Route du Rhum 2022 “Time to play!” François Gabart starts a month before the start

Steamed the legal soap opera on meeting his ultimate, François Gabart is in a hurry: splitting the waves of the Atlantic and rubbing shoulders with the other contenders to win a 2nd route du rhum.

“It’s still a sport so let’s play!“, the 39-year-old sailor reacts. The legal soap opera hushed over meeting his ultimate, François Gabart is in a hurry: splitting the waves of the Atlantic and rubbing shoulders with other competitors to win a 2nd Route du Rum.
François Gabart looks radiant in training on his bright blue Ultim SVB-Lazartigue in front of Concarneau.

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

Francois Gabart, skipper

Because François Gabart has found himself in unusual non-sports sections in recent months due to a dispute over compliance with his ultim, which would deviate from an international safety rule. If all accounts in the Ultim class are not settled, an exemption granted at the end of July allows him to compete in the 12th edition of the “Queen of the Transatlantic”.

In the small world of sailing, when we talk about the dispute, one sentence falls out: “It’s a shame to have come this far”. “We’ll be eighth at the start and the best will win and then we’ll draw conclusions at the finish, but we won’t go into that topic any further.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).

Proof that all is not yet peaceful, François Gabart has not been able to train with Sodebo, Banque Pop or Gitana. “Of course it’s not ideal. It’s obvious that group training is part of the way I work,” admits François Gabart. Another difficulty for the Charentean skipper is that for the first time he will be leading a major race alone on the SVR-Lazartigue, which started in July 2021.

We are still getting to know each other, my boat is still new and will be made even more reliable. I have a good feeling that he has amazing potential and that he can be very fast. I almost managed to hit 50 knots and averaged 42/43 knots over several hours.

Francois Gabart, skipper

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

Will it have less breakage during this edition? “We’re bound to have small issues, the idea is to have some that we can fix that don’t result in loss of performance.” “These foils (which allow you to fly, ed.) we know better, they have traveled miles. There are cameras, detection systems that allow you to better understand the environment in which you are and so the break can avoid,” he says , of his maxi trimaran, which has a steering wheel in a kind of cockpit that he can hermetically close, giving a touch of aeronautics and motorsport to offshore racing.

On November 6th, in Saint-Malo, in this city “that marked naval history”, François Gabart will take part alongside 137 boats in a race that he likens to the middle distance. “The sprint would be Olympic sailing, the marathon or the ultratrail would be around the world, that’s where the rum is at 1,500 or 3,000 m … where it hurts,” he eagerly starts the fight.

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