Tuesday, November 7, 2017


7 November 2017:  Think about this: a French superstar single hander has embarked on a solo round the world attempt at the current record with stands at just over 49 days. Here's a piece from Yachting World about the attempt. As a matter of interest, he left France 2 days ago.

French solo sailor François Gabart set off yesterday [5 Nov] on an attempt to break the single-handed round the world race. He left from his home port of Port-la-Forêt in Brittany to cross the official line between Ushant and The Lizard, speeding away on north-westerlies on his 98ft trimaran MACIF.

This most elusive of records has been held in the past by Ellen MacArthur, Francis Joyon and currently by Thomas Coville, and it stands at an incredible 49d 3h. But it should be remembered that Coville’s record time in December last year in the 105ft trimaran Sobebo took him four attempts, and on one of those, he sailed all the way round the world only to be thwarted by the weather in the final days at sea.
Bettering this record requires intense preparation and a fair bit of luck with the weather, particularly on the return though the South Atlantic.

François Gabart has a lot on his side. MACIF is more technically advanced than Sodebo, a new generation VPLP design launched just over two years ago and now comprehensively trialled and tested. The yacht features manually adjusted L foils and although it is not in the fully foiling league of the newly launched Gitana 17, these foils reduce displacement and increase speed.
This boat also has more sail area and is wider than the preceding generations of big round the world trimarans, which should help Gabart and MACIF negotiate lighter wind

To beat this record, Gabart will have to cross the finish line before 23 December.
“We hope that this weather window will be the right one to pick up the tradewinds and quickly head towards the South Atlantic. It’s a small window. 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. This is also part of the record attempt. This is why we have chosen to leave now. We have to try and we’ll see near Brazil if the weather follows on as we would hope. The timing is really important, since this is a record that’s almost impossible to beat.
“Thomas [Coville] sailed wonderfully and the weather windows followed on from each other perfectly. 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. It has taken nearly two years of work to get to this stage; now, it’s time to getting going!” 

The sailing adage that records are won and lost in the Atlantic almost always holds true.


I am sure there will be more on this amazing feat - or failure - and we will try to keep our readers advised as we learn more.... Regardless of how Mr. Gabart's attempt goes, you have to admire his verve and determination! I for one, hope he does well and breaks the record!

Until next time, 
                                           Fair Winds,
                                               Old Salt

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