Gabart’s solo achieve­ment is one for the ages

SAIL - - March 2018 Vol 49, Issue 3 -

Gabart smashes the round-the-word record; the right jury call in the Syd­ney Ho­bart

It’s al­most be­come cliché, ex­press­ing amaze­ment at the lat­est feat of off­shore sail­ing achieved by yet an­other in­trepid French­man. But how else are sail­ing fans to re­act to the lat­est solo round-the-world record of 42 days 16 hours and 40 min­utes set by François Gabart aboard the maxi-tri Macif this past win­ter?

To put Gabart’s ac­com­plish­ment in per­spec­tive, the time to beat was 49 days 3 hours 7 min­utes, a mark set by coun­try­man Thomas Coville aboard the maxi-tri Sodebo only a year ear­lier. Coville, in turn, had beaten the 2004 record set by yet an­other French­man, Fran­cis Joyon, by a lit­tle over eight days. Be­fore that, the record as set by Bri­tish sailor Ellen MacArthur in 2005 was 71 days 14 hours 18 min­utes. In other words, not only did Gabart beat the pre­vi­ous record by nearly a week, but in a lit­tle over a decade, the record has now been low­ered by al­most a month.

Or to put it an­other way: Gabart also beat the crewed round-the-world record of 45 days 13 hours and 42 min­utes that was set by Banque Pop­u­laire V in 2012 and came within two days of beat­ing the ex­ist­ing record of 40 days 23 hours and 30 min­utes set by IDEC 3 in early 2017. Along the way, Gabart also set a new solo 24-hour solo dis­tance record of 851 miles. His av­er­age speed dur­ing the roughly 28,000-mile voy­age was 27 knots.

“I’m quite sim­ply ex­hausted,” Gabart said shortly after his ar­rival in Oues­sant, France. “It’s been re­ally hard for weeks. I’m sore all over. It hurts when I raise my arms, but I’m hold­ing out be­cause of the adren­a­line and the eu­pho­ria.”

For­tu­nately, in spite of this fa­tigue, and de­spite hav­ing now se­cured a place among the pan­theon of some of the great­est sailors of all time, Gabart, who also won the 2012-13 Vendée Globe, is hardly ready to pack it in. “I be­lieve that we can still raise the level of the game and go much faster,” he was quoted as say­ing, be­fore he was even fully rested from this most re­cent voy­age. “That’s re­ally in­spir­ing…There’s plenty more to do and to imag­ine, to sail fast on these boats.”

For more on Gabart’s record- set­ting voy­age for the ages, visit macif­courseaularge.com.

Gabart peeks out from be­hind his boat’s head­sail (left); ex­hausted but happy after ar­riv­ing back home (be­low)

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