iShares Cup circuit, a victory which bodes well for the rest of the events for the new Gitana Extreme 40 catamaran sailing team.

Extreme 40 catamarans sailing

Extreme 40 catamarans sailing

Right from the initial training races on Thursday, Yann Guichard’s men showed their rivals that they were a force to be reckoned with. During the three days of racing, contested just a stone’s throw from the famous “Piazza San Marco”, the crew of Gitana Extreme continued to race at the front of the fleet and this consistency today enabled them to take a deserved first place.

The first meeting, the first participation and the first victory: the equation may appear simple but the men aboard the one-design, equipped by Baron Bejamin de Rothschild, had to hunt down the first success amongst some high class competition. Indeed, this latest performance has seen them more than stand their ground in front of some well known and recognised helmsmen, including James Spithill, who is none other than the future helmsman from the US challenge for the America’s Cup, and Loïck Peyron. On his return to shore, the skipper of Gitana Extreme couldn’t conceal his satisfaction: “It’s great! We were keen to be in Venice and race so as we could find out what level we’re at. This initial victory is a real joy for the whole crew, as well as for the members of Gitana Team who have carefully prepared the boat since its arrival in La Trinité-sur-Mer at the start of March.” He also assessed his crew’s assets, which set them apart from their rivals on the Venetian race zone: “Our success has a lot to do with our very good starts. This initial ranking very often guides the next stage in the match and the crew showed total symbiosis during these phases. After that you know what they say: speed breeds intelligence and vice versa, and when you cross the line in the lead it’s always more comfortable!”

The youth of the crew and their recent association – they began sailing together less than three months ago – could have meant that a few races were set aside for observation but this didn’t prove necessary. In fact, in his statement, Yann Guichard wanted to salute the team work and the excellent atmosphere reigning aboard the Gitana Extreme: “I’ve talked about it a great deal over the past three days but the cohesion of the crew was essential in our victory. The pressure on me is huge as they are the kinds of races where there is permanent contact and it’s also highly physical for my three crew as the stream of manœuvres is incessant. I am very happy to be sailing with these three sailors”.

The next meet for the ten Extreme 40’s competing in the 2009 circuit will take place in the south of France. Hyères will play host to the second event of the season from 3rd to 5th July 2009. For this race, the crew of Gitana Extreme – LCF Rothschild Group will be considerably modified as Hervé Cunningham, registered to participate in another race, will be temporarily replaced. Questioned about this upcoming meet, Yann Guichard remained lucid: “We’re not starting from scratch as this victory has given us a lot of confidence, but Hyères will be another race, with another race zone where I think we’ll benefit from a steadier breeze.”

Crew of Gitana Extreme
Yann Guichard (skipper-helmsman)
Pierre Pennec (mainsail traveller trimmer, tactics), Christophe Lassegue (headsail trimmer, control of manœuvres) and Hervé Cunningham (headsail trimmer, control of manœuvres)


iShares Cup Rankings

  • 1/ Gitana Extreme- LCF Rothschild Group (Yann GUICHARD) – 140 points
  • 2/ BMW Oracle Racing (James Spithill) – 120 points
  • 3/ Oman Sail Renaissance (Loïck Peyron) – 113 points
  • 4/ Oman Sail Masirah (Pete Cumming) – 111 points
  • 5/ Groupama 40 (Gildas Philippe) – 102 points
  • 6/ BT (Nick Moloney) – 97 points
  • 7/ Luna (Erik Maris) – 88 points
  • 8/ Holmatro (Carolijn Brouwer) – 84 points
  • 9/ iShares – Shirley Robertson – 84 points
  • 10/ Ecover – Mike Golding – 48 points

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Loïck Peyron, who is one of the popular favorites to win the Vendée Globe sailing race dismasted his yacht yesterday. The solo skipper, who had lead the pack down the Atlantic for 16 days, was down below in his sailboat Gitana Eighty when he heard a very loud bang. When he got in deck his immediate fears were realized when he found his mast in three or four pieces. Gitana Eighty is now sailing under jury rig.

Vendee Globe

Vendee Globe

With the dismasting of Loïck Peyron’s Gitana Eighty on their minds, there is no sign of any obvious let up in the intensity of the battle among the leaders of the Vendée Globe this morning. Some 430 miles west of the Kerguelen Islands, deep in the south Indian Ocean, there is now less than 40 miles between the leading five boats as Jean-Pierre Dick makes a small gain to lead by 30.4 miles from Roland Jourdain who is up to second place again. But there is now just nine miles between second and fifth place Michel Desjoyeaux sailing Foncia.

