François Gabart set his participation on July 21st

The sailor went to court to take part in the famous Transat at the head of his new boat, considered incompatible by the Ultimate Class.

From the Breton pontoons to the Parisian courts. The dispute between François Gabart and the Classe Ultim met, this Thursday, an important stage for the next Route du Rhum. A legendary race in which the skipper, 39, is currently at the door due to a boat reported as breach by its competitors, Thomas Coville (Sodebo), Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire), Charles Caudrelier. (Edmond de Rothschild), Yves Le Blévec (Current) and Arthur Le Vaillant (Brest Ultimate Sailing).

Given the urgency of the calendar – the start of the Transat is scheduled for November 6 – Gabart’s sponsor, the Kresk group, has seized the court in Paris to obtain the certificate of size that will launch the maxitrimarà SVR Lazartigue. in Saint-Malo. Justice must not decide on the substance of the conflict but on the form.

At the heart of the debates was a protocol signed on February 16 by the Gabart clan and the owners of the Ultim class that allowed the Charentais to participate in the Rum if the International Sailing Federation returned its conclusions on the subject to the late. March 4th. Kresk’s lawyers noted that he communicated his unfavorable interpretation to Gabart on March 7. The Ultimate Class, meanwhile, highlights the fact that the document is dated March 4 and that on February 23 a first negative opinion had been posted on the World Sailing website.

He had retired from the site the next day after Gabart and the architects’ firm VPLP, the boat’s designer, had reported the use of incomplete and non-compliant plans for that decision. Following the allegations, the sentence was reserved for July 21. Present in court on Thursday, the employer has already stated his intention to appeal in the event of an unfavorable sentence.

Even before its launch in July 2021, François Gabart’s new seaplane had aroused questions and skepticism among his playmates, for the latter, the winner of the 2013 Vendée Globe and VPLP designed a boat which does not respect any of the international regattas on the high seas. OSR (Offshore Special Regulations). Specifically point 3.11 which states that, for safety reasons, the sailor operating on the sheet metal winches, the winches used to harden the ropes, may not be placed under the deck of the vessel.


For the Ultim class, this is the case of the SVR Lazartigue whose cabin, where the famous winches are located, is installed, according to her, under cover. Backed by architectural plans, lawyers for Gabart’s team argued in court that World Sailing had been “deceived “ for the Ultimate class with a design “of coarse featureswhich is not that of SVR Lazartigue. For the designers’ lawyer, the blue trimaran booth is really a “wetland as evidenced by its small holes to evacuate waterAccording to him, it is an integral part of the bridge and therefore respects the width. The Ultim class responds that it was not authorized by SVR Lazartigue and its architect to transmit the “official” plans and is surprised that now the part report otherwise “a violation of confidentiality»In a drawing he considers incompatible which he did not facilitate.

After claiminginadmissibilityof the Kresk and François Gabart lawsuit for administrative reasons, the defense held that the “principles of security and sports equity“were”burlat“Remember that as early as May 2019, a meter had expressed reservations about.”the ability to have peripheral vision to maneuver safelyafter a site visit. SVR Lazartigue would not provide “360 degree visionlike their competing ships (Sodebo, Edmond de Rothschild) whose photos were also presented to the judge for comparison.

In terms of sports equity, the track denounced by the competition gives Gabart an undeniable advantage in terms of aerodynamics. In Sodebo or Edmond de Rothschild, the cabin is on the deck for less optimal airflow. “The biggest aerodynamic drag is the cabinrecently explained Charles Caudrelier, patron of Edmond de Rothschild. And François’s is a great gain in matter and also allows you to focus the weights and lower the center of gravity. But you have to be on the bridge to look ahead. François does not have the same interpretation as us of this safety standard that applies to all ships. So you need a referee. And the referee’s decision must be respected.“.

Before the conflict erupted, experts mandated by the Ultimate class had examined SVR Lazartigue and its plans without expressing any reservations. “There is debate among experts and differences of opinion, even between employers“, Specifies Samuel Tual, president of the Actual group and owner of the trimaran run by Francis Le Blévec (Actual Ultim 3). Last fall, Gabart and his co-skipper Tom Laperche obtained an exemption to participate in the Transat Jacques Vabre (2e). In return, his competitors expected him to do the work for “compliance»With a view to the next races (Route du Rhum, Brest Oceans).

The class cannot offer cheating sports.

The Ultimate Class Lawyer

We built our boat in the most transparent way possible, the Ultim class meter and the representative of the French sailing federation checked our boat during its construction and considered it compliant afterwards, and again after an additional experience requested by the same class. Our competitors do not follow these expert reports, which we do not consider fair“Gabart told Figaro at the end of March. The latter denounceda relentlessness to pull us away. “

The class deeply regrets this dispute, concluded the Ultimate Class lawyer on Thursday. His vocation is to follow the boats to organize regattas and offer a beautiful show. He regrets that this controversial show is offered to the public, but his main concern is to ensure the safety of the races organized. The class cannot offer cheating sports. “ Gabart and his sponsor are claiming 18.5 million euros in damages for image damage.

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