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June 15, 2020

Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones’s Mediterranean Runabout

Reader Carl King, who owns the Beneteau 36 King Tide in Sausalito, sent us a note when he noticed a little Mediterranean ‘runabout’ had slipped into San Francisco Bay. At first, we thought it might be a new committee boat for the Sausalito Yacht Club, but it turns out the yacht is owned by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who, according to Forbes magazine, is worth around $6.8 billion.

The yacht and the city
Carl King sent in this shot of the yacht and the City.
© 2020 Carl King

Jones spent about $250 million to purchase the massive 357-ft yacht in 2019. It comes complete with two helipads, a gym and the must-have spa including a sauna, steam room, massage room, plunge pool and rain shower. Oceanco built the boat in 2018 in the Netherlands.

Mega yacht Bravo Eugenia
It’s hard to get away from it all on a 357-ft yacht. Carl King sent in the yacht’s track on the Bay.
© 2020 Carl King / Google

“To what do we owe the honor?” asked the San Francisco Chronicle. “Could be Jones is scouting Oakland on behalf of the NFL. He reportedly told an Oakland official not long ago that Jones and several other team owners see Oakland as a leading candidate for the next NFL expansion or relocation team.” (We heard an unsubstantiated, and in all likelihood entirely fabricated, rumor that Jones was considering signing Colin Kaepernick. We’ll just let that one hang out there.)

Jones’s path to megayacht ownership started with success as a Texas oil wildcatter in the ’70s. His biggest success came when he bought the Dallas Cowboys in 1989 for $150 million. They’re now worth around $5.5 billion. He continues to do well with the oil business, Texas real estate and the Cowboys.

Circling the Bravo Eugenia
The Bravo Eugenia found this quiet anchorage in the corner of San Francisco Bay.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Boats like this are far more common in the Atlantic Basin, shuttling between the Med, the Caribbean and the Northeast. They don’t often get through the canal and to the West Coast, but, when they do, they’re often passing through the Bay Area this time of year on their way to the famous photo op in front of Glacier Bay in Alaska.

Bravo Eugenia
When there’s a new island to circumnavigate on the Bay you’ve got to check it out.
© 2020 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

She did a little Bay cruising this weekend before returning to anchor off Sausalito. Is she still there? Anyone?

François Gabart and MACIF Part Ways

One of the most prolific sponsorships in all of sailing has come to an abrupt end. French insurance company MACIF has decided to withdraw from racing maxi-trimarans, while simultaneously cutting loose their legendary young skipper François Gabart. Since teaming up 10 years ago, Gabart and MACIF have gone on to celebrate several incredible results, which culminated in winning the Vendée Globe in 2013 and setting a record for the fastest solo circumnavigation in 2017. Nearly everything that Gabart and MACIF touched turned to gold — earning Gabart the nickname ‘Golden Boy’ — before the relationship came to a very sudden, and shocking, end last week.

Francois Gabart portrait
‘Golden Boy’ François Gabart should have no problem finding a new partner to support him in his sailing efforts. Arguably the best solo sailor of his generation, if not all time, Gabart has a squeaky-clean image, boyish good looks and undeniable talent.
© 2020 MACIF

A decision that was made two weeks before it was announced, the move is reportedly not due to the pandemic or the resultant economic fallout, but instead merely the result of a change in upper-level management and a new strategic direction. Either way, the timing can’t be ignored and is even more surprising as MACIF is currently smack-dab in the middle of constructing a brand-new fully foiling offshore maxi-trimaran while still actively campaigning their current boat. Had the costs simply gotten too far out of hand? Was COVID-19 really the culprit? Has there been a falling out among Gabart and his corporate handlers? We are not in a position to speculate, but the result is the same.

Gabart on the bow of his IMOCA
François Gabart on the bow of his old MACIF-sponsored IMOCA, when he won the 2012-13 Vendée Globe over his rival Armel le Cleac’h in his first and only attempt at sailing the race. Female skipper Clarisse Cremer, who is now sponsored by Banque Populaire, will campaign this very quick boat.
© 2020 Vincent Curutchet / DPPI

Ironically, the decision was announced last week on the same day that the central hull of the company’s new maxi-tri was being delivered by truck from the Multiplast facility in Vannes to the MerConcept facility in Concarneau. Although MACIF has pulled the plug on the program, the rumors suggest that Gabart’s company MerConcept had already been funded through to the end of the construction of the new boat and two months of sea trials to end in June 2021. Effectively, MACIF just declined to renew the contract with Gabart and MerConcept after its current expiry and to place both boats up for sale, the old one and the new one.

New hull under wraps
The central hull of the new MACIF trimaran arrived at MerConcept in Concarneau, France, last week. Ironically, the boat will likely be launched with a different name on it. The hull was built at the Multiplast facility in Vannes and will eventually be fitted out with a main central daggerboard foil and a t-rudder. This boat was designed from the ground up to foil, while the last boat was merely modified to foil.
© 2020 MerConcept

No price tag has been publicly placed on the ‘new’ boat. The ‘old’ boat has been reduced (it was already for sale to make way for the new boat) by more than half to a bargain-basement price of 5 million Euros. We say this not in jest; 5 million Euros for that boat is a bargain and should easily find a buyer, even in this economic climate.

The fastest solo boat to ever sail around the world, just 40 hours off the fully crewed record pace, the MACIF trimaran posted an incredible 851-mile day during Gabart’s 2017 record-breaking circumnavigation. Having been converted to fully foiling since then, the boat has conceivably only gotten faster. Just five years old, in great shape and highly developed, MACIF will surely hold a lot of appeal for many top sailing teams looking to upgrade or to jump into the fray of the Ultim 32/23 class, which is currently treading on thin ice.

Macif trimaran hauling ass
Launched in 2015, the ‘old’ MACIF trimaran is now available for the bargain price of just 5 million Euros. French skipper Pascal Bidégorry was the apparent heir to the throne and was set to campaign the boat in this year’s now-canceled Transat CIC, but COVID and now MACIF have had other plans. How cool would it be to see some Silicon Valley billionaire buy the boat and campaign it on the West Coast?
© 2020 MACIF

As for Gabart, he will continue his work with MerConcept to complete the construction and commissioning of the new boat, while simultaneously beginning the hunt for a new sponsor. Since training with Jimmy Spithill in 2018 and building a close friendship with the Australian skipper, rumors continue to swirl around Gabart and Spithill, surely fueled in part by Gabart’s first Instagram post after the MACIF sponsorship announcement. He closed the post by stating, “It’s far, far from over,” and then tagged Jimmy and added a wink emoji. Are we reading too much into this? Time will tell.

As for MACIF, they will remain a major sponsor of offshore sailing with Charlie Dalin sailing the new-generation IMOCA 60 Apivia — named after MACIF subsidiary Apivia — in the upcoming Vendée Globe, while also campaigning two Beneteau Figaro 3s on the Figaro circuit in France. Apivia will maintain their management and technical coordination with Gabart’s company MerConcept.

Summer Sailing Camp Ready For Summer
The official start of summer is just around the corner, and for many young Bay Area sailors, this is the time they would usually put down their pencils — or these days, devices — pack their sailing kits, and join their friends for the seemingly endless days of summer-camp fun.
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For your viewing pleasure
Latitude Nation — For your viewing pleasure, here’s a mini-documentary of Sausalito super-sailor Lauren de Remer.