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Gabart’s around-the-world dream—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

13/11/2017

14 Nov 2017
 

Gabart's around-the-world dream—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond

François Gabart aboard the MACIF trimaran  Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / Macif
While François Gabart (FRA) has long been a household name in France, this Vendee Globe winner and sailing wunderkind is less well-known at other latitudes and longitudes. This is poised to change, however, as the 34-year-old sailor is currently chasing an around-the-world dream that-if successful-will cement his name into an elite club of just three sailors who have held the record for the fastest singlehanded circumnavigation. The current record, set by Thomas Coville (FRA) in December of 2016 aboard the maxi trimaran Sodebo Ultim, stands at just 49 days 3 hours 7 minutes and 38 seconds, thus presenting the young Gabart with a tough ask by anyone's yardstick (even if they prefer using the metric system).

Some backstory. Gabart spent years under the tutelage of Michel “Le Professeur” Desjoyeaux (FRA) before stepping into the limelight during the 2012/2013 edition of the storied Vendee Globe, where-as a rookie-he swept the 20-boat fleet to take top honors.

Vendee Globe Finish For Francois Gabart (Fra) / Macif After 78d 02h 16mn 40sec / Winner - Photo Vincent Curutchet  DPPI / Vendee Globe


Yet to peg this as mere beginner's luck would be akin to drastically underselling one of the most methodical and tactically minded sailors afloat...not to mention a guy who simply knows how to make a boat move, irrespective of whether it has one hull or three.

Given the hallowed status that ocean sailing holds in France, it's not surprising that Gabart's sponsor, Macif, was quick to sign him up for an extended contract aboard a state-of-the-art, 98-foot trimaran (also called Macif) that the young Frenchman has been developing and campaigning in a build-up to his current challenge of trying to best Coville's record for the fastest solo circumnavigation.

Francois Gabart on board his MACIF ‘Ultim' 105ft trimaran, shown here celebrating after winning the 'Transat Bakerley' solo transatlantic yacht race.  Lloyd Images


Gabart cast off his docking lines and crossed the official starting line, which is situated between the Créac'h lighthouse in Ushant, France, and the Lizard Point lighthouse in Cornwall, UK, on November 4, and has been making excellent progress thanks to a weather window that, while not opulent, has so far been delivering big-mile days.

“It's a small window,” said Gabart before leaving the dock at Port-La Forêt. “It may not be the best window in the world, but there comes a time when you have to leave! We have a fair idea of what weather we will have until the equator, but not after that... We have to try and we'll see near Brazil if the weather follows on as we would hope.'

François Gabart and the MACIF trimaran are off  © Alexis Courcoux / Macif


“Thomas [Coville] sailed wonderfully and [his] weather windows followed on from each other perfectly,” continued Gabart. “So I will do my very best to get close to what he did. You really need to have a guiding star and a little success to have weather windows that follow on from each other well right until the end. I'm really impatient to sail around the world on this beautiful boat. It has taken nearly 2 years of work to get to this stage... now, it's time to go!”

While these are still early days, Macif has been delivering average speeds in the high 20s/low 30s, which equates to daily runs that can average 650-700 nautical miles, provided that Mother Nature continues to provide her critical power source. Still, Gabart must re-cross his starting line by 1309 hours, local time, on December 23, 2017, if he is going to usurp Coville as the fastest solo-circumnavigation gun, making the margins impressively tight.

Thomas Coville broke the 50day barrier for a single handed round the world voyage  Thomas Coville / Sodebo


So, while the Volvo Ocean Race's fleet of fully crewed Volvo Ocean 65s are charging across the Atlantic Ocean towards their Cape Town, South Africa, finishing line, and as the doublehanded sailors in the ongoing Transat Jacques Vabre (including Thomas Coville and Jean-Luc Nelias, who are racing aboard Coville's Sodebo Ultim) race from Le Havre, France, to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, I'm keeping a close eye on Gabart and my fingers crossed that he breaks the record.

After all, the only way that standards improve is if the world's best constantly push harder than those whose wake they're following.

Skipper Sébastien Josse's new trimaran, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild  Gitana Team


Still, there's a certain irony to the fact that the world's latest, no-holds-barred maxi trimaran, skipper Seb Josse's Maxi Edmond De Rothschild, cut its offshore teeth in this year's Transat Jacques Vabre. While there's no doubt that Josse and his co-skipper, Thomas Rouxel, fully engaged their TJV experience, odds are excellent that Josse and his sponsor have already agreed upon a multi-year offshore racing program that likely includes a shot at the solo-circumnavigation record, irrespective of who is holding it.

Game on!

