Route du Rhum: the owner of François Gabart’s boat takes legal action to be able to take the start

Will leave, won’t leave? It’s not the trade winds that are lacking to get the immense trimaran of the 2014 Route du Rhum champion off the ground, but a technical endorsement of the Ultim class. (the category of the largest multihulls). In question ? Potential non-compliance with security standards. François Gabart, skipper of the trimaran, and Didier Tabary, owner of the boat, announced, Thursday, May 12, to file a legal action to be able to align with the start of the Route du Rhum 2022, on November 6 in Saint-Malo.

If the deadline for registrations for the famous ocean race was set for March 31, François Gabart still does not appear on the starting list. After six months of fruitless negotiations between the Ultim class and the Trimaran SVR-Lazartigue, the owner of the boat seized the Paris court. A last resort to settle the dispute.

“Today, the discretionary refusal of the Class to honor its commitments knowingly harms the preparation of the Trimaran and its skipper, and goes against all sporting fairness since the preparation for the Route du Rhum is already well under way. The resulting damage is considerable”underlines the press release.

François Gabart’s trimaran came second in the Transat Jacques-Vabre in November 2021. The skipper was able to enter the famous race thanks to an exemption, the organizers having registered him not in class but in category, which allows amenities. This is not the case for the Route du Rhum.

“The members of the Class, direct competitors of the Trimaran, (…) are now trying to exploit the sailing institution that is World Sailing with the aim of removing the Trimaran SVR-Lazartigue from the Route du Rhum 2022 and future races open to Ultims”, adds the constructor. At the heart of the dispute: the sinking of the cockpit by François Gabart, embedded in the central hull which makes it gain in aerodynamics. If the rule assumes that the latter remains on deck, the other competitors judge him below.

“We showed a lot of transparency from the first stages of the construction of the boat. (…) I hope to take part in the Route du Rhum among the hundred boats expected, in the best spirit of the race”, commented on his side François Gabart. The case will be dealt with in summary proceedings, with accelerated deadlines, and could find a first outcome before the summer.

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