The rules of life of François Gabard

The rules of life of François Gabard

François Gabard is racing all pairs to the new record for solo circumnavigation, while still having time to give interviews.
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In an effort to set a record for a single round-the-world voyage, Francois Gabart is already 2347.65 miles ahead of his absentee rival Thomas Coville. The 34-year-old Frenchman not only manages to drive the Macif trimaran at a furious speed, but also gives interviews to journalists. Shortly before crossing the equator (it happened on December 10), he revealed to Le Journal de Dimanche the secret of his success. The interview, however, turned out to be shorter than conceived because of the 50 knots»of wind «slaps, to quote the yachtsman himself, but that doesn't make it any less interesting.

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I don't have the kind of crazy sailing experience that Thomas Coville and Francis Joyon have, so preparing for a record is a lot of problems for me. In the sport of excellence, to achieve your goal you must constantly leave the comfort zone. Especially in psychological comfort. I always try to set new goals for myself. After winning the Vendee Globe, I wanted to do something else to continue the fun. But this sport is very energy consuming. You can't let yourself get to your limit, so you can break down. And you won't have a doctor near you. This exercise requires full involvement.

I have to work on it: that's when the «suffering»I need arises. When you sacrifice everything, you get to the core of your nature. So that the exhausted come to the finish line.

If that's not true, then I did a bad job. I don't sleep much here, and I have to fight fatigue to the end. I have to come to Brest with minimal energy. One thing's for sure: we all end up recovering from all this.

To be patient and take the risks

To break a record like this takes a good boat, good sailing skills and patience. In my youth, I spent 10-15 years of my life mastering the dinghy to gain admission to the Olympic Games. I always dreamed of it, but I was not lucky enough to get into the history annals. Two or three years I survived alone, without a partner. I fought, I took risks. Nothing just fell out of the sky for me. In 2009 I was chosen to be the skipper of Macif, then I met Michel Desjoyeaux and Kito de Pavant, with whom Transat Jacques-Vabre won.

I was lucky. In 10 years in offshore racing, I've worked with a lot of people who taught me a lot. I hope to pass on my experience, too.

There are a lot of good people in this environment and a lot of love for people. I'm partly supported by this atmosphere of mutual help. I hope my coach in the «Optimist class is» proud of what I have achieved.

Learn to use your own emotions

I have a small family - Hugo, a 5-year-old «big boy», and Maël, who is not yet 5 months. This is the best thing that can happen to you. I'm taking all this with me on the boat. And it makes you go faster - or on the contrary, take your time, I don't know - but the better you feel, the better navigator you are. I feed on emotions. It's a beautiful and very powerful thing. But emotions should not prevent me from doing what I have to do. They can be difficult to control, but it's part of the job of any high-class athlete.

«It's our responsibility to live» our emotions and not to give up on ourselves. They must be used to achieve results and let go.

You make decisions, but you don't always do it consciously. You don't have time to think, you have to act. If you constantly control yourself, you can't go as fast as you need to.

To believe in a dream and choose the right moment...

The curving of Cape Horn is a symbolic moment for me. It's an explosive cocktail of exhaustion, emotion and fear. The Southern seas fascinate me. It's heavy and dangerous waters. I have had many difficult moments. But I have a dream - to go around the world on a multihull. We have been working on this project for four years, starting with an irrational dream that I shared with journalists, boat owners, yachtsmen... This communication has strengthened me a lot in my quest. The moment to start such a journey was right.

These boats are extraordinary. There's no point in chasing them along the French coast. Even the Atlantic seems cramped.

Their scale is for a world tour with a must-have trip to the south sea. I dream of «flying» a boat that lasts many days. It's exciting.

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