Spindrift 2 Maxi Trimaran Dona Bertarelli

Spindrift 2 Maxi Trimaran Dona Bertarelli

by Christophe Guigueno

The dismantling of the maxi-trimaran of 40 meters between Brest and the starting line of the Trophy Jules Verne last winter was stored in the trunk of bad memories on the side of Spindrift Racing. But the failure of the 100% male crew led the co-creator with Yann Guichard of the Swiss team to take the reins of the trimaran to set up a women-only crew for the next attempt against the world record  sailing.

 

In 2015, Dona Bertarelli was part of the crew of the trimaran Spindrift 2, formerly Banque Populaire and the largest offshore racing trimaran in the world. By completing the world tour in 47 days 1 hour 17 minutes and 41 seconds, the maxi-tri did not beat the Jules Verne Trophy record . But her co-skipper became the fastest woman around the world to sail. A title she now wants to share with other women.

A group drawn from the pool of the Volvo Ocean Race

The timing is also perfect for the Swiss, as under the initiative of Mark Turner, the Volvo Ocean Race , the crewed world tour with stopover aboard 65-foot monohulls, required the crew to board at least two women on board. This new rule means that many young women have acquired an enormous experience of the open sea on which Dona Bertarelli will be able to rely to build an international crew.

According to our sources, an emissary of Spindrift Racing was present in New Zealand during the last stopover to meet these potential teammates and present the project. A contact that would have met with great success with these women who, after a mixed world tour but a minority on board, would be ready to follow the wake of Tracy Edwards. A Frenchwoman also said she did not fear the pressure on men’s performance: “l pressure, I drink, I do not suffer!” she added …

In the wake of Edwards and MacArthur

A Jules Verne Trophy 100% feminine, it would not be a first since in 1998, the English Tracy Edwards who had already led a crew “zero testo” aboard the catamaran Royal Sun Alliance, the former Enza of Peter Blake born under the name Formula TAG for Mike Birch and now converted into a zero emission catamaran under the name of Energy Observer. After two years of preparation and numerous records, including the crossing of the English Channel, Tracy Edwards and her crew of 10 women (including her compatriot Samantha Davies) set off off Ouessant. The adventure ended on a dismasting 2000 miles from Chile.

Five years after this attempt, another woman tackles the challenge initiated by Yves Le Cornec, Titouan Lamazou and Florence Arthaud. This is Ellen MacArthur who starts the world tour with … 13 teammates! For the Englishwoman, the circumnavigation ends once again on a dismasting, this time off the Kerguelen.

Dismantling of Royal Sun Alliance, Kingfisher 2, Spindrift 2 … Attempts often end with a spar at the bottom of the water. So if Dona Bertarelli takes over the torch and will leave this winter with her 40 meter trimaran to establish this first time around the world with a 100% female crew, it will not be to plant it again at the bottom of the water but for the sting at the top of the sail all genders confused …

 


Women’s World Tours:
-  2015: Dona Bertarelli, co-skipper of the trimaran Spindrift 2: 47d 1h 17 ’41’ ‘(fastest woman around the world)
- 2003: Ellen MacArthur skipper of the catamaran Kingfisher 2 with 13 crew members. Departure on January 30, 2003. Drainage off the Kerguelen
- 1998: Tracy Edwards skipper of the Royal & Sun Alliance catamaran with a 100% female crew. Dismantling off Chile.

by Christophe Guigueno
LA TRINITE-SUR-MER, FRANCE, OCTOBER 17TH 2017: Spindrift racing (Maxi Spindrift 2) skippered by Yann Guichard from France, training for the Jules Verne Trophy 2017 attempt.

LA TRINITE-SUR-MER, FRANCE, OCTOBER 17TH 2017: Spindrift racing (Maxi Spindrift 2) skippered by Yann Guichard from France, training for the Jules Verne Trophy 2017 attempt. © Chris Schmid / Spindrift racing

 

Yann Guichard and his crew arrived in Brest last night to start the Jules Verne Trophy. Despite a good though not ideal weather window, after two months on stand-by Spindrift racing has decided to take its chance and will leave the dock late this morning to be at the Créac’h lighthouse in the afternoon.

The team was planning to start a week ago, but the weather further down the course did not materialise as anticipated.  However, the area of depression that is currently sitting off the coast of Brittany has finally given the team the opportunity to start their challenge on the Jules Verne record. With strong conditions forecast for the start, the current files show the team reaching the equator in just over five days (5d 5h – 5d 10h), which will give them a cushion on the reference time set by Francis Joyon and his crew (5d 18h ​​59′).