May the four winds blow you safely home,


David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor



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The Clipper Race,
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Sunfish Class,
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Auckland Council media,
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US Sailing,
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Richard Gladwell, Sail-World NZ,
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TJV,
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Volvo Ocean Race,
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The Clipper Race,
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Frank Quealey,
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IWT,
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World Sailing,
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Jonno Turner,
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Transat Jacques Vabre,
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World Sailing,
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Event Media,
Ian can still count on a lead of over 100 miles, but the progress by Jorg Riechers (Lillienthal), his direct pursuer in terms of distance to the goal, must be causing him to bristle slightly in the disturbed trade wind system that requires the utmost vigilance at all times in order to get the best out of your machine.... [more]


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Volvo Ocean Race,
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The Clipper Race,
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J/24 East Coast and J/22 Mid-Atlantic Championships - Overall report
J-Boats,
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International Windsurfing Tour,
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Clipper Round the World,
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Transat Jacques Vabre,
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Event Media,
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Fraglia Vela Riva,
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James Kimber,
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Volvo Ocean Race,
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The Clipper Race,
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IWT,
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BoatUS,
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North Sails,
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TJV,
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World Sailing,
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MACIF,
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Gitana,
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Brendan Rourke/RPAYC,
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Richard Gladwell Sail-World.com/nz,
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Volvo Ocean Race,
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Mini-Transat La Boulangère – Nothing new out west
Event Media,
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Turn The Tide On Plastic,
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Volvo Ocean Race,
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Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry releases 2018 program schedule
Barby MacGowan,
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The Clipper Race,
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IWT,
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ORC Congress concludes successful 2017 season and looks ahead to 2018
ORC Media,
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Richard Gladwell, Sail-World NZ,
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Volvo Ocean Race,
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52 Super Series is setting trends in sustainability
52 Super Series,
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Harvey and Irma destroy over 63,000 recreational boats
BoatUS,
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Volvo Ocean Race champion new skipper at Doyle Sails International
Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com NZ,
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Swedish Finn Champion spearheads int'l competitors at Sail Melbourne
New Tack Events,
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US Sailing,
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Transat Jacques Vabre,
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Mini-Transat La Boulangère,
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Volvo Ocean Race,
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The Clipper Race,
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Clipper Race invites Expressions of Interest from host ports to 2022
Kathryn Foulkes / Clipper Ventures,
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Robert Deaves,
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North Sails,
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Carlyon Knight-Evans,
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Team Brunel,
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World Sailing,
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IWT,
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World Sailing,
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Danielle Neri, North Sails,
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Mini-Transat La Boulangère - Traverse in convoy... or not
Mini-Transat La Boulangère,
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Nesbitt becomes three-time Butler Cup winner
Rick Roberts,
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Sustainability Agenda 2030 to create a better world through sport
World Sailing,
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Volvo Ocean Race - Accelerating away from Madeira as decision looms
Volvo Ocean Race,
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2018 North Channel Race Week - Action coming soon...
Mike Coomes,
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Witches Brew Race - Dress for Success-
J-Boats,
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Yacht Racing Forum 2018 at the heart of mythical Sailing Valley©
Yacht Racing Forum,
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The Clipper Race - Race 3, Day 7 - Back to life at a heel
Clipper Round the World,
A wind hole held up the leading pack of the Clipper Race fleet on Day 7 of Race 3: The Dell Latitude Rugged Race with the teams now back beating upwind. The downwind sailing conditions, that had been expected as part of a Southern Ocean sleigh ride towards Fremantle, Australia, are noticeably absent.... [more]


The Aloha Classic - Tough fight for podium
International Windsurfing Tour,
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Roger Nilson accepts Legends Race invitation
Volvo Ocean Race,
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BIC Techno 293 Worlds 2017 Salou - Highlights
Patrik Pollak,
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If not now, then when – Balancing the Boat Forum
World Sailing,
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Fleet prepare for the front after battling currents and lobster pots
Transat Jacques Vabre,
If the first night of the 13th Transat Jacques Vabre was tough, the second night will wash away the memory in brutal fashion for the 37 boats and 74 crew, with winds gusting up to 45 knots and 5-metre waves as they begin to cross a cold front off Cape Finisterre from this evening (Monday). In a different way to the trilas of negotiating ridges of high pressure, as the fleet did today... [more]


Mini-Transat La Boulangère - In search of the lost wind
Mini-Transat La Boulangère,
There are now six sailors making a pit-stop to effect repairs at Mindelo with the arrival of Thibault Michelin (Eva Luna), victim of rudder damage a few days earlier. A seventh competitor is set to join them shortly, Ambrogio Beccaria (Alla Grande Ambecco), whose boat has a broken bowsprit. He's turned back to make for Cape Verde... [more]


Transat Jacques Vabre - On the front line
Gitana,
After leaving Le Havre yesterday at 12:35 UTC, this lunchtime the Transat Jacques Vabre fleet is being led down the Atlantic by the Josse - Rouxel duo aboard the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. Setting sail with a degree of caution from the foot of the Cap de la Hève, sailors that make up Gitana Team wasted no time in powering up and showing just what this latest addition to Gitana fleet is made of.... [more]
 



 

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