How to get out of a seemingly inextricable mess? Seven months from the departure of the Rum Route (November 6), mythical sailing race between Saint-Malo and Guadeloupe, the differences seem deep between the sailor François Gabart and the Ultim class, which brings together the giant flying trimarans, the showcase of ocean regattas. The skipper, supported by the architecture studio that designed his trimaran, ensures that his SVR-Lazartigue boat complies with all safety standards, which have been validated by independent experts. “Our ship has been certified as compliant by competent and impartial authorities,” Francois Gabart says. However, the other shipowners asked him to review his plans and appealed to the International Federation. 28th March, Another 3 skippers of this class as well as the rest of the shipowners have come out of their silencedenouncing the attitude “hard-liner” by Francois Gabart. The latter answers them on franceinfo.
franceinfo : In he has the impression that the situation is totally blocked on both sides. Is there a way out?
Francois Gabart: I am an optimist by nature, I claim it and I always will claim it. So yes, there is definitely a solution. There are no problems, only solutions. Is it extremely clean, clear, easy and right in front of us? Probably not. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here. However, I would like to remind you that today, our ship has been certified as compliant by competent and impartial authorities.
“The solution remains to enforce the right in the fairest, most impartial and transparent way possible. That is what we are asking for and this is what needs to be done to get out of this situation.”Francois Gabart
Are you ready to meet certain Ultim class expectations on some accessories for your boat?
We are completely open to exchanges and discussions and to the law, simply. Obviously, we are willing to do it. We have been doing it for the last few months. We did a lot of work this winter on the boat, which went way beyond the rules in terms of safety and in consultation with the French Sailing Federation. Obviously, we are ready to go even further. That doesn’t make sense. We are absolutely not standing still. On the contrary, we are in the desire to propose, to advance, to modify our ship. Instead, we will do so with a fairly unbiased interpretation of the rules, as the competent authorities have done, these last words in recent years.
Contrary to what we are used to hearing, other browsers have thrown very harsh words at you: “incomprehensible behavior”, “the dice are skewed”, “a position in the style of Djokovic to put everyone before the fait accompli”. Chow did you react to
With some misunderstanding. Because when people say that I put people in front of a fait accompli, it’s just not true. We have been perfectly transparent about the construction of this ship from the beginning. For years the French Sailing Federation, the Ultim class have had access to our boat. And then ? Of course it affects me because it is my sport that is affected. It is a sport that I love, it is ocean regattas.
“It is the very spirit of our sport that is affected and I find it terrible. This problem goes much further. It could call into question the very principle of solo ocean racing, simply put.”Francois Gabart
It is something quite extraordinary in France for years, which has made me dream since I was a child, which has made many sailors and sailing enthusiasts who follow our boats dream. And today, we are questioning the fundamentals of this sport and that seems terrible to me.
It is the very image of you sailors that seems tarnished: friends, solidarity… is a rupture being created?
I don’t know if there is a break and obviously I hope that things can be rebuilt. But yes, I myself am hurt and saddened by the behaviors and manipulations that may have taken place in recent months. I find it all unsportsmanlike, I just don’t find it beautiful. But I hope all this is resolved soon. With the entire team of the SVR-Lazartigue trimaran we are working to find a solution, I want to say that for the good of all and that we can quickly move on to things that we are perhaps more used to doing: being on the water, sailing, doing Sound.
You mention the possibility of taking over the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Are you ready to go this far?
We have the right to claim to sail, to do my job, to participate in the Rum Route. I hope with all my heart that we don’t have to go that far. But if it has to be done, I am determined and my partner is also determined to assert our rights in all instances that allow us to decide. We want to find upstream solutions and once again simply enforce the rights that have already been issued by the competent authorities.
Will you be at the start of the Rum Route in Saint-Malo on November 6?
In any case, I will do my best to be.