Final stage for record-seeking Gabart
Published on December 10th, 2017
(December 10, 2017; Day 37, 20:00 FR) – François Gabart has now crossed the equator and continues to extend his lead over the singlehanded round the world record. The skipper of the 30m MACIF trimaran covered 633.7 nm in the past 24 hours and is now 2137.39 nm ahead of the record.
One week after passing the longitude of Cape horn, once again Gabart has clocked up an extraordinary time at the equator, which he crossed today at 11:35 (UTC+1), 36 days, 1 hour and 30 minutes after the start in Ouessant. Since beginning this quest on November 4, Gabart has averaged 27.3 knots and traveled 23826.04 nm.
Gabart now has a lead of 5 days, 13 hours and 23 minutes over the passage time of the current singlehanded round the world record holder, Thomas Coville, who entered the northern hemisphere after 41 days, 14 hours and 53 minutes. This performance represents the second best time outright, with crew and singlehanded combined, on the Ouessant-Equator course in the return direction. Only Francis Joyon and his five crewmen on IDEC Sport have achieved better to date (35 days, 4 hours and 09 minutes).
Although Gabart was tossed about after rounding Cape Horn in very severe weather conditions due to a low off the Argentinian coast, his sail up the South Atlantic has been exceptional, since he has achieved the best time outright, crewed and singlehanded combined, on the Cape Horn-Equator section, with a performance of 06 days, 22 hours and 15 minutes, improving the reference time held up until then by the crew of Banque Populaire V, in the Jules Verne Trophy 2011-2012, in 7 days, 4 hours and 27 minutes.
In so doing, he adds a new intermediary singlehanded Equator-Equator record to his list of performances, of 30 days, 4 hours and 45 minutes (subject to confirmation by the WSSRC), held up until now by Thomas Coville, with 35 days, 21 hours and 39 minutes.
This means that as he approaches the last section of this round the world, Gabart seems to be in a good position to reach Ouessant before December 23 at 13:09 (UTC+1), the final date and time to beat the singlehanded round the world record held by Thomas Coville.
However, the round the world is not over yet, as he still must sail through the doldrums, which is followed by a strong-looking trade wind and a high-pressure area in the Azores to go round. All this with a boat and a sailor, who, despite the difficulties encountered, remain focussed on their original goal of reaching Ouessant as fast as possible.
The key news of the round the world record
Date of departure: Saturday November 4, at 10:05 (French time, UTC+1)
Ouessant-Equator passage time: 05 d 20 h 45 min
Ouessant-Good Hope passage time: 11 d 20 h 10 min
Ouessant-Cape Agulhas passage time: 11 d 22 h 20 min
Ouessant-Cape Leeuwin passage time: 19 d 14 h 10 min
Ouessant-Cape Horn passage time: 29 d 03 h 15 min
Ouessant-Equator return: 36 d 01 h and 30 min
Equator-Equator passage time: 30 d 04 h and 45 min (new single-handed record)
Cape Horn-Equator passage time: 06 d 22 h and 15 min (new reference time outright)
24-hour distance record: 851 miles (Nov 14, 2017)
Only three sailors to date (Francis Joyon, Ellen MacArthur, Thomas Coville) have ever held the record. After his start on November 4, to beat the record of 49 days, 3 hours, 4 minutes and 28 seconds held by Coville since December 25, 2016, Gabart will need to cross the finishing line (between Créac’h lighthouse, in Ouessant (Ushant), and the Lizard Point lighthouse in Cornwall, England) before 13.09 on December 23 (French time, UTC+1).