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2019 Brest Atlantiques Blasts Off

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  • #31
    Smelling The Barn

    The arrival is precise for the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild! Having managed to place Monday morning in front of a depression in the Azores, the Ultim trimaran led by Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier is now direct route to Brest, where it is expected from the night of Tuesday to Wednesday. Behind, the trimaran MACIF and Actual Leader engage in a battle of every moment.

    Passed this morning in the archipelago of the Azores, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild does not drag on the way, evidenced by the high average speeds that are his since he crossed the islands: 30.5 knots over 4 hours between 8am and 12am, 31.5 knots between 12h and 16h, the snow conditions are obviously ideal for Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier who benefit from a southerly southerly sustained wind of 20 knots allowing them to make from now on a course downwind to the finish line from "Brest Atlantiques", located between Toulinguet Point, in Camaret-sur-Mer, and Pointe Saint-Mathieu, in Plougonvelin.


    Given the speeds displayed by the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, and even if his skippers may be able to lift their foot from here to the tip of Brittany so as not to take reckless risks, they could end up in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, rather than Wednesday morning, after about 28 days and a half of sea. Needless to say, on board, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier must be extremely focused on the smooth running of their trimaran Ultim and on the maritime traffic at the approach of the European coast, they will spend in a few hours the sweetness of the Azores (twenty degrees) to the cold winter of the Bay of Biscay.

    Behind, the heat is still on the agenda for skippers trimaran MACIF (François Gabart / Gwénolé Gahinet) and Actual Leader (Yves Le Blevec / Alex Pella) who, as expected, are slowed down heavily since Monday morning by a ridge anticyclonic. Namely a big band without wind that they are forced to cross to go in turn to look for a depression that will allow them, once the tour of the anticyclone made by the west, to head to Brest.

    Fifty miles separate the two boats in the standings of 16h Monday, the gap could be virtually reduced to nothing by Tuesday, which made Gwénolé Gahinet Sunday: " It gives a lot of stake on this end of race you'll have to be in good shape and not give up, because it's going to be played out at very little. " After more than a month at sea," Brest Atlantic "could end in match racing between the two Ultim .
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


    • #32
      Cammas Closes In


      Here is the word of the board sent this Tuesday, December 3 by Ronan Gladu, media man on Actual Leader.

      "The news of Actual Leader, right in the middle of the North Atlantic! We are exactly halfway between the Canaries and Bermuda. We have finally stopped our progression towards the west, the opposite of Brest ... But our road, full north, still does not bring us closer to the goal! This will happen one day.In the meanwhile, our champions, Yves & Alex, are always on the block, the nose in the bar (wheel!). The atmosphere is as usual, super jovial: the two sailors are never short of anecdotes and stories, I enjoy to accompany them during the shifts.

      This is not for all "The cruise fun": even if they try to rest at best, fatigue, stress, everything accumulates after 28 days of intense racing, without the slightest respite! Me who am "out of quarter" and especially out of intense gym session, I feel it: we are a little emptied! Under these conditions, an error can quickly happen. Personally, after some ridiculous falls inside, I move closer and closer to the hull: I will soon crawl like a GI under barbed wire, to reach the kitchen or toilet, haha!

      This management of exhaustion, Yves & Alex know a ray. They manage, they explain to me: the more powerful the boat, the more the slightest dizziness can take dramatic proportions. An Ultim is overpowering, everything is about ten tons, but you quickly get used to the proportions of the beast. For example, all the tips come back in the cockpit, around the huge winches, then the column. They control the activation of the winches with big buttons on the ground. During a maneuver, it stomped all four feet to select or deselect the six winches: all combinations and speeds (as on a bike pedals) are possible.

      A previous experience, already lived by Alex, to understand the issues: in the middle of the night, the wind changes direction quickly, you wake up your colleague to tuck the mainsail, very heavy, thoroughly on the column: only one winch selected , very low speed; except that another winch was selected in a corner with the choice: halyard, cunningham, foils selected ... And paf, you tear half of the boat. Hot. Especially with a ball like me on board, who goes out pissing in the middle of the night and smashes all the buttons, relaxed: "Oh, sorry! ".

