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Thread: MACIF Enters The Starting Blocks Sunday

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    Ridges And Ship Traffic Between Macif And Goal



    TRACKER

    In the Azores spring

    This morning, while he had started from the east in his race to get closer to the Azores yesterday, François Gabart jibed on this 40th day of racing to get away from it a little bit. And, since nothing is quite clear on the water, tactical sense and opportunistic instinct will guide the steps of the trimaran MACIF over the next two days.
    Point race in brief:

    On the 40th day of the race, the MACIF trimaran is 2743 miles ahead of the record
    At noon, there were 1267 miles to go
    Return of speed (29 knots) after a day at 22.9 knots
    Dorsal to cross equal strategic shot coming

    The trajectory is pretty: Small inside hook to fix the anticyclonic defense, big outside hook and primer of acceleration to get closer to the end by running very north. The trimaran MACIF advanced this morning to about twenty knots along the sideline, but there are some defenses to erase. The middle of the afternoon should sound the death knell of the disturbing elements bickering downwind of Flores. François will then chained a few small hooks to get rid of a small area without wind before a tilting 120 ° tunes him tender port tack.

    And this is where uncertainty reigns. Only one thing is recorded: you must go around the ridge to Ouessant quickly. Yes but where ? How? Coach Bernot considers two options that do not lock in a choice. Because, in these corners of the Atlantic, positions have moved quickly. Should the MACIF trimaran be sailed on the optimal northern route, up to 50 ° N, without going too far from the center of the field in case the dorsal ridge collapses rapidly, or is it already necessary to aim at the poles? putting the south in the path, even if it starts from the north if it turns vinegar. But whatever the choice of the routing team and François, arrival in Ouessant should be Sunday morning. Routing is fun: they are both accurate and disagree. According to European models and under the elements of the day, trimaran MACIF flatten in the end at 3:48. According to the Americans, the touchdown would be for 7:21.

    As in the first three days of racing, as twice offshore Brazil, François has to deal with commercial shipping, which densifies the game. The sites marinetraffic.com and vesselfinder.com, for example, allow to have a impressive global vision of maritime traffic. Fortunately, these transhumance planetary are organized, governed by a number of precepts, and armed with some essential technological tools. Starting with the AIS, an automatic identification system that shows on the maps each big boat, with its tonnage, speed and route. An alarm prevents collision routes. The trimaran MACIF is also equipped with a radar ... as well as the eyes of François Gabart. "The AIS is a system that works so well that even boaters are equipped today," says Antoine Gautier, head of the design office. But in those days when we get closer to the coast, there are also the two eyes of the skipper who are an excellent system ... provided the visibility is correct and he does not sleep ... "

    What hangs in the water remains the domain of the hazard, the imponderable, the shot of step of bowl. Systems have been well tested. There are radars, able to detect what is dragging on the surface, but they still need to be optimized before considering the most complex file: the connection to the navigation center. The solidarity of seafarers is also organized, however. Effective in French territorial areas, the site of the AVURNAV maritime prefecture - urgent warning to mariners - allows to launch alerts when a crew detects floating objects. We know, among other things, that a buoy is missing in Morlaix Bay and that there are submarine drops of targets off La Rochelle. Not quite in François's race, but it's always good to know.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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    Under 650 To Finish!



    Friday, December 15, 2017
    The detour of the tour

    While François Gabart begins his last curved line towards Ouessant, the end of a round the world announced around 43 days, the conditions of navigation are probably the most versatile of this planetary journey: facing a warm front before a dorsal border, the trimaran MACIF has never been so slow since its first passage of the Doldrums! But the situation should gradually improve for an arrival always scheduled Sunday morning ...
    Point race in brief:

    Two days before the finish, François Gabart struggles in small airs
    The crossing of the line is always scheduled for Sunday
    This impromptu break will allow the skipper to make a final multihull check-up




    To believe that the beginnings of a final are easier than a decision to leave would be deception: we gamble less to launch than to land! To leave is to discover. To arrive is to stop. Stop running after time, stop projecting yourself, stop getting mad, stop caring for yourself, stop doing scenarios, stop thinking about others, stop complaining about nature and stop to amaze, stop digging the bottom of oneself. So when the very principle of a speed record imposes a crazy rhythm, see the needles turn a short distance from the goal after nearly a month and a half of concentration becomes an obsession. The anguish of the goalkeeper at the time of the penalty. The scrolling things of life. The return on a whole tour. The putting into perspective. Reflection on meaning Even if the result looks great!




