Route du rhum 2022 “Time to play!” launches François Gabart one month before the start

The legal soap opera about the obedience of his muffled Ultim, François Gabart is in a hurry: break the Atlantic waves and join the other competitors to win a 2nd Route du Rhum.

“It’s still a sport, so let’s play!“reacts the 39-year-old sailor. The legal telenovela on the obedience of his Ultim on the sly, François Gabart is in a hurry: to divide the waves of the Atlantic and join other competitors to win a 2nd Route du Rum.
On his gleaming blue Ultim SVB-Lazartigue off Concarneau, François Gabart looks radiant during training.

You have to be able to handle machines that require a lot of energy, you have to be in good shape and I am: I feel good a month from the start

Francois Gabart, captain

Because, in recent months, François Gabart has found himself in unusual non-sporting traits due to a dispute over the compliance of his Ultim, which would derogate from an international safety standard. If all Ultim class accounts are not paid, a waiver obtained at the end of July allows him to participate in the 12th edition of the “Queen of the Ocean”.

In the small world of sailing a phrase comes out when it comes to controversy: “It’s a pity we came to this”. “We will be eight on the starting line and the best will win and then we will draw conclusions at the finish line, but we will not go into this topic anymore.slips Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire), one of the favorites with Gabart, Charles Caudrelier (Edmond de Rothschild), Yves Le Blevec (Actual) and Thomas Coville (Sodebo).

As proof that not everything is peaceful yet, François Gabart was unable to train with Sodebo, Banque pop or Gitana. “Obviously, it’s not ideal. It is obvious that group training is part of my way of working,” admits François Gabart. Another difficulty for the Charente skipper, will be the first time he will lead a big regatta alone on SVR-Lazartigue, launched in July 2021.

We are still getting to know each other, my boat is still recent and is still becoming more reliable. I have a feeling that it has crazy potential and that it can be very fast. I almost managed to reach 50 knots and an average of 42/43 knots in several hours.

Francois Gabart, captain

This speed could allow him to write a new line in the schedule of a race he knows well, after winning it on an Imoca in 2014 and finishing second in the previous edition, after more than seven days of navigation. . In 2018, the race was marked by a breathtaking final, Francis Joyon beat him by … seven minutes. François Gabart’s team belatedly revealed that the skipper, then on Macif, had suffered extensive damage, including
from the first days it lost two appendages, foil and rudder.

Will it have fewer breaks during this edition? “We will inevitably have small problems, the idea is to have some that we can fix and that do not lead to loss of performance.” “These foils (which allow you to fly, ed) we know them best, they have traveled miles. There are cameras, detection systems that allow you to better understand the environment in which you are and thus avoid breaking it”, he says, of the its maxi trimaran, where there is a steering wheel in a kind of cockpit that can close hermetically, giving an air of aviation and motorsport to offshore racing.

On 6 November, from Saint-Malo, in this city “which has marked maritime history”, François Gabart will embark together with 137 boats in a regatta that compares to middle distance. “The sprint would be the Olympic sailing, the marathon or the ultra trail would be around the world, there the Rum is at 1,500 or 3,000 m … Where it hurts”, launches the man eager to get into battle.

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