      So when fatigue is present, they put themselves in "idiot proof" mode, slow down, check each movement. And it works, everything is fine on board! For two days we have been climbing a long, long swell from the northwest. On this monstrous boat, high on the water, the waves always look small. But there, feel up and down mountains, it is super impressive. You must have the guts well amarinées! It's a little frustrating for the surfer that I am ... And where do they go, these swell trains, offshore, huh? We have also caught up with Macif: we now see ourselves at the AIS, less than 20 miles away. Yves & Alex are on their way to put pressure on their competitor until the finish! "


      Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, on Tuesday morning 450 miles from Brest, live their last hours at sea, the two skippers out of 24 hours express (30.1 knots average speed, 722 miles traveled). They still benefit from a south-south-west flow of about twenty knots that allows the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, currently at the latitude of La Rochelle, to continue his direct route to Brest, where he should arrive at the end of next night, with maybe a few tackings to finish, since the wind will swing to the east. "It will remottir approaching the French coast and refuse, we will finish in the mid-wind that will become weak for the crossing of the finish line , " commented Franck Cammas on Monday in a video sent by the media man Yann Riou.

      Charles Caudrelier added: "We are in front of the front, with a sea that is not very good, because there is wind in Spain, so we feel this swell face So we go easy, because the only thing that could not win us would be not to finish, we must not break the boat on the pretext that we are impatient to get to Brest » .

      Behind, the MACIF trimaran (François Gabart / Gwénolé Gahinet) and Actual Leader (Yves Le Blevec / Alex Pella) are almost in contact on Tuesday morning (10 miles between the two at 8am), a situation that the skippers foresaw the day before: "On is in an area with not a lot of wind, we stumble into it because it goes ahead with us, explained François Gabart and Jérémie Eloy, media man of MACIF. It is not very pleasant to move towards Brest but we do not really have the choice, because it covers all the Atlantic. We have Actual Leader who arrives from behind with a little more wind, it should last almost 24 hours, I think we will end up not very far from each other. "

      Same analysis on Yves Le Blevec's side who told Ronan Gladu: "We are catching up with the Azores anticyclone, with a wind that is settling down, we are going to a place where there was very little wind there is very little time, it's all soft, and as MACIF is in front of us, it's even softer for him, so mechanically, it catches up. That's fine, there is very little difference between us 2000 miles from the finish. The advantage when it is slow is that it is really relaxing for the equipment and for the sailors, we will take the opportunity to make some small things to be sure that the boat is in perfect condition in the last run when the strong winds will arrive. " And from La Trinité to conclude by providing an arrival in Brest on Saturday.
      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


      • #33
        A Decisive Win For Gitana 17

        It is done ! After 28 days 23 hours 24 minutes and 46 seconds of sea, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, accompanied by the media man Yann Riou, won "Brest Atlantiques" this Wednesday, December 4 at 10:24'46 ''. A first big offshore victory for Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, who will have traveled a total of 17,084 miles, at 24.57 knots of real average speed.

        Leaving Brest on November 5th in muscular conditions, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier found this Wednesday morning the city of Ponant in a "time of young lady" (flat sea, light breeze of east, rising sun), crossing as winners to 10h24'46 '' , after having chained the tackings in the last hours of racing, the finish line of "Brest Atlantiques" after exactly 28 days 23 hours 24 minutes and 46 seconds of sea.

        Having arrived at the helm of Maxi Edmond de Rothschild at the end of last April, the two skippers, already winners in August of the Fastnet, a race that had allowed them to gain confidence in their ability to lead the flying Ultim trimaran, thus offer themselves great victory of prestige on a long-distance event, which, by its format, its duration and its course, had all of a big jump in the unknown, for them and for their playmates.

        At the finish, this victory is indisputable: after taking control of the race on the second night of the sea by jibe the first along the Moroccan coast, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier kept them until their technical stop on 12 November in Salvador de Bahia - a stop that lasted 13 hours and 40 minutes, the time a small team dispatched by the Gitana Team proceeds to the repair of the plane carrying the drift damaged just before Cape Verde. They then took only two days to return to the lead, on November 14 at 20h off Rio, a first place they have not released since. That's about 25 days spent at the outposts on almost 29 in total!