    Journey after the rain

    But sailing around the world is made of this series of systems, of this succession of depressions, of this ability to transit from one configuration to another, of this time-consuming management, of this physical and mental surpassing. Leaving Ouessant on November 4 at 10:05, François Gabart remained one of the only ones to believe that the opening was possible and the probable turn: the North Atlantic was presented correctly, without more, and the object of being faster than his predecessor Thomas Coville over the equator was far from over. But you have to know "lose a minnow to catch a salmon" said the Flemish philosopher Janus Gruter: the decision to try remains the assets of the only skipper.
    So when this tour ends on a slowdown, a zest of slow, a pinch of impatience, a hint of frustration, must we remember that it is more beautiful to discover on the horizon the shredded coast of the sea. island of the end of Finistere at the dawn of a forty-third day that the brush of the lighthouse of Créac'h in the dark twilight on a sea dismounted! Will not the strongest image be this earth, the only one of this planetary revolution that François Gabart will remember? A moment of solitude after these six weeks of naval battle against a single stopwatch ... For what will be the result of this trip around the world? A flood of questions, a swell of crowd, a wave of enthusiasm, a foam of interrogations and spray of applause ... After a turn, it's a world. After the sea, another universe. After the tremors, a shock!


    TRACKER




    The unbearable lightness of the air

    But by then, the object remains the same: reduce time. Do not be submerged by a piece of anticyclone planted in front of the finish. Take another turn, but around a backbone. Quite simply, a bean without wind has settled between two depressions, one that has just swept the Iroise Sea severely, the other which is digging in the icy waters of Labrador. So it's in the heart of the Atlantic night, around 6:30 this Friday, that the "cruising speed" trimaran MACIF has suddenly dropped more than thirty knots to less than four ... A buffet stop expected and should not continue but the fact remains that after aligning more than 27 knots average since the departure of Ushant, end up mired in a barometric swamp, has acid flavors.

    The air of nothing, the era of nothingness, the area without wind: when the calm comes to invite and the sea is still shaken by the angry jolts left in the wake of a bad disturbance, not only the multihull baguenaude from one float to another, but in addition the loner does not know which breeze to dedicate. What to do when the meter approaches the zero, that the pilot is mixed brushes, that the sails beat pound and that the computer remains silent in front of this unforeseen? Prudence is a mother of safety says the proverb and "the first step towards enjoyment is patience" but is it time for philosophical reflections when the deep night sets its lead screed? François Gabart has no alternative but to wait until the solar star darts its rays on this incongruous spectacle of an albatross posed on a half-smoothed ocean: as long as a breath does not deign to snort, the The bird, despite its size, can not fly.





    This night emptying should therefore be diluted at the local time (around 10:00 am French time) and the trimaran MACIF will then be able to cross a warm front before starting the bypass of a ridge. This will force him to "climb" to the northeast almost to the latitude of Ireland (to 51 ° North) next night before sliding west to the Celtic Sea this Saturday . And it is only Sunday that the Channel will be able to open its doors for a last rush towards Ouessant: an arrival by the North by crossing perpendicularly the rails of cargo which manage the maritime traffic between North sea and Atlantic ... But this train of The senator should only halt this planetary rotation by a few tenths of knots. Is not the point that the link between the loner, his boat and the sea is undeniable? With a score that even the most did not dare to imagine ... Whatever the outcome, this trick has many finery.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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    François Gabart expected at the finishing line on Sunday


    TRACKER



    François Gabart will soon be relieved! The MACIF trimaran's skipper left the last really windy area of his round the world. He is now making headway behind a ridge of high pressure, which is heading towards Brittany at the same as him. He should cross the finishing line of his single-handed round the world on Sunday morning, following roughly 43 days at sea, setting a new record. Contacted on Friday afternoon, François Gabart spoke about his frame of mind so close to the finishing line.



    LEAD OVER THOMAS COVILLE'S RECORD (Sodebo Ultim)

    2,735 MILES

    How have you spent the last few hours on board the MACIF trimaran?


