It all started at the end of the 19th century, in 1876 to be exact, when Baroness Julie Caroline de Rothschild ordered boats to set speed records on Lake Geneva. She became the fastest yachting lady of her time at the helm of her â€śsteam yachtsâ€ť, Gitana II. She was the first "Gitane" (Gypsy) and the person behind both the name and the legendary saga that was to come.
Baron Edmond de Rothschild followed in her wake and developed a passion for monohull boats and ocean racing. He took on the challenge of the open sea in the 1960s. From the Gitana III to the maxi-monohull Gitana VIII, and including the mythical Gitana VI, he enriched the history of exceptional sailing boats with new records and left his mark on a generation of sailors. The yachting of the early days gradually gave way to a real taste for competitive sailing.
The saga changed directions completely at the urging of Baron Benjamin de Rothschild. It is now being written by the most prestigious and technically advanced boats of their day. He created the Gitana Team and transformed a family passion into a school of excellence and high performance. The steam boats have become slender monohulls and trimarans, at the cutting edge of technology, sailed by a team of top professionals.
The story is just beginningâ€¦the passion is stronger, with sails, without steam,
but always with panache. Thanks to advances in technology and architecture, ocean
racing is constantly evolving. It is currently in the midst of a revolution with
the advent of boats that virtually fly. Weâ€™re inventing a new alphabet and weâ€™re
at the letter A. The Gitana Team made the right choice!
Benjamin de Rothschild
Baron Benjamin de Rothschild, an experienced sailor, decided to give a new dimension to Gitana in 2000. He became an ocean racing innovator by creating a racing stable to take part in the most famous sailing races: Route du Rhum, Transat Anglaise, Transat Jacques Vabre, Route de lâ€™Orâ€¦His goal was to remain faithful to the Rothschild sailing tradition in which teamwork, the personal touch and conviviality go hand-in-hand with innovation and excellence.
To win, Benjamin de Rothschild calls on talented, battled-hardened sailors and renowned architects, designers and engineers who work to create unique, ever-faster sailing boats. For each race, the Team brings together the best specialists from every advanced industry required for high performance: composite materials, rigging, on-board computers and electronics, meteorology, etc. All are there to meet the requirements of both skipper and boat to ensure the entire teamâ€™s success. This is how the Gitana Team became both the end-point and the new starting point of the family heritage.
Supported and inspired by its owners - renowned entrepreneurs with a keen interest
in technology - the Gitana is never afraid to try a new route, as it did for the
2014 Route du Rhum, well aware that excellence cannot be achieved without taking
risks or without daring.
Cyril Dardashti, General Manager of Gitana
Imagining, creating, modifying, repairing...these are the daily tasks of the Gitana team members. Twenty specialists work all year-round on Gitana fleet prototypes at the team headquarters at Lorient in Brittany. All skill areas are represented, including architecture, engineering, composite materials, hydraulics, rigging, deck fittings and on-board electronics and computers...
The meticulousness, high technical skill, experience and know-how of each professional combine to meet the exacting requirements of skipper SĂ©bastien Josse, and help guide his choices. Everyone present outdoes himself, both before and during the race, on land and at sea, to build collective performance.
The success of sports ventures often depends on the ability of these expert boat-building craftsmen to work together. The design and preparation of a racing boat are as essential to its performance as navigation and strategy. Of course, victories are won at sea, but they are first constructed on land.