The «Gitana 17» team works at full speed to return for the Jules Verne Trophy


Vigo (Pontevedra)

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Playing cat and mouse, on November 25 the super maxi trimarans «Gitana 17» and «Sodebo Ultim 3» crossed the starting line in Ouessant half an hour apart for the record of the Jules Verne Trophy, around the world Sailing without stopovers or external help, heading east leaving the Cape of Buena Esperanza (South Africa) and Hornos (Chile) on the port side; record that today is in possession of “IDEC Sport” (40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds) since 2017.

About 200 miles, on November 26, 2020, north of the Cape Verde islands, the port rudder of “Gitana 17” was hit by a floating object. The alarms go off and the skippers aboard the trimaran, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, make the decision to return to port before continuing.

In contact with their ground team they report the breakdown and that they were starting the return route. The mariner on land Marcel van Triest tells the skippers that he will have to make a long detour through the west of the Azores islands to reach Lorient without major setbacks because to the north of his position a low pressure was forming with strong winds from up to 50 and 60 knots of intensity and waves with heights between 6 and 7 meters.

Six days later the «Gitana 17» moored in the port of Lorient where the shore crew waited to begin repairs. As soon as Charles Caudrelier docked, he appreciated the attitude of the crew: “The mentality within the crew is positive. We have detected an unknown problem. On the positive, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is not badly damaged so repairs will be relatively quick. At sea, we observe a considerable difference in performance after our damages and they certainly hurt us, so in this sense the decision was quite simple. The time set by the “IDEC Sport” crew (40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds) is going to take a few hits and more Minimal handicap is a real problem if we’re going to have a chance to get past them. That really tipped the balance, especially as the weather that was coming didn’t look great to us and that seems to be how things are going. Another very positive point about this first attempt is the experience we gain doing it. We still lack sailing time and this week in the race and delivery mode has been very beneficial, since not in We find such intense conditions in training. The ship will set sail again with a higher degree of reliability, and the crew will be stronger! We have this huge opportunity to be able to have another chance in record time and today our thoughts go out to our friends in the Vendée Globe who will not have this same chance. We know how lucky we are, we just have to be patient! “

Attempts to break the Jules Verne record have the advantage that it can be attempted at any time when the weather conditions are favorable for departure. In this case “Gitana 17” will have a second chance, the same thing happened to “IDEC Sport” that returned to the starting point because the weather conditions were not favorable when it approached the Ecuador pass.

While a part of the Gitana team works at full speed on the ship, those involved in the meteorological analysis with Marcel van Triest at the helm analyze the maximum meteorological information in search of the favorable “window”.

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