The Macif group has announced that it is withdrawing the Ultim circuit, in agreement with its skipper François Gabart.
The company will refocus its engagement in offshore racing on the IMOCA and Figaro Bénéteau circuits.
This decision, which is in contrast to their February announcement saying they would . . . ‘continue their commitment to ocean sailing over the period 2020-2024 alongside François Gabart’, was apparently revealed to Gabart in early May.
The employees of MerConcept, Gabart’s company, were warned the day before the latest announcement.
As boat owner, the Macif group will continue to build the new multihull – M101 – which will come to an end with her launch and the first set of trials in late August 2021.
The programme for the use of the current trimaran finishes on 30 June 2020, and the one for the new boat for the period 2020-2024 was due to start on 1 July.
It is in this contract cross-over period that the Macif group has made the decision to ‘end the Ultim program and turn a page in the partnership that has linked us to François Gabart for 10 years now’.
MerConcept are continuing to work with Macif on other projects, such as the Figaro programme and the Apivia Imoca.
Nevertheless this conclusion is bound to have a huge economic impact on the MerConcept firm, when we see that the annual budget for running one Ultim varies between 2.5 and 5 million Euros a year.
Gabart admits that: “We need to reorganise everything. We have to act quickly to ensure the potentially huge consequences are reduced to a minimum.”
“We are starting out from a blank sheet. It’s up to us to find a new way of looking at ocean racing.”