Peyron's Vendée boat is sold and Gitana Team is replacing him with another top sailing name


It’s a hard old world in sailing across the Channel. Sponsors are confident they make celebrities, not vice versa, and think nothing of booting them out unceremoniously and replacing them with someone more promising if they don’t come up with the goods or are ‘on a different page’.

So sponsors remain while skippers circulate between them, whereas it’s the other way round here, which is not necessarily a good thing for expanding the gene pool, keeping egos in check or consolidating corporate support.

Today, Baron Benjamin de Rothschild’s Gitana Team announced that Loick Peyron is out and I hear that they are soon to tell us they have taken on another big name in French sailing in his place. Peyron’s Vendée Globe ambitions failed when he was dismasted and it’s time, they say witheringly, “to get back to a more coherent structure”. Ouch.

Their IMOCA 60 Gitana Eighty has been sold to a Spanish team, as has Jean-Pierre Dick’s Paprec-Virbac – Dick is to build a new boat. Both teams have done very well by getting ahead of the big 60 sell-off, as they each got a rumoured ?2.3 million for the Farr designs.

Instead Gitana is going into Extreme 40s and the iShares Cup, and the two sold Farr designs are to be worked up for the Barcelona World Race. On both sides, advantage to Mark Turner’s far-reaching OC Group, which manages the iShares Cup and created the Barcelona World Race.