Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Photo Gitana S.A.
Transat Jacques Vabre 2007
07.11.2007 - 11:47 - On board Gitana 11, currently leading the way in the Transat Jacques Vabre, Lionel Lemonchois and Yann Guichard have been sailing without starboard foil for over 24 hours. But this mishap does not seem to be hindering the progress of the big blue trimaran, which was still flying along with mainsail and gennaker up at over 25 knots this morning. However, the crew are considering a possible stop to replace this important part.

The foils are adjustable appendices which, at high speeds, allow the strain on the hull to be lessened and prevent it sinking down into the water. Consequently, Gitana 11 is currently handicapped when sailing on a port tack, i.e. when the strain on its starboard float needs to be relieved. Nevertheless, the trimaran boasts an enormous advantage: as her floats are bulkier than those of her rivals, they still stabilise her and thus allow her to sail without a foil. That said, sailing in this way represents an increased risk in terms of safety and of course reduces speed, which puts into perspective the performance of Gitana 11 and her crew over the past 24 hours. Moreover, Lionel Lemonchois admitted this morning to having been “very afraid on two occasions off Cape Finisterre!” -