Francois Gabart IMOCA champion
The skipper of MACIF succeeded Jean-Pierre Dick, winner in 2010 and 2011, becaming the ninth and the youngest winner in the championship's history. The ranking for the IMOCA championship is based on the previous two year cycle, culminating on this occasion in the Vendee Globe.
A secondary highlight of the evening was having many of the previous winners in attendance including Roland Jourdain, Bernard Stamm, Marc Guillemot and Mike Golding, while several other IMOCA skippers were also present including Dominique Wavre, Hugo Boss' Alex Thomson, from Spain Anna Corbella and Gerard Marin and future skippers such as Christopher Pratt.
Oddly Gabart is the first sailor to have win the IMOCA world title and the Vendée Globe in the same year. However he had an exemplary couple of years including a second place finish in the Europa Warm'Up, winning the Transat BtoB and then of course the Vendée Globe.
François Gabart: "I am very happy and very proud," said Gabart. "It is a great moment for MACIF too. We launched the MACIF 60 campaign in 2011 after I was Champion de France in the Figaro class, so this progression work well. It is also the result of all the work performed over two years by MACIF team and it shows that we have been performing consistently beyond just the victory in the Vendée Globe. I hope that this title will grow with the new era of IMOCA."
Top five IMOCA championship 2011-12
1. François Gabart/MACIF - 272 points
2. Armel le Cleach/Banque Populaire - 259 Points
3. Alex Thomson/Hugo Boss - 231 points
4. Jean-Pierre Dick/ Virbac Paprec 3 - 227 points
5. Mike Golding/Gamesa - 180 points
See our interview with Francois Gabart here
More images from Thierry Martinez / www.thmartinez.com