    François Gabart: "I was sailing under the J1 on a fairly fast port tack until midnight. Then we entered a small warm front heading into a west-northwest wind, with a southeast wind from the other side. The idea was to cross it, but it had an area of flat calm in the middle and since the front was moving with me and not very fast, the crossing was a little tedious, particularly as we were getting hit by high seas on the nose. The boat was getting battered a lot and I found it quite difficult to make progress. I finally succeeded in finding a small way out of there. I'm now sailing under the J1 and unreefed mainsail in fairly pleasant conditions."



    Is the temperature beginning to get colder?



    FG: "Yes, it got colder yesterday afternoon. I put my socks, boots and bonnet back on, but for the moment it's still very enjoyable. It's 15 degrees, which is the ideal temperature for sailing."



    Can you tell us what you're expecting for the end of this round the world?



    FG: "I'm just behind a ridge of high pressure. This is the last obstacle between me and Brest. It's blocking my way a little, but, fortunately, it's not static and is making its way towards Brittany. I will find it difficult to pass, so the challenge is to try and gain as much time as I can in this ridge by going round it by the north where there's still some wind. So, I will have a very northerly course, probably passing not that far off Ireland. Then, in the Celtic Sea, between Fastnet and England, I hope that the wind will pick up, which will allow me to finish with a little air. As the finishing line is between Lizard Point and Ouessant, I may cross the finishing line closer to Lizard Point. I'll check this with the weather centre as and when the wind returns on Saturday night. For the moment, the ETA for the finish is early Sunday morning at around 5-6 am (6-7 am in France)."



    Do you not find it difficult to stay concentrated when the finish is so close?



    FG: "It's true that it's quite unusual. This morning, I was still fairly tense because of the heavy air, but now I know that the weather is going to be quite calm until the end, I'd like to say to myself that I've done the hardest bit. But there's still a bit to go, so I must remain focussed. There will be traffic problems, of course, as I get close to Ireland. I hope most people will be using their AIS. As for me, I will be constantly on the lookout. So, obviously, I'm a little tense, but the sailing sensations are very pleasant. I'm practically on one float now, in a 20-22 knot wind. She's running at 25-30 knots in weather similar to when I set out. When I left Ouessant just over 40 days ago, I had the sheet in one hand and quite a few uncertainties ahead, but now I'm feeling good inside. I'm going to try to take the last hours as they come and, most of all, to enjoy them."



    Do you have any idea of what's waiting for you in Brest?



    FG: "No, I've no idea. I think, all the same, that I'll ask someone to send me a quick email to find out what's planned for the days that follow the finish, so that I know where I'm sleeping when I go to Paris...But for the rest, I'll let my team deal with that. I trust them implicitly to look after me when the time comes. It's my job to bring the boat to the finishing line as quickly as possible. I'm focussing on that."



    Are you apprehending being back on shore?



    FG: "Naturally, I'm impatient to be back on shore to see my loved ones, but yes, there's a little apprehension. It's mostly due to my fairly advanced state of fatigue. I know that there will be lots of people wanting to talk to me and that the change will be quite difficult. It's not that easy to handle, because you don't want to disappoint people who come to welcome you, but at the same time, you don't know if you'll have the energy it takes."





    If you arrive on Sunday morning, your time will be about 43 days. Did you ever imagine a time like this, even in your wildest dreams?



    FG: "Honestly? No, I never dreamed of a time like this. On paper, with the weather and with what I am capable of doing with this boat, it was very difficult to beat the record, but possible. However, the best scenarios gave a lead of one or two days. It's quite extraordinary. I can't get my head round it really, but at the same time, I say to myself that this is often the way: you are often surprised by records."



    >> The key news of the round the world record



    Date of departure: Saturday 4 November, at 10:05 (French time, UTC+1)



    Number of miles sailed since the start: 27,398 miles (44,092 km)

    Number of miles still to sail: 415 miles (667 km)



    Ouessant-Equator passage time: 05 d 20 h 45 min

    Ouessant-Good Hope passage time: 11 d 20 h 10 min (new reference time outright)

    Ouessant-Cape Agulhas passage time: 11 d 22 h 20 min (new reference time outright)

    Ouessant-Cape Leeuwin passage time: 19 d 14 h 10 min (new reference time outright)

    Ouessant-Cape Horn passage time: 29 d 03 h 15 min (new reference time outright)

    Ouessant-Equator return: 36 d 01 h and 30 min (new reference time outright)



    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)
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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    François Gabart smashes the single-handed round the world record!

