The Maxi Edmond De Rothschild is unveiled

Saturday, 01 April 2017


Yesterday, Thursday 30 March, the Gitana Team invited the press to the Palais de Tokyo museum in Paris to mark the official launch of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, a ‘giant’ measuring 32 metres long and 23 metres wide, which is undergoing her final few months in the yard after a build process spanning over a year and a half. The launch of this new Gitana craft is scheduled for this July. We get the low-down on the general concept, highlighting the forms and the architectural choices, with a focus on the special features of the platform, not to the mention the announcement about the sports programme, as well as the discovery of the livery… Sébastien Josse and his team were careful not to dodge any questions, aside from those relating to the appendages; a highly strategic point given the team’s clear aim of building and developing a flying offshore maxi-trimaran.

 A new type of Maxi 
A new chapter in the history of offshore racing is very likely being written. Who could have wagered just ten years ago that a 32-metre long and 23-metre wide multihull would be capable of flying around the world driven by just one skipper? And yet, this is the gamble accepted by Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild and the members of Gitana Team, their offshore racing stable founded in 2000.

This ‘Ultime’, which has fully adopted a long-term approach with the team involved in extensive research and development on the Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild since 2014, once again testifies to the passion for innovation and performance that guides the owners of Gitana on a daily basis. Designed by naval architect Guillaume Verdier and his team in collaboration with the Gitana design office, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is paving the way forward for a new generation of large offshore multihulls. Indeed, it will be part Archimedean boat (submerged hull), part flying craft.

Beyond her majestic platform, which is an imposing sight from the first visit to the Multiplast yard in Vannes, the boat features purposeful planing hulls beneath the waterline that are both aggressive and innovative and a far cry from those used on the current fleet of oceanic multihulls. Everything about the forms of the floats and the central hull shouts flight. With this in mind, she will be equipped with the very latest architectural and technical advances in terms of appendages, with T-foil rudders and L-shaped foils, which are sure to set tongues wagging, though Gitana Team does not intend to unveil them prior to the boat’s launch. With everything geared towards flight, a great deal of care has gone into the aerodynamics of the platform. The forms of the beams in particular testify to this, as does the integration of the living space/ cockpit between the two beams.

First official competition in November
The broad outline of the sports programme for the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has already been established for the next three seasons. Christened Gitana 17, she has been devised, developed and built with the focus on solo sailing, though she will also be the ideal boat for crewed races as well as the major records.

Entrusted to the expert hands of Sébastien Josse, the skipper of the Edmond de Rothschild craft since 2011, the first official competition for the Maxi will take place this November for the famous double-handed transatlantic race, the Transat Jacques Vabre between Le Havre and Salvador de Bahia, in Brazil. For this trial run, Sébastien Josse will be accompanied by the navigator Thomas Rouxel. Hailing from the Figaro network of excellence, the Breton sailor is one of the loyal members of the sailing team on the Edmond de Rothschild craft and boasts a wealth of offshore experience that notably includes a Volvo Ocean Race and a Jules Verne Trophy. The Route du Rhum 2018 and a solo round the world in the autumn of 2019 will round off this programme, which is as thrilling as it is demanding.

When Art takes to the open sea
Though the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has proven to be innovative in both her design and her realisation, this is as much the case for her livery. The latter is the fruit of a fantastic collaboration between the Gitana Team and the Palais de Tokyo, spurred on by Ariane de Rothschild.
To sublimate and support this new atypical project, the owners of Gitana were keen to entrust an artist with the ‘visual personality’ of this craft with her extraordinary dimensions. Thanks to the commitment and dynamism of its president Jean de Loisy, the Palais de Tokyo is embarking on the adventure and the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is joining one of the Palais’ artistic programmes, which goes by the name of the “LASCO PROJECT”. This urban arts circuit, which has embraced the subterranean sections of the famous Parisian museum since December 2012, has played host to a succession of exhibits from over sixty international artists: from Futura to Cleon Peterson, to Mode 2, Boris Tellegen, Olivier Kosta-Théfaine, Stelios Faitakis, André, Jacques Villeglé, Dran, SKKI, Evol, Vhils, Azyle, Antwan Horfee, Ken Sortais, Lek & Sowat, O’clock, Pablo Tomek, Philippe Baudelocque, Craig Costello, as well as JR and the OSGEMEOS. However, with this particular project, it is escaping the confines of its walls so as to be transported to the sea for the very first time.

