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Transat Jacques Vabre: Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, a pioneer of its kind

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On 17 July 2017, after a twenty-month build and over 35,000 hours of studies, Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild launched the latest addition to their offshore racing stable. The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, a large oceanic trimaran measuring 32 metres long and 23 metres wide is now part of the long and rather illustrious line of Gitanas. This Sunday in Le Havre, Gitana 17 will be the first multihull designed to fly offshore to set sail on a transatlantic race. On-board will be two oceanic pioneers, Sébastien Josse and Thomas Rouxel. 

The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, a large oceanic trimaran measuring 32 metres long and 23 metres wide
The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, a large oceanic trimaran measuring 32 metres long and 23 metres wide

Paving the way

Featuring an aggressive and sleek outline with smooth lines, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild forces admiration. Indeed, this flying ‘fighter plane’ is a one-off in the looks department thanks to her unique floats and central hull and to the underwater sections of her beams, which are reminiscent of a plane wing. With flat hull bottoms for the maximum lift, a very high freeboard to thwart the torsion stresses of the float foils and rectangular beams for optimum stiffness, her streamlined wing-style sail plan and boat profile blend into one. Hydrodynamics and aerodynamics have been the key points in the development of this ‘two in one’ craft according to her architect Guillaume Verdier. From the design to the construction, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is the result of a mastery of innovation and new technologies, shaped by the strictest quality control. A precursor, this giant of the seas is paving the way forward for a new generation of large multihulls, designed to negotiate heavy seas in the open ocean.

Objective: apprenticeship and fine-tuning on the finest of playgrounds!

Since the launch of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, the timing has been tight and every session on the water has been carefully optimised by the members of the Gitana Team to enable the Edmond de Rothschild duo to set sail from Le Havre with the optimum amount of preparation under their belts. The estimated eight to ten days for the crossing and the numerous associated miles in race configuration are an accelerated learning experience that greatly appeals to Sébastien Josse: “Gitana 17 is a highly specialised prototype, which brings together a series of innovative technologies where there is no shortcut to the discovery and fine-tuning phase! Naturally I’m thinking here about the foils and the various appendages and systems necessary for flight, but that’s not all. Innovation has a place all over the boat. In fact, we’re developing some unique solutions with Pixel sur Mer regarding all the on-board intelligence. With Gitana Team we’re pioneers, we’re preparing the way forward and what we learn from these miles in race configuration is extremely precious for the next stage of the programme and particularly for the single-handed racing in 2018 and 2019.”

The Edmond de Rothschild duo has had a short yet intense period of preparation. However, the two men fully intend to benefit from the 4,350 miles that lay ahead of the latest addition to the Gitana fleet to fine tune her and show off her exceptional potential.

The Numbers 

Sébastien Josse
42 - 4 Transat Jacques Vabres including 1 victory
15 transatlantic races
3 Vendée Globes - 1 Volvo Ocean Race - 1 Jules Verne Trophy - 5 Solitaire du Figaros 

Thomas Rouxel
34 – 1st Transat Jacques Vabre 
11 transatlantic races
1 Volvo Ocean Race - 1 Jules Verne Trophy - 6 Solitaire du Figaros 

Transat Jacques Vabre 
13th edition 
Creation: 1993 
Frequency: every two years 
Type of race: double-handed transatlantic race 
Event with multiple classes open to multihulls (Multi50s & Ultimes) and monohulls (Class40s & Imocas)
4,350 miles
38 competing crews, or 76 sailors