The Bridge: the MACIF trimaran expected in Nantes

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Yesterday the MACIF trimaran left Port-la-Forêt and is now expected in Nantes for The Bridge

 The start of the transatlantic race with crew between St. Nazaire and New York will take place at 7.00 pm (UTC+1) on 25 June

Goal: to prepare the ship

The Bridge in preparation for the round the world single-handed round the world that François Gabart will attempt later this year

The Centenary Transat organised as part of The Bridge 2017 will start from Saint-Nazaire at 7.00 pm (UTC+1) on Sunday, 25 June. The four competing trimarans, including MACIF, are expected to spend five days in Nantes for a variety of festivities. This transatlantic race with crew to New York is important for François Gabart, from the perspective of the single-handed round-the-world record attempt planned for the end of the year.

The Bridge in preparation for the round the world.

Although The Bridge is definitely an important racing event for François Gabart, set on adding another performance to his record of achievements, he also sees this transatlantic race with crew as a great opportunity to prepare his first attempt at the single-handed round the world record planned for this winter.   "I am going to take on a record that I know will be difficult to beat", he explains.  Naturally, it will mean sailing the boat at its maximum potential and pushing myself to the limit. I will be able to test my limits with the crew as we race in The Bridge.  This race will help me understand the way forward to beat the record.”

Even though François Gabart wants to get to know his boat and his own limits better, he also intends to learn a lot from his crew. “I am constantly thinking of ways to develop the MACIF trimaran with Antoine Gautier and Guillaume, who are part of the MACIF crew. We have set ourselves the goal of observing the boat’s behaviour in real racing conditions and identifying the optimisations that can be made. Pascal Bidégorry and Benoît Marie have the same approach, even if their areas of expertise are different (the former on large multihulls, the latter on flying boats). They are quick to step in even if it means shaking everything up.  Their vantage point from the exterior and their creativity is a great contribution. Lastly, in addition to being a very good sailor, Yann has a lot to teach me as a media man, since I will need to be media-savvy if a wide audience is to experience this record attempt alongside me.”

The phrase: “Enjoyment stimulates performance”



In the last two years, François Gabart has got used to sailing single- or double-handed on the MACIF trimaran and has been training since mid-May with a crew. These two weeks of sailing were punctuated by a victory in the USHIP ArMen Race! “I really enjoyed sailing with a crew, something I hadn’t done in years, and I am convinced that such enjoyment stimulates performance. Naturally, going from 1 to 6 pairs of arms makes the work a lot easier!  It’s a bit like changing from a standard bike to an electrically assisted bike.” After a short period of familiarising themselves with the boat, especially the newcomers Benoît Marie and Yann Riou, the crew spent a session in the Bay of Biscay rehearsing manoeuvres: “We went to places I would not have been able to sail to single-handed and we took our bearings outside St Nazaire on the start line of The Bridge, and then we sailed round all the buoys on the coast as far as channel entrance to the harbour of Bayonne. We carried out manoeuvring tacking and following a zigzag course. It was more interesting than straight long lines”, explained the MACIF skipper.


Saturday (21:00 UTC+1), the skippers and crews will be presented to the public, while next Wednesday, they will take part in the prizegiving for the FIBA 3x3 Basketball World Cup which is being held during The Bridge 2017.  The Ultims will set sail for St. Nazaire on Thursday 22 June, where they will find the Queen Mary 2, alongside which they will race during this Centenary Transat bound for New York (start at 7.00 pm (UTC+1) on 25 June). François Gabart is currently focused on the weather, his sleep and his physical condition and is looking forward to the festivities: “I am interested in the worlds of basketball and jazz (also in the spotlight at The Bridge). It is going to be fun to see all this entertainment.”

MACIF trimaran 2017 provisional programme

25 June: Start of The Bridge (race with crew between St Nazaire and New York)

Mid-October: Start of the standby period for the single-handed round the world record attempt

MACIF trimaran identity sheet

Official name: MACIF
Architects: VLP
Construction: CDK Technologies (project management), Multiplast (Central hull, mainsheet traveller)
 Launch date: 18 August 2015
LOA : 30.00 m
Beam: 21.00 m
Max draught: 4.50m
Number of daggerboards: 3
Air draught: 35 m
Upwind sail area: 430 m²
Downwind sail area: 650 m²



Presented by Cathy McLean

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