Compliant for some, non-compliant for others. François Gabart’s new boat, the trimaran SVR-Lazartigue, is at the center of a controversy. And, as it stands, the navigator could not line up at the start of the Route du rhum, a solo transatlantic sailing race, the start of which will be given on November 6.
It is not the direction of the race which opposes the participation of the one who finished second in the previous edition of the Route du rhum, in 2018, and is the holder of the solo round the world record. He is in fact ” blocked “as he put it by the Ultim 32/23 class, which refuses him membership, arguing that his new boat does not respect the gauge set by the class – “safety rule” as it happens.
The Ultim 32/23 class, created in 2018, is led by the owners of the boats it includes (currently three), maxi-trimarans that cannot exceed 32 meters in length and whose latest models are flying, thanks to their foils.
“I am sad for our sport to arrive at this kind of blockage and discussion, it is a not very sporting imbroglio”declared to AFP François Gabart, who explains that there was nevertheless, at the end of 2011, “expertise mandated by the Ultim class” to rule on the conformity of his boat and that this, carried out by three independent experts, ” supported our interpretation. “A measurer and a member of the French Sailing Federation also confirmed” this opinion, he adds. “However, the Ultim class refused. »
“We want to participate in the Route du rhum, we are going to register”
Four years ago, during the previous edition, it was not compulsory to be affiliated to the Ultim class whereas the Route du rhum offered an Ultime category (all multihulls over 65 feet). François Gabart, with his previous boat (Macif), was a member of the Ultim class.
“It was the Route du rhum that created the Ultimate category. This year, we set a limit, seeing an interest in everyone uniting in the class. It makes sense to strengthen the class for their round the world trip in 2023, we would never have thought that François’ boat would not be in the gauge »explains Hervé Favre, project manager of the Route du rhum.
François Gabart can register for the Route du rhum (deadline March 31), but he can only take the start if he presents, one month before November 6, a gauge conformity certificate, issued by the class Ultimate. “We want to participate in the Route du rhum, we are going to register”assures the skipper.