In little under a month François Gabart will be back at the helm of his MACIF trimaran, after a substantial optimization refit. “I’m impatient to see the result of all this teamwork,” he said. The launch is planned for the end of July, which will give him three months to prepare for the big goal of the season, the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe.
After a lot of sailing the seas single-handed in 2017, François Gabart has spent most of his time with his team and in his offices in Port-la-Forêt in the last six months. The reason was simple: there was lots to do with, primarily, the transformation of the current MACIF trimaran to achieve a better flight mode.
“Right from the start of the boats design, back in 2013, we factored in this development project. We already knew that we would need to make considerable changes during the winter refit of 2017-2018. We really got down to thinking about it in spring 2017, with most of the design work being carried out in the following months,” he explains.
This is a design phase in which he has been heavily involved: “It’s important to be there to make sure that the developments match your requirements, when you need to push your boat to the limit at sea,” confirms François Gabart, adding this about the over 6-month long refit: “The goal was to give MACIF a boost after more than two years of sailing during which we mainly worked on making her more reliable, successfully, since there was no major damage during the round the world. In this instance, we focused on performance and particularly flight, which is currently an important factor”.
The design work carried out with the MerConcept design office, the VPLP architects and GSea Design, specialized in structural calculations, has led to the construction of new appendages, foils and rudders, but also to a substantial number of details (hydrodynamics, new autopilot, improvement of ergonomics, etc.), which will improve MACIF’s performance: “The 2018 version of the MACIF trimaran is very different to the one we have all known up until now. We believe and we hope that this work will help us compete with other boats in the Route du Rhum, particularly the more recent ones. It will be an exciting race, because this will be the first time that our boats meet.”