Fast is Getting Faster

Published on September 12th, 2018

It was in 2017 when François Gabart, at just 34 years of age, obliterated the singlehanded round the world record… in his first attempt. Gabart reduced the previous record by over six days, setting new standard of 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds.

From November 4 to December 17, Gabart and his 30m MACIF trimaran covered 27,859.7 miles at an average speed of 27.2 knots. His top speed was 39.2 knots, and his top speed over a 24 hour period was 31.8 knots.

And now we learn MACIF just got faster. After a six-month long refit, the trimaran was relaunched (July 31, 2018) and has been reborn.

“MACIF is no longer the same as she was last year,” stresses Gabart, “but she is also exactly as we imagined her in theory. The results of the studies carried out over a period of two years seem a little mad on paper, but in reality, she aligns with all the figures. It’s incredibly exciting and fun to discover a new boat.”

With foils being studied all over the world since they dominated the America’s Cup, there have been some alterations to the MACIF trimaran’s foils.

“When MACIF was first launched, sailing in flight was only beginning,” explained Gabart. “The composites were questioned and in terms of geometry we were still learning things. Since then foils have been studied very closely and the ones we use today generally offer high performance.”

Bigger and thinner, with better developed geometry, they fulfil their role, allowing the boat to fly faster and higher, helped by the centreboard change and the float’s rudders.

The ‘cabin’ in which the skipper shelters has been lowered and canvas has been used to optimize aerodynamics. “We have undertaken a few full and partial modifications on the hydraulics and electronics. They cannot be seen with the naked eye, but contribute a good deal to performance.”

Since the MACIF trimaran was launched again, she has already sailed nearly 3000 miles, to break her in, but also to get François into a single-handed sailing mindset, so that he can plan the upcoming Route du Rhum, the 3,542nm solo race starting November 4 from France to Guadeloupe

“With these boats you are always learning something new, whether they have foils or not,” admits Gabart. “As for getting up to speed in terms of solo sailing, I am manoeuvring alone, but I am constantly accompanied by a member of the technical team, who works on performance and the boat’s safety, especially since there are a lot of people on the water on the coast in the summer.”

While MACIF is faster, whether it is fast enough will soon be learned. Sébastien Josse launched in 2017 the new 32m Edmond de Rothschild trimaran was designed form the get-go to fly offshore, and the Route du Rhum will have four other Ultime trimarans that are time tested. Game on!

Source: Windreport’ Agency

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