It’s time! Time to deliver the MACIF trimaran from the south of Brittany to the north of Brittany.
Time to set sail for the magnificent surroundings of a route du Rhum that looks as though it will be epic and exciting. You can bet it will be the fastest ever raced in the Ultime category. Time also to compete and make good use of all the work carried out in the last few months.
François Gabart is also ready. Of that we can be sure. After weeks of preparation and a few days of rest to recharge his batteries, the MACIF skipper is in absolutely wonderful form. “It’s the right time to feel good and I’m in great form. I have recovered from the exhaustion of preparing the boat. Physically, I’m all geared to go. I sailed early this week again, but just to work on details and volume. When you get to this stage, you really want to stop racing. As the days go by you get keener to start racing, because you’ve been preparing for that and you just want to enjoy it.”
“In all my life, I have never gained so much speed in such a short time. It’s amazing!”
François Gabart will present himself as the titleholder in the docks outside the locks of St Malo. Winner of the Route du Rhum 2014 in the Imoca class, the MACIF skipper has changed his boat, ending the wonderful monohull story to convert to the magic world of multihulls. “Learning and making progress are what keeps me going. In recent years, I learned to sail on a multihull. The boat has been developed through a complete refit, and we have also made incredible progress between the date was launched and today. What is the result? Honestly, in all my life, I have never gained as much speed in such a short time. It’s amazing!” In our era, these boats can often increase their speed by 5 knots in 10 sessions sailing.
This is an incredible source of motivation!”
The group training sessions last week in the south of Brittany also spurred on the skipper. We had some superb training sessions around the offshore racing centre in Finistère with Sodebo, Banque-Populaire, and Edmond-de-Rothschild. The boats are super-fast, particularly Gitana. It’s cool. The sessions helped us rethink quite a few things on MACIF in relation to trimmings. It’s so exciting. Following the competition makes you question a lot of things and I’m quite sure that I will try out new things during the race. This very high level of racing fuels a dynamic of progress. There is nothing more exciting!
A very open Rhum
Can you feel the enthusiasm? Fuelled by the progress of his team, stimulated by that of the competition, François Gabart believes that performance is to be found everywhere. “Clearly, there are now some certainties, but you have to be careful of them. The progress of Edmond-de-Rothschild offers serious competition, but I know that Armel Le Cléac’h has made huge progress and that even though he may be a little below par (after capsizing this spring), despite this he will be formidable competition in the coming days and months. The progress in foiling boats means that there is a noticeable gap between these boats of older generations, but all it takes is a little rough weather and a few big waves to change the game. Not to mention the inevitable technical problems and idiocies to avoid… All this makes this Route du Rhum an incredibly exciting and very open race.”
Ten days waiting on the benches
When François reaches St Malo, he will no longer be able to sail. He will take advantage of the time to prepare himself physically, aiming for intensity rather than volume. He will then give way to external requests and meet up with Macif group employees, partners, the press and the general public. “I love doing this!” If he is to serenely enjoy these moments, which are part of offshore racing, he will have to manage them and not lose focus. However, such exchanges also fuel him with lots of positive energy, which is a good thing. You give and you take, that’s the magic of St Malo.
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by Trimaran MACIF