The team is aiming to catch an area of depression off the coast of Brazil to give them a quick crossing of the South Atlantic towards the Cape of Good Hope.

Portrait of skipper Yann Guichard leaving for the Jules Verne Trophy.

© Chris Schmid / Spindrift racing

“We are now Code Green: the latest weather files confirm our departure from the pontoon around noon today, with a Jules Verne Trophy line crossing following quickly.  The 25-30 knot wind from west to north-west will strengthen as we cross the Bay of Biscay, and we are expecting big seas with five metre waves.  It looks like the first 12 hours will be hard going, but then the wind will soften off Cape Finisterre to more moderate trade winds, and we will be doing a lot of gybes towards the Canary Islands,” commented Yann Guichard as the last of the fresh food was taken on board Spindrift 2.

The Jules Verne Trophy record has been held by IDEC Sport (Francis Joyon and his crew) since January 2017, with a time of 40 days 23 hours 30 minutes. During that challenge the team took 12 days 21 hours 22 minutes to reach the tip of South Africa, so improving this time is one of the first objectives of Yann Guichard and his eleven crew.

2018 JULES VERNE TROPHY CREW:
Yann Guichard (skipper): watch the portrait
Erwan Israël (navigator): watch the portrait
Jacques Guichard (watch captain / helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Christophe Espagnon (watch captain / helm / bow): watch the portrait
Xavier Revil (watch captain / helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
François Morvan (helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Antoine Carraz (helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Thierry Chabagny (helm / bow): watch the portrait
Ewen Le Clech (helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Sam Goodchild (helm / bow): watch the portrait
Thomas Le Breton (helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Erwan Le Roux (helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Router: Jean-Yves Bernot

 

A NEW DEDICATED WEBSITE
With a departure imminent, Spindrift racing has launched its website platform dedicated to following the record attempt with real-time cartography and an interactive dashboard:
WWW.SPINDRIFT-RACING.COM/JULES-VERNE

Spindrift 2 by George_Bekris

Spindrift 2 by George_Bekris

Currently on stand-by for the right weather to start their Jules Verne Trophy record attempt, Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard and their crew present the opportunity to share their adventure.

DIGITAL COMMUNICATION

SPECIAL JULES VERNE TROPHY WEBSITE

 WWW.SPINDRIFT.RACING.COM

Spindrift racing has created a new platform devoted entirely to the record attempt. Using your computer, tablet or smartphone, you can explore the history of the Jules Verne Trophy and retrace the steps of the previous record holders. Go behind the scenes, meet the Spindrift 2 crew and see how they organise life on board for 45 days at sea. Experience Spindrift 2 as if you were actually there thanks to video footage of her at the dock, ready to depart.

The fun, accessible, entirely responsive website will be the place to go for daily updates during the around-the-world tour. The logbook will contain messages, photos and videos sent by the crew. Various experts will regularly shed light on the record, while the team’s onshore router Jean-Yves Bernot will provide several illustrated weather reports. Finally, once a week, a live video link will provide an even closer experience of life on board.

FOLLOW SPINDRIFT 2 IN REAL TIME 

The map will go online as soon as the boat starts the record attempt and will be updated every 15 minutes, allowing you to follow the progress of Spindrift 2 around the world. The map is compatible with all screen types, and can be viewed in standard view, Google Maps or Google Earth. One dashboard shows the current race time, the lead or deficit with the current record, the distance covered, the average speed, and the trimaran’s sail plan. The other provides the main environmental data such as the general weather situation, the wind speed and direction, and the air and water temperatures.

For the latest info, stay connected to www.spindrift-racing.com and FacebookTwitter  and Instagram and sign up to the newsletter to receive news about the record attempt in your inbox.

SPINDRIFT FOR SCHOOLS

 CLASSROOM ADVENTURE BOOK



Since the birth of Spindrift racing, Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard have sought to share their passion for sailing, the sea and offshore sailing with children. The Spindrift for Schools programme was conceived as soon as the team decided to attempt the Jules Verne Trophy and has grown as the team has moved from one project to another.

Spindrift racing has worked alongside scientists and teachers to develop tools that fit into the French and Swiss curricula. Launched several weeks ago for primary school teachers, Spindrift for Schools already has 25 partner schools: 17 in France, 8 in Switzerland.

The material available includes a classroom adventure book designed for teachers of 7-12 year-olds and developed by Spindrift racing and Cité de la Voile Éric Tabarly. This comprehensive, illustrated document uses the around-the-world tour as a platform to look at geography, history, science and the arts with the children, and includes practical workshops for the classroom.

