Solo Transatlantic Record Attempt Underway
Published on July 1st, 2016
(July 2, 2016) – François Gabart (FRA) has cast off to sail the 30-meter MACIF trimaran single-handed in an attempt to beat the North Atlantic crossing record between New York and Lizard Point, held for the last three years by Francis Joyon, who sailed it in 5 days, 2 hours, 56 minutes and 10 seconds.
Gabart left today at 02H 18’ 45” (French time UT+1), and to secure the record he must arrive at Lizard Point before Thursday, July 7 (UT+1) on 05H 14’ 55’’ (French time UT+1). The first 24 hours in an unstable wind flow will be decisive
After having been on standby for a month, Gabart left Brest on Thursday (June 30) for New York, where he found his trimaran waiting for him on Friday morning, along with some of the members of his team. A discussion with his router, Jean-Yves Bernot, confirmed that the window spotted a few days ago was still favourable, and that the start would take place.
The 30-metre trimaran left New York early in the afternoon (local time) to make its way out to the departure line, near the Ambrose Light station. This was an opportunity for the skipper to refamiliarize himself with his boat before crossing the official start line.
François Gabart expects to have a difficult start to the crossing. “The first 24 hours are uncertain, because there’s lots of instability due to the thundery weather off New York. I will need to make the best of opportunities and work round the thunder storms to try and get a good shot at it.”
To achieve this, the skipper is relying on the talent of Jean-Yves Bernot. “He has very valuable experience at record attempts and knows all the problems you can have with this kind of boat.”
What happens next? “After the first 24 hours, everything should go well. If things go as planned, I’ll find myself in a south-westerly ahead of a 200-300 weather front moving east. The challenge will be to succeed in staying ahead of it, because if it catches up with me, I’ll have no wind behind to drive me. I will need to maintain an average speed of 25-30 knots.”
François Gabart is fully aware that to dispossess Francis Joyon of the Atlantic record, he must sail the same way he did to win The Transat Bakerly back in May. “My challenge is to sail well from the start. I will need to quickly find my bearings again, since I haven’t sailed the boat since mid-May. I am like a footballer who hasn’t played for a month and a half and is brought on after 75 minutes of play”.
He will have achieve all this on this first record attempt on board the MACIF trimaran. “The big difference in relation to what I have experienced up until now is that I do not have anyone racing alongside as a bearing. In this case, I’m alone against the clock. It’s all up to me.”
MACIF trimaran 2016 programme
July 13–19: Brest Maritime Festival
September/October: On standby for Mediterranean Record attempt
MACIF trimaran specs
Official name: MACIF
Construction: CDK Technologies (project management), Multiplast (Central hull, mainsheet traveller)
Launch date: 18 August 2015
Length: 30 m
Beam: 21 m
Max draught: 4.5 m
Number of centreboards: 3
Air draught: 35 m
Sail area upwind: 430 m²
Sail area downwind: 650m² (777 sq. yd.)
Source: Service presse trimaran MACIF