There will be sailors at the helm of the tribunal in the absence of that of their boat. Thursday, June 23, from 1:30 p.m., the Paris court will look into the imbroglio surrounding the giant trimaran of the French skipper, François Gabart. A boat, SVR-Lazartiguedeclared non-compliant by the other skippers and shipowners of what is called the Ultim 32/23 class: it is this class that defines the rules and the gauge of these 32-meter-long flying boats.
François Gabart and the Kresk group, owner of the boat SVR-Lazartigue, dispute this position which prevents, for the moment, the navigator from taking the start of the Route du Rhum, a solo transatlantic race which will start on November 6 from Saint-Malo (Ille-et-Vilaine). .
A single technical point will be at the heart of the debates in this unprecedented trial. Indeed, during a meeting dated February 16, which had brought together all the actors of the Ultim class, a memorandum of understanding had been signed: it asked the International Sailing Federation, World Sailing, to rule on this dispute before 4 March. After this time, it had been agreed that François Gabart’s boat would be authorized to take the start of the Route du Rhum.
However, the decision fell on March 7, three days too late, which is why the parties meet in the Paris court on Thursday. “Mechanically, the class would be forced to grant us the exemption and allow the trimaran to be on the starting line on November 6, and that would obviously solve the problem”comments the lawyer for the sportsman and his sponsor, Guillaume Vitrich.
A skipper like François Gabart has to train. There is a lot of organization for a race of this magnitude. We have to decide the subject very quickly. Forced execution of an agreement is the right way to do this.Guillaume Vitrich, lawyer for François Garbart
The substance of this affair (the conformity of the boat with its revolutionary design and the safety of the sailor on board) will not be settled on Thursday. Because, just over four months before the start of the Route du Rhum, it is urgent to find a way out, believes his lawyer.
The lawyers for the Ultim class and the other skippers did not wish to speak before this unique trial of its kind and not really brilliant for the world of offshore racing.