French yachtsman and professional skipper Francois Gabart has just taken part in the 16th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre, alongside UTC sailor Tom Laperche on the Trimaran Ultim SVR-Lazartigue. Together, they share the same commitment to protecting the environment.
François Gabart graduated from INSA Lyon, set up MerConcept, an ocean racing stable, in 2006. At the cutting edge of innovation and performance, with unrivalled expertise in engineering, technical studies, design and assembly of very high-tech boats, MerConcept supports the creation and development of sporting, human and innovative projects. «Now based in Concarneau in a single workshop, we imagine, build and pilot the boats of the future in the heart of Sailing Valley. We want to take advantage of the advances that have propelled ocean racing into a new era to accelerate innovation in the service of more sustainable maritime mobility,» says François Gabart, who in 2013, at the age of 29, became the youngest winner of the Vendée Globe, the solo round-the-world race, on the IMOCA MACIF.
At the end of 2019, MerConcept will be looking at the meaning that can be given to ocean racing expertise, and will be taking concrete steps to transfer technology by carrying out studies on an electric foiled catamaran incorporating ocean racing innovations. «Dreaming, imagining, innovating, building, optimising, performing — that’s the DNA on which MerConcept was built. We’re proud of our results. But these days, fighting to win only makes sense if it’s combined with strong social, societal and environmental commitments,» adds the man with an impressive track record. In 2014, he won the Route du Rhum — IMOCA MACIF and in 2015 he also won the Transat Jacques Vabre — Trimaran MACIF. In 2016, he won The Transat bakerly — Trimaran MACIF; in 2017, he beat the solo round the world record in 42days 16h 40min 35s. In 2020, MerConcept will become a company with a mission.
Competitors in the field of sustainable performance levels
Despite being only 26 years old, Tom Laperche is no longer just a “hopeful” in the world of sailing. His performances over the last few years have already ranked him among the top sailors. World champion on a small dinghy at the age of 11. Tom made his first Atlantic crossing at the age of 13, in the company of his father Philippe. A graduate of the engineering school of the Université de Technologie de Compiègne in mechanical engineering, this top-level sailing athlete has been part of the SVR-Lazartigue Trimaran programme practically from the outset. On 7 November 2021, just three months after being launched, François Gabart set off on the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre alongside his co-skipper Tom Laperche.
After more than sixteen days of racing and a fierce battle, the two skippers finally achieved the feat of taking second place in this historic transatlantic race on the ocean racing circuit. A first-rate performance that suggests a very bright future for this new flying boat. «Tom, like me, is passionate about the technical aspects of our boats. We’re sailors and competitors with the support of a superb team. Coming n we have the round-the-world Ultim race, which will set sail from Brest on January 7, 2024. We are fortunate to be living our passion guided by our dreams but also our commitments which imply putting our passion and know-how into ocean racing, which is part of a sustainable performance vision. It is essential that maritime mobility becomes as “low-impact” as possible. Through the search for sustainable innovation, we want to accelerate technology transfers between ocean racing and the maritime world, and we have a real desire to put all our know-how at the service of tomorrow’s world.