        The recipe for this success ? A boat, launched on July 17, 2017, which, after more than two years of development (second of the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2017, abandonment on the Route du Rhum in November 2018 after the loss of the front the starboard float), is now a stallion for the fleet of "Ultim", the first designed specifically for flying offshore (by the architect Guillaume Verdier and the Gitana Team design office under the responsibility of Pierre Tissier); and two sailors, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, who at the age of 46 and 45 respectively, were able to quickly find the joysticks of their machine, thanks to their experience of the offshore trimaran and their talent (the first was elected Marin year in 2012 and 2013, the second in 2018).

        In addition to their victories on a hull (Solitaire du Figaro once each, Volvo Ocean Race together in 2012 on Groupama 4, as skipper of Dongfeng Race Team in 2018 for Charles Caudrelier), they have indeed sailed a lot and won on three hulls before joining in April the offshore racing team created by Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild in 2000: Franck Cammas in Orma (he has three victories on the Transat Jacques Vabre in the 2000s) then on the Groupama maxi 3 (Jules Verne Trophy crewed then Route du Rhum solo the same year, in 2010), Charles Caudrelier in MOD 70 (success on the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2013, already under the colors of the Gitana Team).

        This experience and their good understanding on board allowed them to reach Maxi Edmond de Rothschild at maximum potential throughout the 17,084 miles actually traveled (the direct route is 13,752 miles), with an impressive average of 24.57. knots (best day on November 18 with 741 miles in 24 hours, 30.9 knots average), which made Franck Cammas say Tuesday, when being overflown by a Navy aircraft: "The oceans shrink with this kind of boat, this race was a good test to test it, we saw what could break, what was tired and things to improve, it was really an interesting race to prepare the world tours ". World tours that are indeed the future horizons of Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and trimarans of the Ultim 32/23 class ...

        The first words of the winners:

        Franck Cammas: "It was a very difficult race, there were ups and downs, but it went really well. With Charles, we were successful, it's great. We fought from beginning to end, we are always happy to have our competitors far behind. Our complicity pays, we bring each one more to another, Charles was really good, I'm delighted, we made a good pair. "

        Charles Caudrelier: "The last hours were long, with not much wind, we waited a bit to arrive at the right time, have a little show and share it not alone. It is beautiful, this coast is sublime, I loved the last night, because we went to all the places where I learned to sail, it was fun to hang out in the corner. I'm in love with this boat, since the first day, I love it, I've never had so much fun, every day, I want to sail on it. I think we can say that it's the most beautiful boat in the world, it's the first one that was designed to fly offshore, it's just magical. "


        Winners of "Brest Atlantiques" after a little less than 29 days at sea, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, accompanied by the media man Yann Riou, were celebrated by the Brestois on their arrival late Wednesday morning at the pontoon of the Recouvrance, quay Malbert. A welcome that both sailors enjoyed, just as they enjoyed this first big offshore victory for the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild.

        What is your feeling after this victory?

        Franck Cammas: It's a pleasure to arrive like this after such an intense race, full of events and adventures. We still worked a lot on the boat for it to advance, it was 30 intense days and a victory at the end with our competitors who are far behind. We benefit today.
        Charles Caudrelier: It's a great satisfaction, a huge happiness for us and for the whole team. When the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was launched in flying mode four years ago, it was very daring, there were difficult moments, but today, we prove that it is the right way and that it is the future, with this exceptional and magical boat that will mark the history of offshore racing.

        Did you give a lot to get this win?

        Franck Cammas:I think we have never softened. From the first hours of racing that were difficult, we were at the helm throughout the Bay of Biscay. The first days were quite intense, with our competitors fighting well around us, with gybes, maneuvers, changes of sails ... Then we had our little technical adventures each on our side at Cape Verde, we had to stop in Bahia, but in the end, we are very happy to have made this stop to leave with a boat in perfect condition which gave us a lot of happiness and pleasure. Then we had other problems in the south, but in the end, we are in front and we stayed fast until the end, it's good to have a boat in this state after 30 days of sea. In recent years, the boats have made a lot of progress in reliability.

        In what state does the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild finally end?

