This is a recent article that I wrote for the sailing website www.sailinganarchy.com. You can see the post here.
I will paste the article below:
They say round-the-world record attempts are often won and lost in the Atlantic, and thus far, Francois Gabart and his 100-foot trimaran MACIF are off to a cracking start and making steady 700+ mile per day progress down the Atlantic. #winning. The objective is Thomas Coville’s less-than-one-year-old solo round-the-world record of 49 days 3 hours 4 minutes onboard Sodebo Ultim. It took Coville no fewer than four attempts, legendary skill, a new whip and a miracle weather window across the Indian (and much of the Southern) Ocean to knock an incredible week-plus off of Francis Joyon’s old record.
To say that his record is going to be tough to break would be an understatement, but if there’s one person on earth who can do it at the moment, it’s Francois Gabart. Everything the kid has touched in his career has turned to gold. With wins in the Vendée Globe, Route du Rhum, Transat Jacques Vabre, setting the 24 hour solo distance, and more, ‘Golden Boy’ Gabart has proven himself to be nearly unbeatable since entering the solo arena; a protege of Desjoyeaux himself.
To say we’re excited to see Francois and team go ‘code green’ just two weeks after officially entering standby mode, and be setting a record pace down the Atlantic is an understatement. Since the moment that he popped up on most people’s radars in the 2010 Barcelona World Race as Michel Desjoyeaux’s co-skipper on Foncia, the sailing world collectively knew that Gabart possessed a rare talent and would one day become a household name. Practically the moment after Gabart’s ultra-impressive victory in his debut Vendée Globe, the team communicated that they wanted to build a maxi-tri and go after solo records with Francois as skipper. So when we see the massive blue, white and yellow trimaran sustaining 30 knots down the Atlantic, it reminds us of a young John John Florence chasing his first world surfing championship.
Years, even decades in the making, it doesn’t seem so much a matter of if, but when Francois will become the first sailor to ever put his name in the books as fastest to solo circumnavigate both a monohull and a multihull. (His monohull record was broken in the last VG). Arguably the best part? Win or lose, we know that Seb Josse onboard Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and Armel le Cleac’h on the very recently launched Banque Populaire IX will be waiting in the wings with brand-new full-foiling monsters ready to attack whatever current record is in place this time next year or the year after.
As for Gabart, the ‘Golden Boy’ is currently some 150-250 miles ahead of his virtual rival Thomas Coville, averaging 30 knots more or less, and surely looking to put as many miles in the bank as he can before getting down south, where Coville made major gains on the reference time. Open up Google Translate and follow along with the MACIF team’s very nicely done team page and tracker, which even shows data such as how many hours (or how few for that matter…) of sleep Gabart has been able to log in the last 24 hours, and how many turns of the winches he’s made while grinding those massive sails up and down.
Gabart and MACIF are currently on a starboard gybe putting in some necessary westing before gybing pack to port and rumbling down on the doldrums. Current models show a compression zone forming between two holes in the ITCZ in about two day’s time. Will Francois be able to thread the needle and hook into his first Southern Ocean low in good standing against Coville’s lofty reference time? Only one way to find out. Follow here, here, here and here.