.... But since François Gabart has made not one single mistake yet (apart from the “dinghy style” start
), I agree only technical failure can prevent him anymore from winning his “Everest of the Seas” (although many more have conquered the Everest (or died up there) than finished the Vendée Globe, but this is a different topic).
So I also think the “rookie” is going to make it to the top of the podium of what I personally consider the most challenging and thrilling sailing race ever.
Now I realize you once again did your homework perfectly well before pointing to François Gabart. And now I also see why he is not really a “rookie”.
The boat: a recent VPLP design, launched 15 months before the race, extensively sailed and improved (21.000 NM!).
The sponsor: MACIF takes François Gabart seriously and supports him professionally since 2010.
The team: Mer Agitée, coached by Michel Desjoyeaux (“Mich’ Dej”, “le professeur” for the frenchies), the only double winner of the VG and now a living legend, at least in France
The guy: only 29 years old, French national champion in Optimist at 14, in Moth Europe at 16 and youth world champion in Tornado at 20. At 22 and at 24 he wins the student rank of the Tour de France à la Voile. Then come participations to the Solitaire du Figaro (2nd in 2010) and to transatlantic races, also in open 60’s ( 2nd Transat Jacques Fabre in 2009). With actual the open 60’ MACIF he was 4th in the Transat Jacques Fabre and won the Transat B to B (Back to Brittany after the Jacques Fabre) in 2011.
Meanwhile he became a mechanical engineer at the INSA of Lyon. And according to Wikipedia he also routed Kito de Pavant and Sébastien Col during the Transat Jacques Fabre in 2007.
So apart from sailing and mechanics, he also seems to know quite a lot about weather and wind patterns
All this information was readily available before the start of this extraordinary race and now the analysis is of course quite easy. So it really takes a real expert such as Paulo to see the whole picture right from the beginning.
After the abandon of Vincent Riou, Armel Le Cleac’h was my second bet. Again very safe, because of an equally promising and recent VPLP design, a truthful sponsor and a very experienced team. Plus a guy with also a very impressive sailing record and much more experience, especially in this very particular race.
But now I fully agree François Gabart will very probably win this VG and become the next French living sailing legend.
Again an easy bet for me but more importantly a good thing for us, sailors, because it really seems this 29 year old is a guy we will hear a lot more about.
Watch out for the images from Les Sables-d’Olonne when he will finish this VG
! Plus all the others, who equally deserve our very profound respect.