        Charles Caudrelier: It is not 100% of his performance, he was a little slower than we wanted, we did not fly as much as we would have liked, but frankly, he could have done still a few miles by going fast and he is honest. It is already a great success to have done 30 days at this speed, we are very proud to have proved that it could last 30 days. We can still progress, but given the weather we had, it is a very good result. And that's just the beginning…

        How were decisions made on board?

        Franck Cammas: We fight! (laughs) . No, it's good to be two, because we exchange a lot, and even if we do not always agree, it allows to challenge to find the optimal solution. We have a real trust in each other, Charles has been very good, he pushed me sometimes, I also hope to have pushed, to move forward as quickly as possible.
        Charles Caudrelier: In taking stock, I said that we sometimes did not agree, because we still both have a strong enough character, but finally, we often made the right decisions, we have well managed to challenge. And we were not two, we were three with someone who followed us on the ground day and night for 30 days, who also has a big character(their router Marcel Van Triest) , we had good discussions, but constructive.

        What makes this boat above the others?

        Franck Cammas:You must not believe that he is very much above. During the first days, we saw that it was tight, especially with MACIF who had not taken the same option. We all had our share of galleys, we will see how he was disabled, because I think he was well disabled from Rio. What is certain is that over half of the race we were faster. In the sea conditions that we had in the South, in the Forties, this boat was easier, because it is very high on the water, steep and reliable, so that we dare to attack in the conditions difficult. After, in the lighter conditions, in the trade winds, MACIF should have been faster. I also think we played well in the weather, we went to places where, without Marcel on the ground and his satellite images, we would not necessarily have passed, we have shortened our route enormously. We made two extraordinary passes in the Doldrums, and over the last three days we were able to catch a front at five o'clock, which allowed us to make an almost direct route to Brest. This is also what we won, not just the speed of the boat.

        In terms of course, weather, has it been interesting to live?

        Franck Cammas:Yes, in a month of racing, we saw everything that could happen around the earth, we even tasted the fortieths. Even if we did not have long surfs on the big swell, we were still in the cold and in the wind. And on the Atlantic, on the go and return, all the seasons parade, we had all the possible weather situations, so it is necessarily very interesting. And it is quite exhausting on board, because every twelve hours, we enter other weather systems, with different stress each time. It's really a race that is not easy, I found it was one of the hardest I've done, it's even harder than a record, because we have more opponents to challenge us constantly, forcing us to push the boat all the time.

        Charles, you said that you had found the pleasure of sailing, can you tell us more?

        Charles Caudrelier: I did two world tours on a Volvo 65, I had fun on the race, but not much on this boat. Here we are on the best, we talk about Formula 1. And it is true that this boat gave me the taste to sail, I have all the time took pleasure, we discover a lot of things I feel like I'm learning all the time, because it's a new way of sailing, I've never flown before I set foot on this boat. So yes, it's a happiness, I feel good on this boat, safe, and there is still plenty to do, we have plenty of ideas in mind. Franck has 12,000 ideas per second, I think this boat is at the beginning of its evolution and we still have plenty to do.

        A year after the Route du Rhum, "Brest Atlantiques" was a test for the boats of the Ultim 32/23 class, can we say that it went well?

        Franck Cammas: I honestly think it was such a difficult race that seeing the boats come out almost intact and still very fast at the end makes the test successful. And anyway, when we race offshore on prototypes, the challenge is permanent, all boats need time to be developed. This is the normal life, we must not believe that when there are breaks, it is not normal, on the contrary.

        You have won many other races, what place does this victory have in your list?

        Franck Cammas: She has a particular flavor, because it's a return to offshore racing. I'm glad I did not lose my hand, I think I even improved. Just because it's been eight years since I did not do an offshore race did not make me turn my thumbs, far from it. And I think that my sailing experience and the America's Cup gave me another, rather interesting, vision. It's the same for Charles with the Volvo Ocean Race. And I am delighted to have joined a team that, in addition to having a good base with this boat, has the desire, the motivation and the means to develop it. And me, whenever there is the means to develop a boat with an open gauge, I am happy.

