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Festival of Sails 2020 GIF - LEADERBOARD

MACIF Trimaran back at sea, better performance and more reliable

by Trimaran MACIF 23 May 00:06 PDT
François Gabart - MACIF Trimaran © Alexis Courcoux / Macif

Just a few days after the MACIF trimaran left the cargo ship that brought it back from Pointe-à-Pitre, in mid-January, it was sent to the yard for a refit, where it has spent nearly four months in the expert hands of the MACIF technical team.

The goal was to improve the reliability of the systems that failed in the Route du Rhum and to optimize the trimaran's performance, which returned to sea this Wednesday.

The secret of success is reliability

The winter refit concentrated on reliability and, although the results cannot be seen with the naked eye, it has certainly got rid of a few doubts. "After the Route du Rhum," François Gabart explains, "the Ultim' 32/23 class teams shared their conclusions relating to the various types of damage they encountered. As some teams experienced structural damage, we decided, for example, to strengthen the MACIF trimaran's front crossbeams. Then we also replaced the systems controlling the appendages, which were not good enough, since I lost a foil in the route du Rhum in particularly gruelling sea conditions for the boat. The systems used to raise and lower the foils are now much more reliable."

Believed to be one of the strongest boats in the fleet the MACIF trimaran has never had any severe damage since it was launched in 2013 once again it has survived the reliability test. "Do we have the most reliable boat in the fleet? I would not go so far as to judge the others. However, we really believe that we have made progress on this particular point in relation to the previous version of the MACIF trimaran that raced in the Route du Rhum."

Optimizing the trim

Some changes can be seen from the pontoon, or at least partly. To improve the MACIF trimaran's performance, new calculations were made and the boat underwent some significant alterations, which have optimized the boat trim. "We realized," François Gabart continues "that it is very interesting to sail the boat a little more "on its nose" or flat when foiling. To achieve this, we moved the boat's centre of gravity, by moving considerably heavy items, such as the engine for example, but also by cutting a line from aft of the central hull. This is fairly visible and I think that it is going to improve our airborne performance".

Since it is all about foiling, the technical team also focused its attention on aerodynamics. This refit will continue until around the start of the Brest Atlantiques, on 3 November 2019, and it will involve adding an aerodynamic canvas to MACIF's bow, over the central hull. "This should reduce the effect of drag."

Work still to be done on the foils

The MACIF trimaran will continue to remain without a starboard foil for a few weeks. Currently being built, the new appendage will be delivered in mid-July, but this will not prevent François Gabart from training. "We are going to begin two months of sailing with just one foil. This will not prevent us from working on various points. I'm going to continue my endeavours with the Flying Phantom and race in one or two regattas in Italy, and in particular the European Championships. Once the foil is in place, I will concentrate on preparing the Brest Atlantiques, doing some double-handed sailing, and also the Rolex Fastnet race, our first race on 3 August 2019. At the same time, we also have a lot of public relations dates with the Macif group," says the skipper.

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