François Gabart: a round-the-world record each time
Frenchman François Gabart has smashed the record set a year ago by Thomas Coville by a margin of almost a week, setting a brand-new record at 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 35 seconds. It’s the second circumnavigation of the globe for the French sailor and his second world record.
François Gabart, 34 years old, is the fastest solo sailor in the history of round-the-world sailing. On his trimaran Macif, he notched up incredible average speeds of 27.2 knots (50.4 km/h). Perhaps an even greater sense of the magnitude of this landmark achievement is given by the fact that the French solo sailor was just under two days off the record set with a crew by Francis Joyon and his team: Alex Pella, Bernard Stamm, Gwénolé Gahinet and Sébastien Audigane last January.
The round-the-world record from west to east, classed as the Jules Verne Trophy, begins when boats cross the imaginary starting line between the island of Ouessant in France and the Lizard Lighthouse, UK, to then circumnavigate the globe, putting the capes of Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn to port and the Antarctic to starboard to finish by crossing the Ouessant-Lizard line once more.
Françoissailed his trimaran Macif, a VPLP design, 30 metres in length and with a beam of 21 metres, at blistering average speeds of 27.2 knots (50,4 km/h) to beat the record set by Thomas Coville (49 days 3 hours 4 minutes 28 seconds) along almost all legs of the challenge.
Not only did the French solo sailor log such high average speeds, his peak speeds were up to almost 40 knots – a hair-raising note to hit for a sailor speeding across the oceans alone.
This is the second time Gabart has completed a circumnavigation of the globe and the second time he has set a world record for doing so. In the Vendée Globe 2012/13, on his IMOCA 60 Macif, he won the round-the-world race and set a record for the challenge at 78 days, 2 hours, 16 minutes and 40 seconds. The win helped Gabart to recover from a frustrating withdrawal from the Barcelona World Race 2010/11 with Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia when the pair were forced to drop out due to topmast damage.