        Charles Caudrelier:She holds a beautiful place. What made me want to sail is the Figaro and it is the multihull, Laurent Bourgnon on the Route du Rhum in particular. I have always dreamed of being on a multihull solo, it will come one day, I believe (he must do the Route du Rhum 2022 on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild) . So it's my childhood dream come true, it took me a long time, I had to work a lot to get there, but today, I'm very happy and proud to be here, and I hope to have some more beautiful adventures on this boat.

        The race as seen by Yann Riou (media man of Maxi Edmond de Rothschild):

        "With Franck and Charles, it went really well, we knew each other well, since we've been sailing together for ten years, but they still manage to surprise me sometimes. Compared to the Volvo, it was different, because we have a lot less customers at our disposal, but they really played the game, they were always available when I asked them. Stress is also very different. On the Volvo, there is constant discomfort, because we are always wet, in a closed and closed space in which we can not really sit, it is not very pleasant. On "Brest Atlantiques", it is another form of stress, essentially linked to speed. It vibrates and it moves a lot, it's not always relaxing. There were difficult moments, especially the first days after Rio, life on board was really complicated, I was still ejected from my bunk. There is another form of complexity that is the length of the race, even if the advantage over the Volvo is that as we go much faster, we cross the weather systems and we change atmosphere a lot more quickly, we do not stay a week in the same conditions. An anecdote ? Just before arriving in Cape Town I really wanted to film the South African coast at sunset, I took advantage of a moment when they took a laugh to send the drone because the boat was moving a little slower, and it turned out that I could no longer follow the boat with the drone. Franck then agreed to slow down the boat a little, very little, to catch up.

        " There is another form of complexity that is the length of the race, even if the advantage over the Volvo is that as we go much faster, we cross the weather systems and we change atmosphere a lot more quickly, we do not stay a week in the same conditions. An anecdote ? Just before arriving in Cape Town I really wanted to film the South African coast at sunset, I took advantage of a moment when they took a laugh to send the drone because the boat was moving a little slower, and it turned out that I could no longer follow the boat with the drone. Franck then agreed to slow down the boat a little, very little, to catch up. " There is another form of complexity that is the length of the race, even if the advantage over the Volvo is that as we go much faster, we cross the weather systems and we change atmosphere a lot more quickly, we do not stay a week in the same conditions.

        An anecdote ? Just before arriving in Cape Town I really wanted to film the South African coast at sunset, I took advantage of a moment when they took a laugh to send the drone because the boat was moving a little slower, and it turned out that I could no longer follow the boat with the drone. Franck then agreed to slow down the boat a little, very little, to catch up. " we cross the weather systems and change atmosphere much faster, we do not stay a week in the same conditions. An anecdote ? Just before arriving in Cape Town I really wanted to film the South African coast at sunset, I took advantage of a moment when they took a laugh to send the drone because the boat was moving a little slower, and it turned out that I could no longer follow the boat with the drone. Franck then agreed to slow down the boat a little, very little, to catch up. " we cross the weather systems and change atmosphere much faster, we do not stay a week in the same conditions.
        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


        • #34
          Great race by Cammas and Caudrelier!

          Jules Verne on the horizon?


          • #35
            Macif Takes @nd In Brest Atlantiques

            François Gabart, Gwénolé Gahinet and Jérémie Eloy crossed the finishing line of the Brest Atlantiques in second place, this Saturday morning, 2 days and 21 hours after Edmond-de-Rothschild. The MACIF trimaran spent 31 days and 20 hours at sea to finish the Brest Atlantiques and sail 17,889 miles in the both the north and south Atlantic.

            The MACIF trimaran crew took 31 days, 20 hours, 43 minutes and 50 seconds to complete the 17,889-mile loop in the north and south Atlantic, with two course marks to round in Rio de Janeiro and the Cape sea. These two passage marks turned out to be useful and important for the MACIF team, forced to make two pit stops to make repairs. On four occasions, the MACIF trimaran suffered damage after impacts with unidentified floating objects (UFOs). François Gabart and Gwénolé Gahinet succeeded in winning a second place in this great Atlantic loop with only three of the six appendages working. Here is their story.

