Sailing: François Gabart pauses

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For a skipper, what could be more normal than setting sail … This Tuesday morning, during a press conference with MACIF, whose colors he wears, François Gabart, 36, announced his decision to take a break from his sailing career.

“I saw him coming for some time,” he breathes. Navigating in solo solo is demanding, it does not just require turning the cranks but being 100% 24 hours a day mentally and physically. There is also a lot of upstream engagement. I feel the fatigue accumulated in recent years. It is not new but I have the impression that I am recovering more slowly and I was not able to take the start of The Transat (Editor’s note: he holds the title, next May 10 in Brest) at the level of performance I would like. “

In early January, the solo round-the-world record holder, who won almost everything, confided his doubts to his partner since 2009, with whom he was involved until 2024. “This is not trivial, cowardly he. Making a mistake on the water does not lose a point or a game. You expose yourself and you also hire a boat that costs a lot of money. I was reaching a limit. We did not want to take risks for both the boat and the guy. “

In a year of transition before a new trimaran launched in 2021, there was no question of the MACIF missing the last launch of its current boat, which will be sold after The Transat. The helm was therefore entrusted to Pascal Bidégorry.

“Go after François, you will have to be good!” “

“When François called me to tell me that he had won four years ago and that I should not break the boat, I had to park my car on the side,” smiles the Basque. It is an honor and an extraordinary opportunity to sail on this boat. But to get past François, you have to be good! “

Even if he puts his career on pause, Gabart does not go on vacation either. “The idea is to be present alongside Pascal and the whole team, to be on the ground during the race. I will be there in a different way and this will allow me to step back, to see my job from a different perspective to better prepare for the future. We have ambitious plans for the future. “

For the next few months, Gabart is not afraid of being bored. “There is a world tour planned for the end of next year,” he smiles. The best thing that can happen to me is to be itchy with the urge to sail. If I’m lacking, that’s fine, we’ll cultivate that lack… ”

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