Gitana X and Gitana 11 head for Plymouth

Competitors of this years Transat head to Plymouth before Saturday 22 May, the deadline set by the race organisers for 40 strong international fleet.

Gitana X and Gitana 11 are ready for their second confrontation of the season and the first transatlantic race on the ORMA World Multihull Championship 2004 calendar.

Since the end of the first Grand Prix two weeks ago, one line after another has been crossed off their never-ending check lists and now both of the Baron Benjamin de Rothschild’s trimarans are ready and each of the skippers Fred Le Peutrec and Marc Guillemot are rested, concentrated and determined.

Marc Guillemot – Gitana X says; “For me, this is the race which helped sailors everywhere understand that it was possible to cross the Atlantic single-handed, thanks to yachtsmen by the likes of Chichester and Tabarly. That was far from being obvious at the start of the 1970’s. Yachtsmen everywhere, even kids, wanted to do it at least once. In 1976, I sailed across the Channel with my father who knew Eric Tabarly. I was sixteen at the time and can still remember seeing Pen Duick VI and Club Med moored side by side. We were there at the start of the race. It was superb, even if the boats differed greatly. No two boats were alike, no two had the same speed potential. We were more interested in the adventure side of things at the time than the pure racing element.”

Fred Le Peutrec – Gitana 11 says; “This was the first race which was an intense experience. My first souvenir goes back to 1976, when I was 11. It was the 5th edition, and the most extravagant with the historic battle between Alain Colas’s (236-foot) Club Med and Eric Tabarly’s (75-foot) Pen Duick VI. Everyone was expecting Colas to break the tape at the finish but instead Tabarly was first to break through the fog. His race remained engraved in my mind – alone on his monohull designed for a crew of 14, with no automatic pilot, Tabarly had battled through five low pressure systems. After Mike Birch’s multihull win in the first Route du Rhum in 1978, then the American Phild Weld in the Ostar in 1980, yachting enthusiasts has to chose their side of the fence. I had just started sailing beach cats and had clearly opted for multihulls. I got the distinct impression that one day my turn would come to sail ocean races on this sort of boat.”

ORMA World Multihull Championship 2004

Grand Prix de La Trinité sur Mer – France (crewed): 29 April-2 May

The Transat (single-handed) – Plymouth (GB) – Boston (USA): Start : 31 May ETA: 12June

Transat Québec-Saint Malo (crewed) – Start: 11 July ETA : 21 July

Grand Prix de Fécamp – France (14) – crewed: 26-29 August

Grand Prix d’Italie (crewed): 16-19 September

Grand Prix de Marseille – France (crewed): 30 September-3 October