            Figures :

            Finish time: 06h 43m 50sec UTC (07h 43m 50sec FR)

            Time: 31d 20h 43min 50s

            Distance: 2d 21h 19min 04s

            Orthodromic: 13752.56nm/17.98kn

            Speed made good: 17889.72nm/23.39kn

            24h Max: 6 Nov 755.89nm/31.5kn

            How do you feel in general, having finished this first Brest Atlantiques?

            François Gabart: “I’m glad to finish! Even though we are always happy at sea, it’s always a pleasure to cross the finishing line, particularly when a contending boat, Actual Leader, is hot on your heels. It’s a relief to win this second place!”

            Did the Macif trimaran suffer a lot?

            F. G. : “There are six appendages on MACIF, between the rudders, centreboards and foils. We are returning to port with three of the appendages undamaged. Up until now, I’ve been fortunate enough to have few impacts. I remember a slight impact in the IMOCA class. The leading edges of the centreboards showed it a little, but I’ve never seen this before: to hit something four times during a race, since we changed the central rudder in Rio thanks to the Banque Populaire team” (see the list of incidents below).

            In short, what broke?

            F. G. :

            “At Cape Verde MACIF’s central rudder broke after it hit a UFO, to the point of needing to be replaced by Banque Populaire’s central rudder. The technical team spend 48 hours adapting it to the MACIF trimaran back in Port-la-Forêt, before taking it to Brazil.

            - Three hours before arriving in Rio, the centreboard was also damaged. We lost 20% of the bottom of the centreboard. This partly explains the length of the stopover, which was longer that we initially planned. The team worked really quickly to replace the central rudder. The team had to dismantle the centreboard, cut it, rebuild it cleanly, but without the T.

            -Back at sea, 24 hours later, in a strong wind and close hauled, the centreboard opened, with the outer skins coming away from the structure on the port side. Without the T, it became hard to foil.

            - After Rio, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, we lost the central rudder again. We decided to do without it, but because we had sailed with a rudder and without a centreboard, this resulted in considerable strain on the steering system. In strong winds the boat became difficult to steer and we broke the connection between the helm and the starboard rudder, which became unusable. We were somewhere near Gough Island, in the middle of the Atlantic, with a port tack to make towards the Cape and we had nothing but the windward rudder. We had to sail in a way that the float would catch the water, so that the rest of the rudder would help us make progress.

            - We stopped at the Cape to repair, but we were unable to replace the central rudder. The only remaining solution was the rudder from Spindrift, but that didn’t fit the timing. After long discussions with the team and with Macif, we believed that MACIF could continue the race. She had been made safe and was sufficiently adaptable for us to be able to set sail with two float rudders and no central rudder, and a delaminated centreboard. We also gave ourselves the option of stopping at Recife, then possibly Cape Verde and the Azores.

            - Along the Namibian coast, shortly after leaving the Cape, the starboard foil hit something. It stayed in place but had a huge hole on the leading edge and a broken rake system (angle adjustment). We experimented something using a rope to adjust it ourselves. We were lucky in our misfortune, in that remaining route to Brest was mostly starboard. We wanted to continue to race to the end with Actual Leader, for second place. In short, we made our way home to Brest with two float rudders and the port foil undamaged. ”

            With 3 boats ranked at the finish out of four, and the 4th on its way, the Brest Atlantiques shows the progress of the Ultim class.

            F. G. : “Yes, it’s not bad! If we had raced a standard transatlantic to Bahia or Rio, we would have had four boats at the finish and, what’s more, they would have covered the distance fairly quickly. But the conditions did not lend themselves to high speeds, with lots of beating upwind, which isn’t ideal for our boats.”

            All the Brest Atlantiques boats hit UFOs. What can be done to limit such collateral damage?

            F. G. : ” The level of damage results from the going faster and slowing down is not the solution. The solution would be to detect these UFOs. We’ve been talking about it for a long time and it’s progressively being implemented. We have a camera on the MACIF trimaran’s masthead. It recorded the whole race. It is not yet operational for detecting containers or marine animals, but we hope that a system will soon be up and running. We probably need to work faster on this issue and to be the best. The role of boat classes like ours or the IMOCA is also to promote technology, clear the way and create things that will be useful to everyone. Of course, there are also creatures in the water, whose place it is to be – I hope I didn’t wound any – and other items that have no business there.”

