MULTIPLAST AND THE TROPHEE JULES VERNE 2003
Trophée Jules Verne 2003 - Geronimo and Kingfisher 2 in pursuit of Orange.60-foot trimaran - 2003 Vintage Gitana.With the first victory of Commodore Explorer in the Trophée Jules Verne in 1993 and of Orange last year, the multihulls designed and built by Multiplast have twice improved upon the event's reference time since its creation. This year, two other Multiplast machines are racing against the clock, Geronimo and Kingfisher 2.
Multiplast, currently in the process of building its 5th maxi-multihull of more than 30 m long, is once again involved in record chasing. Geronimo, the Van Peteghem & Lauriot-Prévost designed 34 metre long maxi-trimaran belonging to Frenchman Olivier de Kersauson is currently pushing the door of the Screaming Fifties.
At the halfway mark, after having passed Cape Leeuwin/Australia, she had a little more than a 2 day lead over Orange – current holder of the Trophy. For her second attempt, after a period of fine-tuning, Geronimo is in fine fettle. Olivier de Kersauson and his crew have already clocked up several records since they set out on 11th January. They confirm the trimaran's potential. But the skipper remains cautious. Olivier de Kersauson : "We're pleased to see that we are within the coherent limits for the record without having mashed up any gear. I've always said that you have to have a boat which can race round the Horn. Time can be made up on the way back up afterwards. In the Southern Ocean, everyone can sail pretty fast, to within a couple of knots of each other. A successful circumnavigation is one where the boat is sailed down and back up fast...".
Kingfisher hot on Geronimo's heels
Ellen Mac Arthur set out 19 days after Geronimo and has not had such good weather conditions on the first part of the course. At the time of writing, the Equator and the Doldrums, two regions of fickle wind, lay behind her. Ellen MacArthur : "We have lightened the boat a lot in relation to her "Orange" configuration. We don't have any engines, our sails and rigging is much lighter. Our performance is much better in light airs." Yann Penfornis, the catamaran's architect and build manager confirms : "They've made a saving of about one ton overall and have worked really hard to improve the platform. Of the three sisterships to come out of our shed, (Club Med, Team Adventure and Innovation Explorer), the potential of Kingfisher is unrivalled. She is in tiptop condition and should be able to reach even greater top speeds". The talented English skipper of Kingfisher II picks up the same point : "The most amazing thing about this boat is her speed. We can sail at average speeds of 25 knots in perfect safety. She's a good boat. She has already shown what she's made of with two circumnavigations. I can't see what I could change".
New records for Géronimo :
Record Start - Equator / 6d 11h 26' 21" (gain over Enza : 16h 44' 01")
Record Equator – Cape of Good Hope / 10d 3h 9' 5" (gain over Sport Elec : 9h 51' 22")
Record Start / Cape of Good Hope / 16d 14h 35' 26" (gain over Orange : 2d 3h 25' 14")
Record Start / Cape Leeuwin / 26d 4h 53' (gain over Orange : 3d 2h 29')
Trophée Jules Verne / The 5 time markers :
1993 / Commodore Explorer / 85 foot Ollier-Multiplast catamaran / 79d 06h 15' 56"
1994 / Enza New Zealand / 89 foot Irens – Bombardier catamaran / 74d 22h 17' 22"
1997 / Sport-Elec / 85 foot Van Peteghem-Lauriot Prévost – CDK catamaran / 71d 14h 18' 08"
2002 / Orange / 109 foot Gilles Ollier Design Team – Multiplast catamaran / 64d 08h 37' 24"
2003 VINTAGE GITANA
A shortened season and a damaged mast in the Route du Rhum 2002, prevented Gitana from being able to show what she was made of, although she had only come out of the Multiplast shed in June of last year. Back in her winter lay-up base in La Trinité-sur-Mer (French Atlantic coast), she is going to undergo one or two transformations in order to fall in line with the 2003 measurement rules.
Apart from a new spar, the biggest job on hand concerns changing the dagger board casing and making new appendages (dagger board and rudder). A team from Multiplast has been working on the boat since the beginning of February, starting a 7-week long programme. Meanwhile, the Gilles Ollier Design Team, a member of the Gitana Design Team, has been working on developing the appendages together with Hughes de Turckheim (from the Gitana Team). The trimaran will be back out on the water at the end of March-beginning of April and will be taking part in the full ORMA 60-foot multihull World Championship programme.