    François Gabart smashes the single-handed round the world record!





    Credit: François Gabart

    François Gabart, who left Ouessant on 4 November 10:05 (UTC+1), crossed the finishing line of his solo round the world, located between Lizard Point and Ouessant, at 02:45 (French time, UTC+1) this 17 December. For his first attempt, the MACIF trimaran skipper establishes a new single-handed round the world record of 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds, improving the time taken by Thomas Coville on 25 December 2016 (49 days, 3 hours, 4 minutes and 28 seconds) by 6 days, 10 hours, 23 minutes and 53 seconds. His time is the second time outright in a round the world, crewed and single-handed combined. Only IDEC Sport (Francis Joyon) succeeded in achieving a better time in the Jules Verne Trophy (40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds). The MACIF trimaran will have covered a true distance of 27,859.7 miles, with a true average over this course of 27.2 knots.









    François Gabart

    During the round the world, François Gabart left a lasting impression on everyone by beating the reference times one by one on his way. The most significant ones were the distance sailed single-handed in 24 hours (851 miles between 13 and 14 November, against 784 miles, which was his own personal best), but also with crew and single-handed combined, on the Ouessant-Cape of Good Hope section (12 days, 20 hours and 10 minutes, the Pacific Ocean crossing (Tasmania to Cape Horn in 7 days, 15 hours and 15 minutes) and Cape Horn-equator (6 days, 22 hours and 15 minutes).

    Questioned on Friday, François Gabart told us, when talking about the record he was about beat, "I never dreamed of a time like this. On paper, with the weather and with what I am capable of doing with this boat, it was possible to beat the record, but in the best scenarios only by one or two days. It's quite extraordinary." The new holder of the round the world record is expected this morning in Brest. The MACIF trimaran will be moored at the Malbert quay.



    (* subject to confirmation by the WSSRC)

    >> The key news of the round the world record



    Date of departure: Saturday 4 November, 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 (new reference time outright)

    Ouessant-Cape Agulhas passage time: 11 d 22 h 20 min (new reference time outright)

    Ouessant-Cape Leeuwin passage time: 19 d 14 h 10 min (new reference time outright)

    Ouessant-Cape Horn passage time: 29 d 03 h 15 min (new reference time outright)

    Ouessant-Equator return: 36 d 01 h and 30 min (new reference time outright)



    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 (14/11/2017)
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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    Gabart: We Can Go Faster Still!



    François Gabart:

    "We can still raise the level of the game

    and go much faster"


    46 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds is the new single-handed round the world record, held by François Gabart as of Sunday 17 December, 02:45 (UTC+1). The skipper of the MACIF trimaran was welcomed triumphantly in Brest this morning and despite his advanced state of fatigue, he spent a long time talking about his remarkable exploit.











    What is your frame of mind as you finish this round the world?



    François Gabart: "I'm quite simply exhausted and that doesn't date back to last night. 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."



    Droves of admirers turned out to see you in Brest to show you their support. Was this a boost?



    FG: "I have been literally swept of my feet by the emotion, by their presence, which helped me keep going to the end. To see all these people, all their energy, makes you feel so good, after seeing so few people in the last 42 days. It's a little hard at first. It takes you by surprise, but it's wonderful. I am a solitary sailor. It doesn't bother me to cast off for a few days alone, but I think that deep down I'm a social creature and I need people, so this makes me very happy."



    Over these last 42 days and 16 hours at sea, you were occasionally overwhelmed by your emotions, is this because achieving such a performance is particularly hard?



    FG: "It's mostly related to the fact that during a record attempt there are things that you accept saying and sharing that you wouldn't say during a race. Naturally, there are some intense feelings, but the difference is more in the way you communicate them. I was able to share everything as it changed nothing in relation to the time to be beaten, since, in a way, the competition wasn't going anywhere. It's great to sail round the world, and it's all the more beautiful when you interact with lots of people, who experience what you are living by proxy."



    How did it feel to be competing against a fixed time and not other racers?