Foncia remains consistently quick sailing a course which is not extreme. Michel Desjoyeaux chose to go north sharply late on Tuesday,  joining Seb Josse in the north and has moved forward progressively. He is second fastest to JP Dick this morning and has been waging a speed battle with Mike Golding, GBR, (Ecover 3) for fourth position, one and a half miles behind the British skipper.

In 18th place in the Vendée Globe is Steve White sailing  (Toe in the Water) appears to be heading north east again on a course that will pass more towards easterly end of the second Ice Gate and seems to be losing miles on the pack he is chasing at the moment.

The next low pressure system for the Vendée Globe fleet is presently over the Prince Edward islands, or the equivalent of where Dee Caffari, GBR (Aviva) and Arnaud Boissières (Akena Verandas)  are, and will move over the fleet to reach the Kerguelens early morning tomorrow, while a bigger low is due to reach the Kerguelens Sunday yielding 40+ plus knots of wind.

The yachts are now converging, being channeled through the gap between the Kerguelen Islands and Heard Island. It is about 230 miles wide but this hostile channel, where the seabed shelves quite sharply, is part is responsible for the difficult, confused seas which several skippers today reported having to deal with. Factor in gusty, squally winds which make it hard to manage and set a sail-plan – under-powered and you lose miles, or get pushed around by the 5 metre seas, over-powered and the auto-pilots can barely cope and the consquences are expensive in terms of lost energy and miles.

Two phenomena are coming together: firstly the wind will veer from the west and south-west to the north-west and will be very powerful: thirty in the forecasts, with gusts around 45 and more in the squalls.  The seas are confused, pushed along by this flow associated with a Southern Ocean Low which will pass over the Kerguelens tonight. These leaders will be reaching the continental shelf just after the cold front goes over them, making the manoeuvre particularly tricky, as they will be changing tack. Some may attempt to gybe, but even under reduced sail (two or three reefs in the mainsail and storm jib), there are serious risks.

– Vendee Globe News from various sources

Vendee Globe Rankings

December 11 2008  (for updated Vendee Globe rankings, click here)

  1. Jean-Pierre Dick, Paprec Virbac 2
  2. Michel DesjoyeauxFoncia
  3. Roland Jourdain – Veolia Environnement
  4. Mike Golding, Ecover 3
  5. Sébastien Josse – BT
  6. Jean Le Cam – VM Matériaux
  7. Vincent Riou, PRB
  8. Armel Le Cléac´h – Brit Air
  9. Yann Eliès – Generali
  10. Marc Guillemont – Safran
  11. Dominique Wavre – Temenos
  12. Loick Peyron, Gitana Eighty
  13. Brian ThompsonPindar
  14. Bernard Stamm – Cheminées Poujoulat
  15. Samantha DaviesRoxy
  16. Dee CaffariAviva
  17. Arnaud Boissières – Akena Vérandas
  18. Steve WhiteToe in the Water (Spirit of Weymouth)
  19. Jonny Malbon – Artemis
  20. Rich WilsonGreat American III
  21. Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty – Maisonneuve
  22. Derek Hatfield – Algimouss Spirit of Canada
  23. Raphaël Dinelli – Fondation Océan Vital
  24. Norbert Sedlacek – Nauticsport-Kapsch
Vendee Globe

Vendee Globe

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At this morning’s position report Loïck Peyron is again at the head of the Vendee Globe fleet, albeit by a margin of just 7.4 miles. Peyron’s choice to stay to the north has paid off just now, his gains earned by virtue of stronger, more settled winds while those who strayed south have had spells of lighter winds and a big residual seas to contend with as they flirt with a moving high pressure system. Sébastien Josse, (BT), consistent as ever, has stuck in second place, while Armel Le Cléac´h chose the north as well and has risen to fourth from ninth last night.

Vendee Globe

Vendee Globe


Peyron is one of the seven skippers who have now lead this Vendée Globe race, this morning’s swap from Eliès is the twentieth lead change in 26 days of racing. This afternoon the head of the field has stretched now with 172 miles from Peyron to tenth placed Michel Desjoyeaux, and Jean-Pierre Dick’s dive to the south on Paprec-Virbac 2 sees him fifth now 87.8 miles behind the leader when last night he was 32 miles behind.