It is the American artist Cleon Peterson who has been selected. For this latest remit, he has specially designed an original work that Jean-Baptiste Epron, Gitana Team’s loyal designer, has adapted to the silhouette of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. It is a committed creation, which is perfectly in harmony with the character and sleek lines of this new generation ‘giant’. Through this invitation, the painting by Cleon Peterson is taking to the open water where it will confront the ‘other-urban’ territory that is the sea. The American artist brings his painting to life through the stormy nature of the ocean, reminding us that art and sailing pursue the same mirage: the crossing of fringes like horizons.

Start of construction: October 2015 
Launch: July 2017
20-month build
+ 170,000 man-hours, including 35,000 hours of studies
+ /- 40 people on average over 20 months
LOA: 32m
Beam: 23m 
Weight (displacement): 15.5 tonnes
Air draught: 37m
Downwind sail area: 650m2
Upwind sail area: 450m2
Number: 6
Type: T-foil float rudders (2), L-shaped foils (2), daggerboard on the central hull (1), T-foil rudder on central hull (1)

Ariane de Rothschild: “This Maxi Trimaran is the culmination of many years of reflection, both on a technological and aesthetic level. It’s been some time now that I’ve been wanting to invite an artist involved in contemporary art to express themselves on one of our boats. Street art is something we all live with. It was an especially strong presence in my life in the eighties when I was working in New York. To my mind, it’s a very important form of expression, but not solely artistic, since it also delivers a certain number of very powerful messages. I found it very interesting to bring together the Rothschild universe, which one might believe to be very refined, and a more raw environment, which is very reminiscent of our daily reality. This combination of messages really make sense within this project. The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild brings together the topics I deal with on a daily basis, as much in the Edmond de Rothschild Group’s banking activities as with the Edmond de Rothschild Foundations, highlighting the values, which our family have defended for generations: daring, risk-taking and panache, which embody elegance in my view. Finally, the warrior-like forms of the sails are very important as it is one of our family’s key values to my mind.”

Cyril Dardashti, General Manager Gitana Team: “It’s a great pleasure to be able to unveil the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. We’re incredibly lucky that the owners of the boat have provided us with the means to satisfy our ambitions and allow us to push ourselves to the limits and explore in order to progress. This new trimaran, as much through her sheer size as the complexity of the on-board systems and the sporting objectives we’ve set ourselves, is most definitely the sporting and technical project of a lifetime! Indeed, getting such a machine to fly singlehanded around the planet is just an incredible dream. It’s a dream we fully intend to make a reality and that’s why we’ve been working so hard on it for several years. Within Gitana Team, we have been nurturing it for over three years now, as it all began in 2013 on the return from the Transat Jacques Vabre, which Sébastien and Charles Caudrelier won on the Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild. The previous year, the America’s Cup and above all Team New Zealand and Guillaume Verdier, paved the way forward and opened up some new prospects for flight. The installation of T-foil rudders on the boat to participate in the Route du Rhum was a gamble, but Sébastien’s 3rd place confirmed that we were on the right track, albeit with a huge amount of work still to do. 2015 was marked by numerous tests on the foil profiles, complemented in 2016 by a series of flight campaigns offshore of Lorient. The Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild has been a fantastic full-scale laboratory and enabled us to progress faster by validating the solutions on the water and not solely by sticking to the virtual theory of a computer. We certainly wouldn’t have been so daring with the design of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild had the test campaigns on Gitana XV not existed.” 

Sébastien Josse, skipper of Edmond de Rothschild: “There’s a mixture of stage fright and a desire to get going just a few months away from the launch. We’re already casting our minds forward to that moment and above all we’re practicing a lot of sport as it’s going to be a physical trimaran! We wanted a boat that is 2 in 1, namely a very good Archimedean boat that is solid and seaworthy, but also capable of flying in certain phases, weather permitting. Indeed, it’s out of the question to fly in heavy seas, like those we’ll encounter offshore. With regards flight mode, you have to kind of put the images of the America’s Cup boats to one side; the goal really won’t be to fly so high. The broad outline of the boat is now public, but in terms of the appendages, we’ll only reveal very little about these prior to the launch for strategic reasons, as the construction of new boats is underway and these appendages are the preciously guarded key to performance. The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is a very large, powerful boat, which will easily make an average speed of 40 knots in Archimedean mode, so we’re unquestionably going to need a phase of apprenticeship. However, the sports programme has been well thought out as a result, with our first double-handed race in November and numerous crewed sailing opportunities prior to the first major singlehanded meeting that is the Route du Rhum. For the round the world event in 2019 I’ll already benefit from some sound knowledge of the machine, even though we’ll only be at the beginning of our journey at that point.” 

