It would be an understatement to say that everything has gone well on board the MACIF trimaran since she was relaunched on 31 July 2018. After a six-month long refit, with a considerable makeover, “MACIF is no longer the same as she was last year,” stresses François 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 trimaran was first launched, sailing in flight was only beginning. 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 Destination Guadeloupe.
“I am partially in control, but I need to get my bearings again and familiarize myself with trimmings. It’s a change from what I’m used to and I have to accept a different way of sailing and rethink some of the protocols. With these boats you are always learning something new, whether they have foils or not. 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.”
From now until 4 November, the MACIF trimaran will be taken out regularly to confirm some of the systems and François Gabart will also be taking part in two training sessions organized by the Finistère offshore racing centre along with the Gitana, Banque Populaire and Sodebo teams. “Taking the boat out to sail can be complicated, so we are going to make sure that every session is worthwhile.”