After crossing the Equator in just under 6 days, François Gabart has gained considerable speed since he entered the South Atlantic and now has the Cape of Good Hope in his sights. This Tuesday, the skipper of the MACIF trimaran, who succeeded in solving his mainsail batten problem, even beat his own record for the distance sailed in 24 hours, with 851* nautical miles on the clock.
In sailing 851* miles from Monday to Tuesday afternoon, a figure that may yet change this evening, François Gabart has overtaken the legendary limit.
He pushed the MACIF trimaran hard to avoid being caught in strong winds behind him and in doing so he became the first single-handed sailor to sail a distance of over 800 miles inside 24 hours. He has pulverized his own record of 784 miles, dating back to 3 July 2016. What was his average? 35,4 knots, i.e. 65,5 km/h!
What does he think of this? “I’m delighted. Records are made to be beaten. That’s how you progress. The sensations at these speeds are pretty extraordinary. The boat flies and there’s a blend of power and lightness.”
Not the sort of guy to rest on his laurels, the skipper of the MACIF trimaran immediately added: “It’s not the main goal right now. The idea is to finish this round the world first”.
Macif In the Roaring Forties!
Following a little over ten days of racing, François Gabart, who noticed the temperature had lowered by ten degrees in 24 hours, entered the Roaring Forties at midday. These are the latitudes of the Great South and he will stay with them for some time.
“It’s the start of a long conveyor belt that will take me to the Cape Horn, in places where you really can’t come about. It’s wonderful to be able to sail in places like this at high speed for days on end”. The last routings show him rounding the Cape of Good Hope, the first of three legendary capes, on Thursday morning, setting a time of approximately 12 days.
This is roughly two days less than Thomas Coville, the round the world record holder, who rounded it in 14 days, 04 hours, and 44 minutes last year. When we mention this to François Gabart, he can’t believe it: “I’m a dreamer, but honestly, 12 days? I wouldn’t have dared believe it in my wildest dreams. When we looked at hypotheses at the start, we said that if we reached Good Hope in the same time as Thomas, or even a day later, we would be happy.”
However, the MACIF skipper doesn’t want to get carried away: “It’s great to start with a small lead, because this gives us a better chance in the miles to come. Anything is a plus. Now, we just need to stay lucid. There’s a long way to go yet. I hope the success will stay with us for the route to come.”
*Record in progress.