François Gabart and the MACIF trimaran in Brest

Thursday, 05 October 2017




Credit: Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / Macif

A little over two weeks from the start of the standby for the single-handed round the world, the MACIF trimaran will be in Brest from Friday to Sunday. An opportunity for François Gabart and his sponsor Macif to pay respects to the people of Brest and the “city of records”, but also to symbolically launch this round the world, which the whole team has been preparing for months.






The site: Brest


Wishing to pay respects to the people of Brest before setting off on a round the world, François Gabart and Macif will be in the city from 6 to 8 October 2017. On the programme: sailing in the harbour, tours of the MACIF trimaran at its berth, and meeting the local people and elected representatives, in the presence of the Mayor, François Cuillandre. For the skipper, “Going to Brest is like going to the starting line. The visit is symbolic.” It’s an opportunity to soak up the atmosphere of “the city of records”, due to host the start of the first single-handed multihull race round the world in 2019, and immerse himself in the history of a record that only three sailors have given a stab. “When I lined up for the start of the Vendée Globe five years ago, it was already an incredible challenge, but dozens of sailors had done it before me, so much so that I was able to rely on their experience to prepare myself. Here, the record has only ever been attempted by three sailors with very different profiles: a small young English woman by the name of Ellen MacArthur, Francis Joyon, “as solid as a rock”, and Thomas Coville with another very committed style. Although they all have a common passion for the sea, speed, and multihulls, they each have their own approach to this world record. I also have the same approach: I want to make a history of my own and chart out my own course.”


The phrase: “This record is beginning to become physical, omnipresent, close to obsession, but it’s a healthy positive obsession.”


As the start of the standby period approaches, François Gabart admits that he thinks increasingly about this “unique and extraordinary” challenge awaiting him at sea. “I dream about it more and more”, adds the skipper, who knows the degree of commitment it will entail on his MACIF trimaran, to try to beat the record of 49 days, 3 hours, 4 minutes, and 28 seconds, held by Thomas Coville, since 25 December 2016. “These 49 days are an important marker for the whole team, on which we have based our decisions in these last months. On my side, I know what I must do to drive the boat harder than I have ever done before. Just sailing this round the world will not be enough for me to beat this record. Sometimes you have to see past the 49 days to be fully aware of your boat and the way it feels.”


A number: 48


The last two weeks before the start of the standby period will be devoted to bringing equipment on board, spare technical equipment, clothing, water, food supplies, etc. How many days’ food has the Macif team planned for the round the world? “I am leaving with 8 weight- and packaging-optimised 6-day bags, which is 48 days”, answers François Gabart, who adds: “I am well aware that I will not necessarily sail this round the world in 48 days, even if this is the competitive goal. This is why there will be an extra bag holding roughly 10 days of food. I could probably last 60 days without having to ration myself.”




After two weeks of successive 24-48-hour sails in fairly rough conditions – “Last weekend, we sailed up to Fastnet and then we went to see our Mini friends who were leaving La Rochelle for the Mini-Transat” – the MACIF trimaran will be in Brest, from Friday to Sunday this week. The team will then continue the last week of training, after which François Gabart will take a five-day break to recharge his batteries.







Credit: Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / Macif


Credit: Yann Riou / Macif

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 October 2017 )