27 June 2017 - 10:59 • 3563 views



One challenge follows another for Sébastien Josse. Forced to retire from the last Vendée Globe, on 17th July, if all goes well, Sébastien will be launching the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, a magnificent 32m long foiling trimaran. Like Armel Le Cléac’h, Sébastien Josse will be aiming to win the Ultimes round the world race scheduled for 2019… But his first challenge aboard the boat will be the Transat Jacques Vabre, which he will race later this year with Thomas Rouxel.

They are very busy now down in the yard, where the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was assembled. And for good reason, as she is due to be launched in a few weeks from now on 17th July in Vannes. Pierre Tissier, Technical Director of the Gitana Team tells us how work is going: “Everything is slotting into place here and we're bang on schedule. There are still a few unknown quantities regarding certain machined parts but if everything goes smoothly, we'll hit the water on 17th July. The deck hardware is in place, the electronics are nearing completion and we'll soon be able to launch into installing the trampolines. That will be the scenario from next week once the painting of the floats is complete. The entire hydraulics installation is running parallel to that as we had to wait for the end of the platform composites for this element. The mast and the boom are currently equipped in Lorient at Lorima. The manufacture of the appendages has been outsourced to Re Fraschini in Italy for the foils, C3 technologies in La Rochelle for the rudders and floats and Heol Composites for the daggerboard  and they will really be the final pieces to make up the puzzle in the very last days of the build process.””

Some brand new features and technological innovations
The boat we'll be launching in a few weeks' time has a series of genuine new features and technological innovations, things which have never been done on this scale before,” added Cyril Dardashti, director of the Gitana Team. “The whole team is doing an incredible job keeping up with the initial schedule. This construction is reminiscent of an Ironman. A twenty-month build is long and difficult and as with any full-on event, the last few miles require even greater effort and energy. Together with Pierre Tissier, we're here to make the team feel confident about the job in hand so that each member of the team manages to push that much harder down this home straight.”

© Yann Riou / GITANA SASébastien Josse taking Thomas Rouxel with him for the Transat Jacques Vabre
Sébastien Josse has been having frequent meetings with the technical team and the Gitana research team in Vannes. He cannot hide his impatience to get out there sailing: “Naturally, I'm keen for this phase of the build to be complete and to get out there sailing, but these last few weeks are a good transition between the two as the installation of the systems and the proper fitting out of the cockpit is the first stage in the handover between the technical team and the sailors. Right now, things are moving very quickly at the yard and each day the boat is evolving and looks different. The composites are behind us and inevitably we're entering a more concrete stage: the deck hardware is in position, the electric cables have been run through and the electronics put in place. The Maxi is taking shape and in less than a month we'll be in the water.”

Facts and figures about the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild

Start of construction: October 2015
Launch: 17 July 2017
+ 170,000 hours of work, including 35,000 of studies
+ /- 40 people on average over the 20 month build period
Length: 32 metres
Beam: 23 metres
Weight (displacement): 15.5 tonnes
Air draught: 37 metres
Downwind sail surface: 650 m2
Upwind sail surface: 450 m2
Appendages  / Number: 6 - Type: T-shaped rudders on the floats (2), L-shaped foils (2), central daggerboard (1), T-shaped rudder in central section (1)
Architects: Verdier team in collaboration with the Gitana research team
Builders: C3 Technologies (bulkheads and appendages), Re Fraschini (foils), Lorima (mast), Multiplast (platform), Persico (coach roof cover)

Source: Gitana Team