On Thursday evening, Sébastien Josse (BT) was in the lead in the
Vendee Globe, before handing over the reins to Yann Eliès (Generali, 7th different leader) at 5h this morning, then to Loïck Peyron (Gitana Eighty) at 11h. The differences in speed reflect the variations in the wind conditions out on the water – 15 knots for some (Peyron, Le Cléac’h) and 3 to 5 for others (Dick, Le Cam, Jourdain, Golding, Eliès) in the 11h rankings. Five hours later the leading trio was slowed to 8 knots, while behind them, they were taking off again at between 9 and 14 knots. As they are all so close at the front, these differences in speed can lead to major position changes in the rankings. However, this should not worry the competitors, as the close contact racing is far from over.


The fleet will pass the longitude of Cape Town tomorrow, In a round the world race via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and The Horn), rounding the first of these landmarks heralds the entry into the Indian Ocean, the most feared ocean on Earth because of the violence of the elements. No photo opportunities here though, as they will be leaving the Cape around 500 miles to their north (the equivalent of the length of Britain) tonight or tomorrow morning. This is therefore more of a symbolic event for the solo sailors, signifying that they are in the southern seas and the Roaring Forties. Albatrosses, grey skies and surfing conditions now make up their daily backdrop.

Some of the Vendee Globe sailors are now surfing along at 30 knots. Incredible speeds for a monohull. Welcome to the deep south… Apart from a few inhospitable islands, the next piece of land is Australia, more than 4500 miles away.


Vendee Globe Rankings

Updated December 5 2008 – See updated Vendee Globe rankings here: Vendée Globe

  1. Loick Peyron, Gitana Eighty
  2. Sébastien Josse – BT
  3. Yann Eliès – Generali
  4. Armel Le Cléac´h – Brit Air
  5. Jean-Pierre Dick, Paprec Virbac 2
  6. Vincent Riou, PRB
  7. Jean Le Cam – VM Matériaux
  8. Mike Golding, Ecover 3
  9. Roland Jourdain – Veolia Environnement
  10. Michel DesjoyeauxFoncia
  11. Marc Guillemont – Safran
  12. Dominique Wavre – Temenos
  13. Brian ThompsonPindar
  14. Samantha DaviesRoxy
  15. Bernard Stamm – Cheminées Poujoulat
  16. Dee CaffariAviva
  17. Arnaud Boissières – Akena Vérandas
  18. Steve WhiteToe in the Water (Spirit of Weymouth)
  19. Jonny Malbon – Artemis
  20. Rich WilsonGreat American III
  21. Unai Basurko – Pakea Bizkaia
  22. Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty – Maisonneuve
  23. Derek Hatfield – Algimouss Spirit of Canada
  24. Raphaël Dinelli – Fondation Océan Vital
  25. Norbert Sedlacek – Nauticsport-Kapsch

READ MORE ABOUT THE Vendee Globe:

Updated photos of the Gitana 13 in Yokohama Japan posted at the fan page.

Love the tracking map, and the crew blog.  Also an interview with the skipper of the boat.

Gitana 13

Check out the Gitana 13 boat home page for fans of the Gitana 13 maxi-catamaran sailboat setting new world sailing records. Blogs from the crew of Gitana 13, news articles about the record setting boat, photos and videos of the Gitana 13, interactive Gitana 13 tracking map, and much more for the fans of the Gitana 13 sailboat and her crew.

read more about Gitana 13 | digg story

Gitana 13Yipee! Gitana 13 has reached Yokohama, beating the previous record from San Francisco California to Yokohama Japan.

This is the second world sailing record this year for the catamaran sailboat Gitana 13!

This boat is just awesome – down goes Geronimo’s record in flames. I mean it didn’t even look like these guys broke a sweat. Across the pacific in under two weeks is incredible.

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Gitana 13

Gitana 13 Photo by Jimbo

Gitana13The Gitana 13 sailboat has now spent over nine days at sea from San Francisco and is now positioned less than 500 miles from the finish and another world sailing record for Gitana 13 in Yokohama, Japan! The last few hours at sea, in this North Pacific sailing record attempt, promises to be a bit intense for the crew of the Gitana 13 catamaran.

read more | digg story