Please select your home edition

François Gabart beats the record for distance sailed single-handed in 24 hours

by Trimaran MACIF on 14 Nov 14 November 2017
François Gabart taking the MACIF trimaran into the record books again © François Gabart / Macif

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 818* nautical miles on the clock (record in progress).

* - subject to validation by the WSSRC

In sailing 818 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? 34 knots, i.e. 63 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".

When François Gabart left Brest on Saturday 4 November, at 10:05 AM, he was spared any technical incidents. The first real alert came on Monday, when a mainsail batten broke, forcing him to haul it in and begin a quick repair job which went well. "The batten broke forward (near the mast). Nine centimetres were missing. As there was a little extra astern, I managed to push it forwards. The sailing is not perfectly taut, but it's by no means a bad job. I wanted to avoid sailing with a broken batten as the wind was lifting, as it could have torn the sail and damaged the mast. Often, small do-it-yourself jobs like that don't deteriorate too much if you catch them in time. I have now dealt with the worst of the problem", said the MACIF skipper happily, during a radio session this Tuesday, at the Macif headquarters, in Niort, at which many of the group's employees attended. He also praised the speed at which his team reacted when the damage was identified: "When there's this sort of technical problem, because they know the trimaran so well, they are quicker off the mark than I am, when it comes to finding solutions. It's "Hello Houston, we have a problem!" and back on shore they think of solutions that I work on at sea".

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."

With 2 and a half hours of sleep in 24 hours, between Monday and Tuesday, François Gabart has had little rest. "The business with the mainsail didn't stop me from sleeping, because it didn't last long. It was more because the waves shook me about", he said. But I slept well enough to be properly in form. The rest of the time, I remained lying down, which rested my muscles, especially as I didn't manoeuvre much these last days; just one change of sail". His physical condition is fine, and his mental condition is as good as ever, which will be important when he tackles the Great South, the centrepiece of this round the world.

Follow François Gabart's record attempt on the MACIF trimaran on the map,

Land Rover BAR Cap
REPORT OF THE MONTH SPONSORED BY Report of the Month sponsored by Henri Lloyd Nominate this article for report of the month for your chance to WIN a Land Rover BAR Cap for yourself and the author of the report that receives the most votes. Just fill in the form below!
Your name

Your email address

Why do you like this report?

Related Articles

Dick eyes record books
As hungry peloton battles behind podium in Transat Jacques Vabre Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès on St Michel – Virbac are predicted to complete a commanding victory in the Imoca class of the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre tomorrow (Saturday, November 18) at 21:00 UTC. Posted on 17 Nov
François Gabart enters the Indian Ocean
Records continue to fall on the MACIF trimaran On Thursday, François Gabart entered the Indian Ocean in a record time of 12 days, 22 hours, and 20 minutes. This Friday he is taking advantage of calmer weather to rest up and give his boat a once over. Posted on 17 Nov
Arkema win Multi50 class
Prince de Bretagne rescued in Transat Jacques Vabre There was joy unconfined in a glorious sunrise in the Bay of All Saints as the Franco-Spanish duo of Lalou Roucayrol and Alex Pella crossed line the on their foiling 50ft trimaran, Arkema to win the Transat Jacques Vabre Multi50 class. Posted on 16 Nov
Gabart sets Ouessant - Cape Agulhas record
New reference time on board the MACIF trimaran Less than two days after pulverising his own 24-hour distance record (851 miles), François Gabart crossed the longitude of Cape Agulhas on Thursday morning at 08.25 AM (UTC+1), which marks the entrance to the Indian Ocean. Posted on 16 Nov
Arkema smashes record to win TJV
Lalou Roucayrol and Alex Pella win Multi50 class Lalou Roucayrol (France) and Alex Pella (Spain) on their 50ft trimaran, Arkema have won the Multi50 class of the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre after crossing the finish line in the Bay of All Saints in Salvador de Bahia on Thursday 7:49am UTC. Posted on 16 Nov
Transat Jacques Vabre day 11
Prince de Bretagne dismasts Lalou Roucayrol and his Spanish co-skipper Alex Pella, on Arkema are due to arrive in the Savaldor de Bahia at around 07:00 UTC on Thursday morning to win the Multi50 class of the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre. Posted on 15 Nov
Transat Jacques Vabre day 10
Anglo-Spanish duo retake lead as Doldrums fray nerves As with Sodebo Ultim's victory yesterday, the Anglo-Spanish duo of Phil Sharp and Pablo Santurde on Imerys Clean Energy are also showing in the Class40 that you do not need the biggest budget or the latest boat to be the leader. Posted on 14 Nov
Transat Jacques Vabre day 9
Sodebo Ultim' wins in record time Having match raced each other down the Atlantic after leaving Le Havre last Sunday, Thomas Colville and Jean-Luc Nélias struck a blow for experience by holding off Sébastien Josse and Thomas Rouxel on their newly-launched Maxi Edmond de Rothschild to win. Posted on 13 Nov
Transat Jacques Vabre update
Sodebo Ultim' smashes record to win their class Thomas Colville and Jean-Luc Nélias on their maxi trimaran, Sodebo Ultim' have won the Ultime class of the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre after crossing the finish line in the Bay of All Saints in Salvador de Bahia on Monday at 10:42. Posted on 13 Nov
Transat Jacques Vabre day 8
Coville and Josse heading for record-breaking photo finish After 4,350 miles descending the Atlantic from Le Havre to Salvador de Bahia, the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre could come down to a photo finish between the older warhorse, Sodebo Ultim', and the young stallion, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. Posted on 12 Nov