How different it is to sail with a crew on board the 30m MACIF trimaran

Since the MACIF trimaran was launched on 18 March, François Gabart has done a lot of solo-training to prepare his round the world record attempt at the end of the year. As of mid-May, he will switch to “crew” mode, with his sights set on The Bridge, a transatlantic race between St Nazaire and New York, in which he will compete with five sailors introduced below.

Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / Macif

François Gabart is used to sailing mostly single- or double-handed. Below he explains just how different it is to sail with a crew on board the MACIF trimaran.

Manoeuvring is much faster

“The first difference, of course, is the physical aspect. Manoeuvring is at least four times faster with a crew than it is single-handed. This is because there are four of us on the winches, furling, hauling in, lowering and hoisting the sails, plus one crew member at the bow and one at the helm. This changes everything!”

Someone is always on deck, so there is greater safety and peace of mind

“Sailing with a crew is much less stressful. When you sail single-handed, you are constantly under pressure and you must always listen to your boat and stay alert, even when you’re resting. However, when you’re with a crew, with two crew members always on deck working the sheets and at the helm, it is a whole lot safer.”


Pushing the boundaries

“Naturally, with a crew, you’re more often on the offensive, you change the sails more frequently and you steer 98% of the time. This means that you can really sail on the edge, on one float, and you can reach really interesting speeds, while there is a greater level of safety. This is what makes The Bridge interesting; we are halfway between the launch of the MACIF trimaran and the Route du Rhum 2018. We have already made progress and it is going to be very interesting to push the boat harder, to test her limits and to reach her full potential. You can only do this with a crew.”

A different role for François Gabart

“In The Bridge, I won’t stand watch; I will be in charge of sailing but also coordination. This crew leader role, trying to get everyone to work together effectively and cheerfully is right up my street!  I’ve been doing this on shore for several years now and it will be interesting to adapt this to the sea. Of course, I will also mix with the crew: I have my pointers on board, established through constantly being on deck for two years. I don’t want that to change. With the single-handed round the world ahead of me at the end of the year, it is essential that I keep these sensations.”

Aerial image bank of the Maxi Trimaran Ultim MACIF, skipper Francois Gabart, off Les Glenans, brittany, west France, on march 29, 2016 – Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / MACIF

MACIF trimaran identity sheet

Official name: MACIF
Architects: VLP
Construction: CDK Technologies (project management), Multiplast (Central hull, mainsheet traveller)
Launch date: 18 August 2015
LOA : 30.00 m
Beam: 21.00 m
Max draught: 4.50m
Number of centreboards: 3
Air draught: 35 m
Upwind sail area: 430 m²
Downwind sail area: 650 m²

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