    FG: "I really wanted to do this and I found it quite fascinating, because, during a record attempt, you have to push your search for sensations and your understanding of your boat much further. "Another thing that's different is the way you experience the preparation. With all the training sessions organised by the Finistère Centre when I was preparing a race, it was easy to know where I was and my weak points, so as to progress. However, when you prepare this record attempt, you don't know where to begin as you are starting with a blank page. This is an interesting approach. Last of all, there's the start which is unique. Only you decide, and, believe it or not, it's not easy, particularly as the choice is a strategic one. It's powerful from a personal point of view. You can't prepare yourself mentally in the way you would a race start. You don't know whether you are leaving on 22 October or 15 January. It's all very vague. In a few hours, you see the outline of something and it's action stations for the start of a round the world. This is much more powerful than what happens at the start of races. These are new life experiences and that's also what I was looking for and what I got."



    Were you frightened during this round the world?


    FG: "Yes, I was frightened when I saw the iceberg in the South. That took me by surprise. Even though you deal with it, in the hours that follow you say to yourself: "What do you do when it gets dark 4 hours later?" You react passively and fatalistically. You can't do anything. What's more, you're in the screaming sixties (60° S), an area of the world where there's nothing if you hit something. If a boat was to come, it would arrive three weeks later. So, I was glad to get away and at the same time, after the event, now that I'm here, I'm delighted I saw an iceberg. It's amazing. I always thought that seeing icebergs would be one of the things on my life's to-do-list, but I was thinking of doing this much later, when I retire, with a good boat in South Georgia. I hadn't anticipated an iceberg during a record attempt at 35 knots. Fortunately, it turned out okay, but it added to the depth of feeling."



    In what condition is the MACIF trimaran?



    FG: "From what I've seen, the boat finished in really good condition. We are going to check her out, but I didn't see anything serious. On the face of it, everything withstood the weather, even though she had one hell of a battering. It was very violent. The boat was built wonderfully well. Up until this year, we regularly had small problems. I think that we needed two years to test her reliability with a view to a round the world. It was a wise decision to take this two-year approach. I'm really proud of this boat and the work of the team. It's just fantastic, as we started out with a blank page. Four years ago, the specifications were to sail round the world as fast as possible single-handed, with a budget and a launch date, full stop. We couldn't really go in all directions. We could have built a 50-foot long catamaran. Together with the team we thought things through a great deal. I think we made the right choices. I work with a wonderful team, as deeply devoted and committed as ever, and extremely meticulous. I share a collective pride with the whole team and with Macif.



    Before the start, you said that this record was going to be difficult to beat. You have beaten it by 6 days. Were you being too modest?



    FG: "I got it a little wrong, but I still believe that this record was difficult to beat. It needed three things to succeed: a good boat, good sailing and a little success. Perhaps there was only one window to set off on this year, on 4 November between 8 and 11 am. This window was not necessarily brilliant at the start, but it turned out to be and I was guided by my lucky star. After that, I had to keep up the pace and I'm really proud of my circumnavigation. I didn't make too many mistakes. At the same time, I believe that we can still raise the level of the game and go much faster. And that's really inspiring. I am reserving this challenge for another time. There's plenty more to do and to imagine, to sail fast on these boats."



    >> The MACIF trimaran round the world in figures

    Date of departure: Saturday 4 November, 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 (new reference time outright)

    Ouessant-Cape Agulhas passage time: 11 d 22 h 20 min (new reference time outright)

    Ouessant-Cape Leeuwin passage time: 19 d 14 h 10 min (new reference time outright)

    Ouessant-Cape Horn passage time: 29 d 03 h 15 min (new reference time outright)

    Ouessant-Equator return: 36 d 01 h and 30 min (new reference time outright)



    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 (14/11/2017)


    Solo round the world 43 days without seeing land 46 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds is the new single-handed round the world record set by François Gabart this Sunday. This incredible feat is the result of three things: a succession of favourable weather conditions, a perfectly-tuned and really fast boat, and a skipper who succeeded in pushing his boundaries. We look back over six weeks of this talented skipper’s life at sea.

