François Gabart, record holder for the solo round the world race, announced Tuesday that he would not compete in the English Transat which is due to start in early May from Brest, a race in which he is the title holder. Evoking a big "fatigue", he leaves the bar to Pascal Bidegorry.
"I'm just tired. I don't feel able to take the start with the level of performance I would like," admitted this gifted sailor, winner of the Vendée Globe in 2012, at a press point in Paris. .
"Navigating in Ultimate and solo is quite demanding. It requires being 100% day and night, and it turns out that I feel a fatigue that has accumulated in recent years. I was reaching a limit" , explained the skipper, winner in 2014 of the Route du Rhum.
He will therefore be replaced at the helm of the Trimaran Macif by Pascal Bidegorry, for this race between Brest and Charleston (United States) scheduled to start on May 10.
"It's not trivial. Making a mistake on the water doesn't lose a point or a game. You expose yourself and you also hire a boat that costs a lot of money. We didn't want to take risks both for the boat and for the guy, "he added, claiming to have confided his doubts to Macif at the beginning of the year.
- Return to competition in 2021 -
The two men have known each other for a long time: they won the Transat Jacques Vabre together in 2015.
"When François called me to tell me that he had won four years ago and that I should not break the boat, I had to park my car on the side," said Pascal Bidegorry with a smile. .
"It is extraordinary to have the honor and the opportunity to sail on this boat. I feel a lot of pride, I am delighted. And very determined to prepare well with this team that I know well," added the Basque skipper.
"I am delighted that it was Pascal. We started sailing together on this boat in 2015. He knows him well and I know that he will be able to do this race with this commitment 24 hours a day," added François Gabart , which plans to return to competition in 2021 on a new boat whose launch is planned for the start of the same year.
"The idea is to be present alongside Pascal and the whole team. I will be there in a different way and this will allow me to step back, to see my job from a different perspective for better It’s the best way to prepare for the season calmly, "said François Gabart.
© 2020 AFP