Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 33 728x90

François Gabart dreams of crossing the Southern Ocean

by Vendee Globe on 7 Feb 2011
Francois Gabart (foreground) Vendee Globe © http://www.vendeeglobe.org
Taking part in the Barcelona World Race alongside Michel Desjoyeaux, but unfortunately forced to retire following damage to the top of the mast, François Gabart is still focusing on sailing around the world.

At the age of 27, the young skipper-engineer from Charente in Western France is at the helm of a project flying the colours of MACIF, which will see him lining up at the start of the 2012 Vendée Globe. With a boat currently under construction based on the moulds of the Verdier-VPLP designed FONCIA, the youngest candidate in the solo round the world race is taking giant leaps forward learning about ocean racing. After a month of highly competitive sailing, he looks back at what has been going on…

What impressions are you left with after this double handed round the world race came to such an abrupt end?
François Gabart : 'Both Michel and I were extremely disappointed. This was a very sad moment and it was all very frustrating to find ourselves forced to retire after such an incredible battle at the front of the fleet. It was a magnificent race. We were giving it our all and then suddenly in a split second it was all over. Retiring after a month of racing out of the three we had planned really hurts. Without wishing to take the responsibility away from us, we really didn’t make any mistakes when sailing. We were going fast and pushing the boat hard, but that’s what you’d expect and what the race imposes. So you end up feeling that this sort of incident is beyond your control. But it is all part of the job of being a skipper to learn and move on…'

What positive lesson have you learnt from this month of racing?
F.G : 'During this month of racing, I discovered a lot of things. I passed through the Doldrums and sailed in the South Atlantic, where I’d never been before. In general, apart from the fatal damage, everything went as I imagined it would alongside Michel, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the standard of the competition as we did battle with Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron. They really made it tough for us, but showed us a lot of respect and sportsmanship. I’ll remember this race for a long time to come, as I’m pleased to have taken part and it has given me so much.'

From a human perspective, it was a great adventure…
F.G : This month of racing and then the damage really brought Michel and me together. We went through a lot, got to know each other better and understood each other. That is very promising for what lies ahead, as Michel’s team is in charge of the technical aspects of the construction of my boat for the next Vendée Globe.'

So how are things going with that boat?
F.G. : 'She is just coming out of the pots of resin! Work is just beginning on draping the hull on the Isle of Wight. The deck is being made in Cherbourg. Other parts such as the rudder housing is being developed at Mer Agitée in Port-La-Forêt in Brittany. Just down the road, the bulkheads are being made at CDK, where the boat will be assembled with her launch planned for next August. Since the race started, I’ve been in contact at least once a week with the Mer Agitée team and in particular with Paul-Edouard Henry, the project manager. During the trip under reduced sail to Cape Town, I jotted down a lot of notes about changes I would like to see and my notebook is full. There are always ways to improve a boat and work on her. In comparison to FONCIA, there won’t be any major modifications. But we will of course be trying to understand what exactly happened to fit her with a more reliable mast, even if we are still planning to use a wing mast with outriggers.'

This incident hasn’t affected your dream of sailing around the world?
F.G. : 'No. Quite the reverse! We were just about to pass the Cape of Good Hope. I’d just had my first experience of the Forties. We’d been seeing albatrosses for several days and I thought I’d see many more of them. But the boat decided she didn’t want to go any further. It’s just one of those things. I’ve been trying to get things into perspective. You don’t get to sail around the planet just by clicking your fingers. I knew that before and I saw it for myself. Maybe it was just too simple to do it all in one go alongside Michel. I’m still dreaming of crossing the southern ocean, but I know I’m still young and I’ve still got a lot of miles to sail. I know too that I’m lucky to be able to look forward to such a great project for the next Vendée Globe…'

Vendee Globe website
Ancasta Ker 33 660x82Wildwind 2016 660x82InSunSport - NZ

Related Articles

Freides defends leadership at Melges 20 World Championship
The one and only race that was able to take place at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship was a difficult one at best 2016 Melges 20 World Championship - The one and only race that was able to take place at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship hosted by Marina di Scarlino/Club Nautico Scarlino was a difficult one at best, however managed to present some nice new faces at the front of the fleet.
Posted today at 2:51 am
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Crew catch up - Meet Dhruv Boruah
After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations, some decide on a future in the marine industry, some take time out to assess their next move in life and others seek their next challenge.
Posted on 27 Aug
Changing of the Guard at Melges 20 Worlds, Freides takes over
The second day of racing at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship featured two races under shifty conditions 2016 Melges 20 World Championship - The second day of racing at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship hosted by Marina di Scarlino/Club Nautico Scarlino featured two races under shifty conditions, shaking up the standings and making Drew Freides' Pacific Yankee the new leader with a one point advantage over Michael Illbruck on Pinta now seated in second place.
Posted on 27 Aug
Vendée Globe – Yann Eliès and his team relaunch 60-ft IMOCA in Lorient
Yann is now on the final stretch before the event and will be taking part in the three training courses. Yann is now on the final stretch before the event and will be taking part in the three training courses organised at the Finistère Ocean Racing Centre in Port-la-Forêt (Brittany). He will also take part in the Azimut Trophy. Yann Eliès tells us about the work that has been done and what lies ahead in the final part of his preparation.
Posted on 26 Aug
Vendée Globe – A long trip between France and Iceland for Heerema
After completing two solo transatlantic crossings in the spring, Pieter Heerema is currently on his third major trip. After completing two solo transatlantic crossings in the spring, Pieter Heerema is currently on his third major trip. Thanks to this voyage from France to Iceland and back, the Dutch skipper is finding out more about No Way Back, the new generation IMOCA on which he will line up on 6th November
Posted on 26 Aug
Phoenix returns and Cayard is back for the TP52 World Championships
Richard Cohen will compete at the championships in Mahón, Menorca, with Phoenix, which will be skippered by Paul Cayard. The carefully assembled team includes a core group of sailors who have many years of experience in the class, but Cayard cautions that their initial objective is to learn and improve together in line with their long term goal, to be competitive on the 2017 52 Super Series.
Posted on 26 Aug
Michael Marshall triumphs at J/22 World Championship
With a second place finish in Thursday’s only race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are the champions. Heading into the 10th and final race, Marshall and Chris Doyle were tied on points at 30. As the 41 teams arrived at CORK in the morning, the after effects of an overnight storm left breeze in the mid-20s, so the Race Committee postponed on shore.
Posted on 25 Aug
Best pictures of the first 4 Acts of the Extreme Sailing Series™
An influx of fresh talent have all added to the hype, but the greatest evolution is the replacement of the Extreme 40. An influx of fresh talent, new venues and a revised race format have all added to the hype, but the greatest evolution is the replacement of the Extreme 40 by a smaller, faster catamaran: the flying GC32.
Posted on 25 Aug
Return to Russia for the Extreme Sailing Series™
Joining the fleet as the season heads into its second half is Gazprom Team Russia, led by WMRT champion, Phil Robertson. With one week to go, the fleet returns to St Petersburg for the fifth Act of the season, presented by SAP, 35 of the world’s best sailors are getting their heads in the game and preparing for the one of the trickiest venues of the season so far.
Posted on 25 Aug
Marshall and Doyle tied on points at J/22 World Championship
By way of a victory in Wednesday’s third race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are tied at 30 points By way of a victory in Wednesday’s third race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are tied at 30 points with Chris Doyle, Will Harris and Adam Burns. Jeff Todd is still in the hunt in third place with 35 points.
Posted on 24 Aug