The material is supported by five turnkey lessons designed specifically for schools on the oceans, the climate and the water cycle. The lessons will soon be available for download from the Spindrift for Schools page on the team’s website.

Cité de la Voile Eric Tabarly, which receives more than 12,000 students a year, has devised a fun game open to all school classes in France and Switzerland. Like Jules Verne did back in his day, the schoolchildren must design an “extraordinary machine” capable of beating Spindrift 2 in the around-the-world sailing record attempt. A jury formed by educational advisers, the Head of the Cité de la Voile programmes, Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard will determine which entries best meet the criteria. The winning classes will be given the chance to visit the Cité de la Voile and meet the members of Spindrift racing.

Full details of the programme are available at www.spindrift-racing.com.
Contact address for schools: spindrift.for.schools@spindrift-racing.com

SPINDRIFT IMMERSION

A PLACE TO DISCOVER AND SHARE THE ADVENTURE

Following trips to Kiel (Germany), Brest (France) and Geneva (Switzerland), Spindrift immersion is returning to France, first to La Trinité-sur-Mer harbour, then to Brest for the winter. Spindrift immersion uses fun, educational tools to reveal to the general public what life is like for Spindrift racing and its sailors and what lies ahead for them during the Jules Verne Trophy. Immersive videos will give the public the opportunity to simulate sailing Spindrift 2 and the GC32 foiling catamaran.  Spindrift racing has also designed and produced an exhibition on the history of Jules Verne, the around-the-world record and the various trophy winners. The exhibition shows the innovations on Spindrift 2, reveals what life is like on board the boat, and explains how the team prepare for such an extraordinary voyage around the world.

OFFICIAL VIRTUAL REGATTA GAME     

Spindrift racing and the world’s most popular virtual regatta game are launching a special Jules Verne Trophy 2015 edition. Players must choose a departure window based on the weather and attempt to beat the current “real-life” record of 45 days, 13 hours and 42 minutes, as well as the “virtual” record set by the winner of the 2012 Jules Verne Virtual Regatta, who completed the course in 43 days, 19 hours and 45 minutes. This year, the famous game will include rankings for schoolchildren. First prize is the chance to spend a day with the Spindrift racing team. Many other prizes are also provided by partners and official suppliers.

Register at www.spindrift-racing.com or www.virtualregatta.com.

Yann Guichard places 2nd in the Route du Rhum 2014 ( Photo ©Th. Martinez )

Yann Guichard places 2nd in the Route du Rhum 2014 ( Photo ©Th. Martinez )

To listen to the interview with Yann Guichard
at the pontoon in Pointe-à-Pitre: Click here.
A video of the race will be available tomorrow on the website: www.spindrift-racing.com
Yann Guichard has beaten all the odds and climbed the highest mountain, finishing in second position in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. An astounding acheivement, sailing across the Atlantic single-handed from Saint-Malo to Pointe-à-Pitre aboard Spindrift 2, the largest racing trimaran ever built. The ecstatic look on his face revealed it all. The skipper completed the crossing in 8 days, 5 hours, 18 minutes and 46 minutes at an average speed of 21.96 knots. It is the fourth best time in the race’s history, and 14 hours behind race winner Loïck Peyron, who shaved two hours off the race record in the early hours of this morning. With the support of the entire Spindrift racing team, Yann has achieved an incredible feat that seemed quite unimaginable just a few months ago. The expert multihull racer not only completed the Route du Rhum on this immense trimaran, which was designed initially for crewed record attempts, but he has performed to the highest level and remained competitive right to the very end.Accompanied by the cheering crowds, Yann enjoys the moment before being interviewed at the quayside:

(Photo  © Th.Martinez/Sea&Co )  Yann Guichard ( FRA)  maxi trimaran SPINDRIFT 2  Route du Rhum.

(Photo
© Th.Martinez/Sea&Co ) Yann Guichard ( FRA) maxi trimaran SPINDRIFT 2 Route du Rhum.

 

“I had a great race and I gave it everything from start to finish. I really suffered, but I managed to keep up the pace. Today, I’m delighted to have finished second here in Pointe-à-Pitre and to be on the podium with Spindrift racing, just behind Loïck (Peyron), who had a good race.

I always believed that I could be competitive with Spindrift 2, despite the doubts of some. With the team, we have adapted the boat especially for solo racing. I’ve proved that it was worth all of that relentless effort and I’m proud of the team for everything they have done to make this project a success.