            A trio is already a crew. As a habitual solo sailor, have you acquired a taste for it?

            F. G. : “I have never concealed my desire to sail with a crew. I have learned an awful lot solo, but I find working with a crew really interesting, what’s more, that’s how we’ve worked on shore for quite a few years. It turns out to be really thought-provoking at sea. Crew-manned races in the class are in the offing and this is highly motivating, particularly as life on board with Gwénolé (Gahinet) and Jérémie (Eloy) is really easy going, despite the bumps and breaks. We had a blast together and progressed. One of the things that makes me really proud is having lived together as a trio so well, when we barely knew each other on shore. It makes me want to do it again! ”

            WHAT THEY SAID

            Gwénolé Gahinet, co-skipper the MACIF trimaran MACIF

            “It was a fabulous experience, a really good time from a human point of view. There was never a word out of place, and everything went smoothly. What we felt on shore before the start, we experienced at sea. It was great. François has a remarkable capacity for accepting what happens and moving on every time a problem comes up, without feeling sorry for himself. There’s very little delay, he moves on to the next thing very quickly and this is a learning curve for me. He also has a fairly unique way of skippering a trimaran like this, at high speed. He has an impressive style of his own. Sharing this as a co-skipper is terrific. He is disciplined, methodical, he thinks a lot and always asks your opinion. This is his strength on shore, but also at sea. We had lots of discussions on a variety of topics, because we both want “to change the world” in our own way. My highlights? Gough Island is a magical inhabited desert island, lost in the middle of nowhere; and then we spent two fabulous days between the Cape and the north of Namibia, in sight of the desert, dunes, cetaceans and birds. Physically, we’re in relatively good shape, but I’m aware that crossing the finishing line has lifted a weight: these boats are a constant stress. It’s good to have finished, and it’s quite relieving. As for the low tech, I really enjoyed it. I’m really pleased with the results. It’s inspiring for many reasons.”

            Jérémie Eloy, MACIF trimaran’s media man

            “Our relationship, which was already great to start with, improved during all the difficulties we encountered. With everything that happened to MACIF, you need a strong connection between the skippers and the media man, otherwise it would be very complicated. The media man is the odd one out really. When you’re making a meal, while the two sailors are fighting to get the boat sailing again, you are going against the grain. Thank goodness we all have a sense of humour, which came in handy! To see François and Gwénolé react like they do when things go wrong, is really awe-inspiring. Imagine yourself at home with a broken washing machine one day, a leak then next day, and your car breaks down after that, and you stay cool, handling the problems selflessly, staying really calm. It was mind-blowing. What might I have missed as a kite surfer? Getting in the water! In the big swell, we had some incredible surfing thrills. You see the water fly by constantly and the speed of the wind. I was like a punished child in a sweet shop. Gough Island was wonderful, particularly as we had experienced a very high winds and a very rough sea for two or three days. This island in the middle of nowhere emerged just as we came out of that rough patch and it was such a relief. And then I got the drone out again along the Namibian coast, in places where I had surfed, and notably, the Skeleton Bay wave, which I discovered through a Google Earth competition. It’s one of the most beautiful waves in the world… I filmed a lot. I’m dying to see and hear all this material. What with the noise and the movements on board, on top of my mountain of tasks every day, I was unable to study my film. But it’s pretty special, that’s for sure…”

            (* Before being a cameraman, the Breton was a professional kite surfer from 2002 to 2009.)

            Jean Bernard Le Boucher, Manager of Sea Operations for the Macif Group

            “The Brest Atlantiques was a difficult race for our sailors. The weather conditions were tough and did not leave the MACIF trimaran unscathed. However, it is reassuring that MACIF is still a high-performance boat that can take on the new generation of Ultims. I would really like to commend François, Gwénolé and Jérémie for their perseverance and their great team spirit throughout this race. The technical team did a remarkable job during the two technical stopovers, quickly combining technical expertise and a wide variety of skills. This second place is therefore a great success! All our employees, representatives and shareholders have followed François and Gwénolé’s strategic choices closely, and thanks to Jérémie, we have been able to watch the whole crossing as it unfolded. Thank you and congratulations! “
            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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