It was at the Yacht Club de France (Paris) that Baron Benjamin de Rothschild unveiled what will be the tenth yacht in the Gitana saga, a 60 ft (18.28 m) trimaran whose construction is being finished at the Multiplast yard.
Whilst the rules dictating the building of Orma (1) multihulls are relatively simple, viz 18.28 m (60 ft) long and a maximum air draught of 30.40 m (100 ft) above the water, and a ban on lateral ballast tanks, these constraints have resulted, like in Formula 1, in a real homogenisation of the fleet. So to gain in performance without loosing reliability, it is therefore necessary to search for new solutions by taking a fresh look, with calculated management of the risks. This was the approach that preceded the building of Gitana 10.
Whilst the Multiplast yard was quickly selected by the Gitana Team to build this new trimaran, her design was the result of a significant mix of cultures and architectural know-how. Indeed, Gitana 10 was born out of the close collaboration of three design offices: the Swiss Sébastien Scmidt (2), the American Duncan Maclane (3) and the French Gilles Ollier Design Team, bringing together widespread experience from as many nationalities. An ambitious programme because it envisaged reinventing a 60 ft multihull by posing all the fundamental questions, the first being should it be a trimaran or a catamaran. This lengthy approach needed a reflection period of a year to fix the current concept.
Being very keen on pure regatta type races, the Gitana Team wanted a boat that would perform well round three cans and with a full compliment of crew, but it also had to perform well single-handed on the open ocean. It was around this difficult compromise that the new Gitana was designed.
The most visible of the solutions chosen to satisfy the required demands is the "X" formed by the crossbeams that link the central hull with the floats. Apart from excellent weight centring and increased stiffness of the platform, it enables a huge cockpit to be organised in the aft part of the central hull, ideal for manoeuvring with a full crew. The mast is stepped at the point where the "X" crosses, a place that was particularly delicate to design and build.
In a spirit of future evolution, the mast that cants both longitudinally and laterally, has a fairly narrow chord (width), weighing less than a wing mast. This will reduce pitching and the boat will be quicker to get going again after tacking and gybing.
As for the hulls, the volumes are "moderate" and the floats are fitted with curved foils placed well forward. These appendages like the deep daggerboard and the rudders were the subject of very advanced design studies.
In all, 200 drawings were necessary for building the boat.
Construction. More than 30,000 hours…
Innovation has its drawbacks, and can be counted in the large number of hours spent building Gitana 10. Like for the Défi Français' America's Cup boats, those for The Race and Geronimo (4), the female moulds were made of carbon in order to respect the designed shapes. The boat was then built in a carbon sandwich with a Nomex honeycomb core. All of these large parts - central hull, beams and floats - were oven baked at 120°C.
This presentation would not be complete without introducing the member of the Gitana Team who will be campaigning the boat in single-handed events, Frenchman Lionel Lemonchois, whose collaboration as a sailor was indispensable to the "Design Team" and to Multiplast.
(1) Offshore Racing Multihull Association
(2) Designer of the 12.50 m catamaran Alinghi, the yardstick on Lake Geneva (Switzerland) and winner of the Bol d'Or
(3) Designer of the catamaran Cogito, winner of the Little America's Cup. Worked on Stars & Stripes, the catamaran that won the America's Cup in 1989 and a member of the Young America Design Team
(4) 6e Sens (Semi-finalist in Auckland / Nzl), Areva for the 2002/2003 America's Cup and the trimaran Geronimo were built by Multiplast. Club Med, Innovation Explorer (currently Orange) and Team Adventure, respectively 1st, 2nd and 3rd in The Race, were designed by the Gilles Ollier Design Team and built by Multiplast.
Architects: Gitana Team
Spar design (mast and boom): HDS
Loa: 18,28 m / 60ft
Weight: 5.8 T
Grand-Voile: 180 m2
Solent: 130 m2
Gennaker: 250 m2
Air draught: 30,40 m / 100ft