On Sunday, December 17 at 2:45 (French time), Francois Gabart, onboard the Ultime Trimaran MACIF, crossed the the finish line between Cape Lizard and Ouessant to successfully end his solo world tour. On his first attempt, at the around-the-world record, Gabart smashed the standing time of 49 days, previously set by Thomas Coville, the skipper of the Sodebo Ultim. MACIF sped through the nearly 28,000 nautical mile journey in just 42 days 16 hours 40 minutes and 35 seconds. He cut more than six days off the record, establishing new benchmarks at nearly every reference point in his path. Gabart’s time is the second fastest overall circumnavigation, second only to that of IDEC Sport, skippered by Francis Joyon, who completed a fully crewed circumnavigation in January for the Jules Verne Trophy, clocking in at 40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes.
During the trip, Gabart broke another record when he racked up 851 nautical miles in a 24 hour period, beating his own world record benchmark of 784 that he previously set onboard MACIF. He also picked up several other benchmark times along the way:
• Ouessant to Cape of Good Hope: 12 days 20 hours 10 minutes
• Tasmania to Cape Horn: 7 days 15 hours 15 minutes
• Cape Horn to the Equator: 6 days 22 hours 15 minutes
On Friday, François Gabart confided that he believed the record was about to be beaten beaten. “I never dreamed of this time. On paper, with the weather, with what I was able to do with this boat, it was possible to break the record, but in the best scenarios, one or two days. It’s pretty amazing,” he explained as he neared the finish.
The record will still need to be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Council, but will likely stand, and be the latest benchmark for sailing around the world.