    Week 1: keeping the pace at the equator

    The MACIF trimaran cast off from Ouessant to take on the round the world record challenge, on Saturday 4 November at 10:05 am, in a 20 knot north-westerly and a practicable sea. The day before, when he left Port-la-Forêt, his home port, François Gabart said the following about the challenge awaiting him: “A time comes when you have to leave. It’s a record that’s almost impossible to beat. Thomas (Coville) sailed wonderfully and I will try to come as close as possible to his performance and if I can I’ll do better. I am going to do everything in my power to achieve this.” Less than a week later, on Friday 10 November, after slowing down slightly in the Doldrums, the MACIF trimaran entered the southern hemisphere in 5 days, 20 hours and 45 minutes, 3 hours and 34 minutes behind Sodebo’s passage time one year earlier. The skipper was happy with this time. “We said that if we had a weather window enabling us to get below the Equator in 6 days, then it was time to leave. I am a little disappointed at not beating the record at the equator, especially as I believed it was possible, but that’s life and there’s something bigger and better to follow on from this...” This slight disappointment at not doing better than Sodebo was very quickly put into perspective by encouraging prospects in the South Atlantic: “The really good news, is that for the moment, everything looks like it will follow on well as far as South Africa, and this is really important, because this is something you have no control over when you leave”.


    Week 2: Outright record on entering the Indian Ocean

    The second week went like a dream for François Gabart. Although he had to carry out his first repair job, because of a damaged mainsail batten, the South Atlantic gate opened wide before him and his trimaran. Not only did this enable him to charge ahead in a south-easterly trade wind, enabling him to smash the 24-hour distance record on Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 November (distance of 851 miles as against 784 in June 2016), at an average speed of 35.4, but it meant that he could cut straight through to the Cape of Good Hope, as the St. Helena anticyclone was in a favourable position further east. The result was that on Thursday 16 November, at 08:25, he entered the Indian Ocean, after 12 days, 22 hours, and 20 minutes (12 days, 20 hours and 10 minutes at the Cape of Good Hope), i.e. the best time outright, with crew and single-handed combined, on the Ouessant-Cape Agulhas section. He now had a lead of 2 days and 6 hours on Thomas Coville’s passage time. Looking back at his fast descent of the South Atlantic the next day, the skipper of the MACIF trimaran explained, “It is one of the best ocean racing experiences that I have ever had, with incredible sensations in terms of speed, and in fact, everything that I love.” However, François Gabart didn’t get carried away and remained humble as he tackled the breathtaking desert of the Great South: “It’s a little like when you are a kid and you are at the top of a slide. You lurch forward and you’re off, and there’s no going back. It feels like South Africa is at a higher altitude than Cape Horn and that I will slide all the way down to Cape Horn. This said, I know that there will be a few bumps along the way”.


    Week 3: zigzagging in the Indian Ocean

    The few small bumps François Gabart feared on the Great South slide turned up as he entered the Indian Ocean. First he
    had to slow down to let a violent low pressure area pass, coming down from the Mozambique channel to take up position
    behind him. He quickly saw that the low blocking his path was running out of steam and, after discussing this with the
    weather team managed by Jean-Yves Bernot, he decided to dip south in search of a new wind from the west. After
    sailing down to a latitude of 54°50 South, below the Kerguelen Islands, he quickly set a more northerly course after
    seeing an area of ice around the Island of Heard. This big zigzag forced him to lengthen his course considerably.
    However, the returning high speeds made up for this with another 800 miles in 24 hours and his rounding the longitude
    of Cape Leeuwin, southwest of Australia, on Friday 24 November at 0:15, after 19 days, 14 hours and 10 minutes at sea.
    Questioned about his lead of 1 ½ days over the time clocked up by Thomas Coville, François Gabart replied: “I can only
    be happy. I would have signed up immediately at the idea of being here with this passage time. I had the time to see it
    coming at the Cape of Good and it was a real relief, but this time, I’m focused on how to make it to the south and carry
    out the small repair jobs that need doing aboard. I don’t have much time to dwell on my timing.” At this stage of the
    round the world, the MACIF trimaran and its skipper were beginning to show the first signs of wear and tear, with a
    severe battering in rough seas preventing the sailor from resting and resulting in damage to the water maker and a
    broken J2 furling system (flat round part to the bow of the boat, used to secure the bottom of the J2 fore sail) that
    needed repairing. First episode of the furling system series

