The MACIF trimaran returned to sea on Wednesday 8 March, after a 4-month winter refit. In addition to checking all the parts of the boat, it mainly involved improving ergonomics. The most visible area of work carried out by the technical team focused on completely protecting the cockpit.
Being able to sail safely in dry surroundings is essential for the first single-handed round the world, which Francois Gabart is preparing to sail towards the end of the year. “Last year, we partially closed-off the cockpit. We have taken this idea further this year, with a porthole and composite bulkhead system that provides the helmsman with better. The cockpit is now completely closed. I want to be able to pilot the boat without worrying about my own safety”, explains Francois, who is satisfied with the result. This new feature must now be tested at sea!
Although the single-handed round the world record attempt is the main goal this season, Francois Gabart and Macif are also preparing for The Bridge. This race with crew will see four maxi-trimarans (Actual, Idec Sport, MACIF and Sodebo) race alongside the giant Queen Mary 2 liner, between St. Nazaire and New York (start 25 June). “The line-up will be splendid. We will be racing against Idec, which has just sailed round the world in 41 days with crew, and Sodebo, which did it in 49 days single-handed – two boats that have left their hallmark on the history of sailing”, says Francois gleefully.
For the MACIF skipper this Transat will be a new chance to further his knowledge of his 30 metre trimaran. “Right from the start, with Macif, I’ve had the following approach: each racing event serves as preparation for the next. The Bridge will prepare our round the world, which in turn will prepare the Route du Rhum 2018. Our dynamic is always to learn more and perform through progress. We do this to balance out the short-term and the long-term.”