On the second day, I lost one of my autopilots and I spent the whole race wondering whether I was going to be able to finish. Apart from that, I had very few technical issues, which is essential if you want to finish on the podium. My onshore routers Erwan Israël and Richard Silvani were also behind me all the way, even during the tough times, and I’m thrilled with the overall performance of our team.

It was an incredible race with a tough first night. I had to perform close-hauled tacks and weave in and out of cargo ships and fishing boats in 35 knot winds. It was a bit stressful! I lost some ground, but I was able to crank up the pace in the Bay of Biscay and get back in the race. I had two hairy moments off the Portuguese coast when I had to completely release the sheets, but apart from that the ship stayed in good shape. I’ve never pushed so hard in the manoeuvres because I’ve never been this far. But after so much effort it feels fantastic when the boat accelerates. I’ve lost some weight but I’m happy to be here and I had a lot of fun with the boat.

The people of Guadeloupe have come out in huge numbers today, and I know they will turn up not only for the winner but also for the last. They’re fantastic! As to whether I will do the race again with this boat? It’s far too early to say. I’m just going to enjoy the moment with my team and recover, as I’ve not slept for more than two hours a day, and never more than 10 minutes at a time, so I’m exhausted right now. I must have done more than a 1,000 kilometres on my bike during the Route du Rhum!”

Dona Bertarelli, co-founder and skipper of Spindrift racing:
“Yann’s performance showed his immense talent. Given the weather forecast at the start of the race in Saint-Malo, few believed he could be competitive and obtain a podium finish. This second-place finish rewards not only his determination but also his firm belief that Spindrift 2, the world’s largest racing multihull, could be sailed single-handed, despite being designed for a 14-man crew. His success is thanks to the work of the entire team and the support of our partners, Mirabaud, Genes-x and Zenith. I would like to thank them for their trust in our team.”

>> How the race unfolded for Spindrift 2

A conservative start
When the race begin in Saint-Malo just over a week ago, Yann made a conservative start, aware that with so many boats out on the water, safety was a priority. Safety was also a prime concern in the English Channel, so Spindrift 2 headed north-west before making the turn into the Atlantic well clear of the tip of Brittany. The boat even sailed undercanvassed during the first night, as the weather front that had been forecast swept its way across the fleet at speeds of more than 35 knots, with gusts reaching 45 knots. The storm produced the race’s first victims. Thomas Coville, one of Yann’s main rivals in the Ultimes class, retired after his boat, Sodebo, collided with a cargo ship. A few hours later, Loïck Peyron rounded the tip of Brittany in the lead, while Yann, back in sixth position, decided to step on the gas. Sailing close-hauled in waves of more than 5 metres, the skipper increased the sail area, crossing the Bay of Biscay with only two reefs in the mainsail. By Cape Finisterre, Spindrift 2 had moved up to second position, where he remained until the end of the race.

Hanging in there, minus one of the autopilots
The wind veered round, and Yann left Europe in his wake. Leaving Portugal, Gibraltar, Morocco and then Madeira to port, Yann notched up the nautical miles, but speed came at a price. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, he had to unfurl the full sail and, more importantly, hoist the gennaker. It required four hours’ effort in all, leaving him exhausted and on the brink of tears. On day three, Loïck Peyron managed to sneak into a weather window and build up an insurmountable lead, despite a crack towards the front of the boat, which proved to not have any serious effects. The Spindrift 2 skipper, meanwhile, had to do without one of his autopilots, after it stopped working. Back on dry land, the team conducted an initial diagnosis. The system had taken a lot of damage during the atrocious conditions at the start of the race and could not be repaired. The solo skipper thus had to put his entire trust in the second autopilot, completing the race with a sword of Damocles above his head, since it would be impossible to sail single-handed without an autopilot.

Lazy, capricious trade winds
Despite the problems, Spindrift 2 began to lengthen her stride. The fluid routes taken by the fleet show that the sailors were really on the ball, despite the irregular easterlies, often disrupted by squalls. Under a larger-than-normal full moon, Yann put in a huge effort on Friday evening to close the gap to within 118 miles of Banque Populaire VII. During the night, however, he was caught out by an immense cloud that completely broke the trade winds and, by early morning, Loïck Peyron was marching to victory. After reaching Guadeloupe at dawn, Yann performed the final manoeuvres to circle around Basse-Terre and celebrate his prowess in Pointe-à-Pitre. Indeed, never before has one man sailed a 40 metre maxi trimaran alone, finishing in second place on the podium.