Guillaume Verdier, naval architect of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild:“We had a close look at things from the start. We based our work on the subject’s first principles of physics. The maxi-trimaran is a major first; we are pioneers. We’re massively lucky to be able to work for such a project. There is this notion of aerodynamics, which has called upon the use of sophisticated tooling reminiscent of that used on the America’s Cup. We’ve sought to make the platform and the rig a single entity. This boat, if only through the exchanges and positive human relations between everyone, from the naval architects, to the yard, to the design office, is already of good birth… Indeed, for me, it’s essential to really emphasise the fact that this project is a collective work. It’s not the boat of a naval architect, it is a boat belonging to a group, starting with the Gitana design office headed by Antoine Koch (Armand de Jacquelot, Sébastien Sainson, Marine Villard, Julien Marcelet) as well as my associates, Morgane Schlumberger, Véronique Soulé, Romaric Neyhousser, Hervé Penfornis, a young New Zealander, Bobby Kleinschmidt, who we’ll be hearing all about very shortly, Jamie France, not to mention the Pure company.”

Jean de Loisy, President of the Palais de Tokyo: “This project is the marriage of Art and Sport, the marriage of the Gitana Team and the Palais de Tokyo, and the marriage of truth if I may so, since the common ground between an artist involved in street art and a great sailor is the impossibility of lying. What struck us all about the street art is the absolute sincerity that prompts people to go into the street and do what they crave, namely immediate expression. This absolute sincerity is also true for the sailor. It seems to me that the other common ground is experimentation. They are artists who are constantly inventing new languages and it’s the naval architects and engineers who invent new possibilities for the sailors to slip along and be bound to nature. I believe that the freedom artists can benefit from must have consequences on our lives and for that to happen, it’s very important that they escape the walls of museums where they can be fulfilled in a different way. However, though we manage to get art into our lives as something that bathes our spirits, offering us wider adventures, opening up new aesthetic opportunities and broadening our field of consciousness is a good thing. As a result, art is better off the walls.”

Hugo Vitrani, Curator-at-large at the Palais de Tokyo: “For this monumental work, that covers over 900 square metres of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild’s hulls and sails, Cleon Peterson has worked on four warriors drawn in a flat tint of navy blue; four silhouettes which represent the four daughters of Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild. An epic scene, blending the heritage of Antiquity and underground culture, dictated by sinuous lines and traversed by warrior arrows, these same arrows have, since its creation, made up Gitana Team’s coat of arms and united by the needle of a compass, evoke the five branches of the Rothschild family. Adapted for the boat’s livery by Jean Baptiste Epron, this work forges links between the physical and psychological combat of someone who has experienced the violence of the street and the skipper’s combat against the power of the sea and the winds. It’s a way of affirming that the street and the sea are two untameable environments, which plunge tension into the body, the mind and the imagination. The sea is not a neutral environment. Its currents are imbued with the history of alternative cultures, of tattoos that "did in" the sailors’ bodies and related their experiences as far away as the numerous New York subways covered in paintings, which were drowned in the ocean during the severe anti-graffiti repression in the late seventies. The collaboration between Gitana Team and Cleon Peterson is an extension of this clashing of worlds.”

Gitana, in the wake of a passion
For over 140 years, "Gitana" has conjured up images of a line of boats, which tell of a family passion that has constantly been driven by a taste for excellence. The Rothschild’s are continuing a tradition based on expertise and innovation, performance and beauty, a history where each generation has left its own remarkable imprint. 

In 2000, Edmond de Rothschild steered the Gitana saga towards the multihulls and created the Gitana Team, an offshore racing stable dedicated to the passion for speed on the water and the hatching of alent.  From the unremitting teamwork came some unforgettable human adventures and some resounding victories. A historic multihull protagonist on a global scale, Benjamin de Rothschild transformed a family passion into a school of excellence.

The Gitana Team yachts sail under the colors of the Edmond de Rothschild Group.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 01 April 2017 )