    Week 4: iceberg in sight and high speeds

    After entering the Pacific on Saturday 25 November at 22:00, after 21 ½ days at sea, François Gabart crossed the
    International Date Line on Monday 27 November. It was a very unusual day during this round the world, because he also
    unexpectedly encountered an iceberg. “It was quite surreal”. I knew that I was very far down south and that the water
    was getting cold, but the satellite had not detected any large icebergs in this area, so I was fairly confident. I was just
    gybing, and as I came out of my gybe I saw the iceberg. It wasn’t that worrying. It was even quite beautiful, but you feel
    that it could be a potential danger. When you see one, it’s a bit like in cartoons. You imagine there could be fifty. I
    experienced a few difficult moments». Luckily for him, it was the last one he would see, since he then decided to follow a
    more northerly route in the Pacific Ocean. At the end of the fourth week, as the MACIF trimaran was racking up
    impressive averages of 30-35 knots and Cape Horn was nearly in sight, the skipper could barely conceal his desire to
    leave the Great South. “I really love the South Seas. It’s magnificent to be sailing here, but it’s always the same. When
    you get to the end, you’re happy to leave. I know that it’s far from over, that the Atlantic will be full of pitfalls, but Cape
    Horn is a very symbolic place, and I really can’t wait to be there.”


    Week 5: tossed about!

    On rounding Cape Horn on Sunday 3 December at 13:20, after 29 days, 3 hours and 15 minutes, which is a lead over
    Thomas Coville’s time of 2 days, 8 hours and 15 minutes, François Gabart could not hide how happy he felt: “I find it
    hard to talk about as it’s a little beyond me. I would never have dreamed of reaching Cape Horn in this time. When I
    crossed the longitude, I had the J2 with one reef. I had to slacken the reef. I turned up the volume of the music in the
    cockpit. When I started the manoeuvre, I felt really good. It was wonderful with the music, and in fact, I ended up in
    tears. It’s so good to have got this far”. The MACIF trimaran’s skipper set the Pacific crossing record outright (Tasmania-
    Cape Horn) in 7 days, 15 hours and 15 minutes; better than the 7 days, 21 hours,13 minutes and 31 seconds by IDEC
    Sport, with six men on board, one year earlier! A very fast climb of the South Atlantic followed on from this, until a
    severe gale, on Tuesday 5 December in a rough sea, really tossed the boat and the sailor about. “It’s true that the South
    Atlantic is one of the hardest areas. The low-pressure system resulted in very severe weather. I think that the wind was
    probably the strongest I have had, with a speed of over 50 knots. In addition, I was unable to furl my J2 (because of the
    J2 furling system problem that had broken again) and this wasn’t very comfortable”, he said at the end of this fifth week,
    as he approached the equator and inexorably increased the lead over Thomas Coville. It was enough to lift the sailor’s
    spirits, despite his latent fatigue. “I’m very lucky to have got here in such good time. Thinking about that feels good.
    When you see that you’re getting close to the finish with a really good time, it drives you on. I have never been so close
    to the finish!”


    Week 6: over the equator with the finish in sight

    6 days, 22 hours and 15 minutes after crossing the Cape Horn (new outright record on the Cape Horn-equator section,
    single-handed and with crew combined), François Gabart returned to the northern hemisphere on Sunday 10 December,
    which he had left 30 days, 4 hours and 45 minutes earlier. His lead over Thomas Coville had increased to 5 days, 13
    hours and 23 minutes. Immediately afterwards, he crossed the Doldrums without slowing down at all, before meeting
    really rough conditions in a strong east-northeast trade wind and a cross sea, which tested him severely. Although, up
    until now, François Gabart admitted being “pretty lucky” from a weather point of view, the next stage and end of his
    round the world were set to be much slower, with a high pressure ridge forming off the Bay of Biscay, which left him no
    other option but to sit behind it and wait until it moved towards Brittany. “It’s a little frustrating as I want to sail fast right
    up until the finish”, he said on Tuesday 12 December. Admittedly, this is not the goal, but I would have liked to have
    finished with a time close to that of Francis Joyon with his crew (40 days, 23 hours, and 30 minutes last January during
    the Jules Verne Trophy, Ed.) That’s not going to happen with the weather this way, but at the same time, it’s probably
    best to finish in calmer weather and make sure I get there.” On Friday 15 December, he was a relaxed sailor, at one with
    his boat, and with the last morning gale behind him he was planning the finish, ready to let his team take care of things
    and still disbelieving of the incredible exploit he was about to complete. “I never dreamed of a time like this. On paper,
    with the weather and with what I am capable of doing with this boat, it was possible to beat the record, but in the best
    scenarios only by one or two days. It's quite extraordinary.” Extraordinary for an exceptional sailor...
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  8. #58
    Still hard to comprehend!

    A fantastic voyage if ever there was one!

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