Ultimes – Round the World in 50 Days?

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In a fascinating article in the April 2015 edition of Seahorse magazine, Jocelyn Bleriot gives us some insight into Francois Gabart’s new trimaran Macif.

Designed from the outset as a single-handed long distance racer, Macif differs from her cousins Spindrift 2 and Banque Pop who were heavily modified to allow solo sailing.

Macif will be a bit smaller and much lighter than Banque Pop with less righting moment. However, the designers believe Gabart will be able to utilize more of the power the boat develops as she will be optimized for solo work.


In the 2010 Rhoute Du Rhum, Franck Cammas was only able to use 65% of Groupama 3’s potential since she was not originally designed for single handing and simply developed enough power to overwhelm the skipper. It would be interesting to know how much of Spindrift2’s  potential Yann Guichard could use on the last Rhoute du Rhum. Macif will be different – 2 to 3 tonnes lighter than Groupama 3 and more easily handled by one man. Though with less righting moment and driven hard by fearless Gabart, they better have the UpSideUp system dialed in.

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Incorporating the latest hydro and aero dynamic advances, the team believes that Francis Joyon’s solo round the marble record is vulnerable. Computer models show a Round the World voyage can be completed by Gabart and the new Macif in an incredible 52 to 53 days given the right weather window.

Apparently, a few others feel new boats incorporating the latest design philosophy and technology put Joyon’s record (and other single-handed records) up for grabs.

Banque Populaire and Sodebo are both coughing up the cash to build new Ultimate Trimarans for Armel Le Cleac’h and Thomas Coville. If you throw in Spindrift 2, the old Sodebo and Joyon in Banque Pop (Lending Club) its possible we could see 6 giant trimarans race around planet Ocean as early as 2017.

Stay tuned…..


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