Les Sables, France (4E Sports) – Macif skipper Francois Gabart has broken the 24-hour solo monohull distance record and at the same time, regained lead in the Vendee Globe round-the-world race.
Gabart covered 545.3 miles over 24 hours from Dec. 9 to Dec. 10, eclipsing the record of rival Jean-Pierre Dick, set only ten days ago when he made 515.6 miles on board Virbac Paprec 3.
The new best 24-hours distance, which needs to be ratified by the World Speed Sailing Records Council, also surpassed the two-handed record of Dick and Loick Peyron at 506.333 miles set in the last Barcelona World Race.
Gabart’s record run gave him the overall lead back, ahead of compatriot Armel Le Cleac’h. Gabart has an advantage of just over one mile after making up more than 54 miles to Le Cléac’h's Banque Populaire since Sunday (December 9) evening.
“I can’t really explain why I’m going so fast in the same weather conditions as the others. Maybe my sail settings are different from Armel’s,” Gabart said.
“I’m sailing at 22-26 knots, and it should be like that for several more hours. It’s very noisy but you get used to it, same for how much the boat shakes. These things become familiar conditions, the norm,” he added.
Gabart has also set the highest average speed for the actual miles sailed so far in the race, presently at 14.9 knots.
With his current speed, Gabart is expected to break the current record of his mentor Michel Desjoyeaux, who completed the race in 84 days, three hours and nine minutes at a speed of 14 knots.