>> Spindrift racing’s partners congratulate Yann and the team on their performance:

Antonio Palma, CEO of Mirabaud & Cie SA: “More important than winning, Yann Guichard has achieved the feat of crossing the Atlantic single-handed aboard this true giant of the seas. Congratulations to Yann and his team at Spindrift racing for this superb performance. Mirabaud is delighted to be part of this, which will remain one of the highlights of the 10th edition of the Route du Rhum.” 

Team Genes-x : “The team at Genes-x team warmly congratulates Yann Guichard and Spindrift racing for this amazing exploit. Throughout the race, Yann kept us with bated breath and we feel a deep admiration for the courage, dedication, audacity and strength he has demonstrated. The news of this achievement has come as a great delight to us all, and we are immensely proud to be part of this adventure. Well done Yann, you really went beyond your genetic limits!”  

Aldo Magada, CEO of Zenith: “Yann has shown great tenacity and courage to handle this huge maxi-trimaran. We are incredibly proud of him. This was a particularly tough Route du Rhum, and Yann battled to the very end. I would also like to congratulate Loïck Peyron, who is a very worthy champion! Zenith has been supporting adventurers for over 150 years. The brand with the guiding star has been closely associated with men living their dreams since its inception in 1865 and, thanks to men like Yann Guichard, this association will continue for many years to come.”

>> Spindrift 2’s Route du Rhum in brief:

Departure from Saint-Malo: Sunday, November 2nd at 2pm CET
Arrival in Pointe-A-Pitre: Monday, November 10th 2014 at X hour (CET), Guadeloupe time
Race time: 8 days, 5 hours, 18 minutes and 46 seconds
Sur la route: 3,542 nautical miles at average speed of 17.95 knots
Sur le fond: 4,334 nautical miles at average speed of 21.96 knots
Standings: 2nd place,  behind winner Loïck Peyron (Maxi Solo Banque Populaire VII)
Manoeuvres: between the race start and Tête à l’Anglais, Spindrift 2 made 3 tacks and 5 gybes

>> Ultimes class standings on November 10th at 11pm UTC: 
Position / distance / current speed

1 – Banque Populaire VII, Loïck Peyron, winner in 7d, 15h, 8m, 32s
2 – Spindrift 2, Yann Guichard, second in 8d, 5 h, 18min, 46s
3 – Edmond de Rothschild, Sébastien Josse, at 28,3 miles to the finish
4 – Musandam Oman Sail, Sidney Gavignet, at 69,6 miles to the finish
5 – Prince de Bretagne, Lionel Lemonchois, at 78,1 miles to the finish
6 – Idec sport, Francis Joyon, at 291,5 miles to the finish
7 – Paprec Recyclage, Yann Eliès, at 313,2 miles to the finsih
8 – Sodebo Ultim’, Thomas Coville, abandoned

 Yann Guichard and Spindrift 2 at the arrival of the Route du Rhum 2014 in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, France. (Photo © Chris Schmid/Spindrift racing, all right reserved)

Yann Guichard and Spindrift 2 at the arrival of the Route du Rhum 2014 in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, France. (Photo © Chris Schmid/Spindrift racing, all right reserved)

ROUTE DU RHUM - DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX

ROUTE DU RHUM – DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX

ROUTE DU RHUM - DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start      © ALEXIS COURCOUX

ROUTE DU RHUM – DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start © ALEXIS COURCOUX

As the tenth edition of the legendary Route du Rhum solo Transatlantic race to Guadeloupe started off Saint Malo, France this Sunday afternoon under grey skies and a moderate SSW’ly breeze. The perennial question of just how hard to push through the first 24-36 hours at sea was foremost in the minds of most of the 91 skippers.

 

When the start gun sounded at 1400hrs local time (1300hrs CET) to mark a spectacular send off for a 3,524 miles contest, which engages and entrances the French public like no other ocean race, breezes were only 15-17kts. But a tough, complicated first night at sea is in prospect, a precursor to 36 hours of bruising, very changeable breezes and big unruly seas.

Such conditions, gusting to 40kts after midnight tonight, are widely acknowledged to be potentially boat or equipment breaking. But the big ticket reward for fighting successfully through the worst of the fronts and emerging in A1 racing shape, will be a fast passage south towards Guadeloupe. Such an early gain might be crucial to the final result.

ROUTE DU RHUM - DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start      © ALEXIS COURCOUX

ROUTE DU RHUM – DESTINATION GUADELOUPE 2014 Start © ALEXIS COURCOUX

The converse is doubly true. Any trouble or undue conservatism might be terminal as far as hopes of a podium place in any of the three classes.

In short, the maxim of not being able to win the race on the first night, but being able to lose it over that keynote, initial period, has perhaps never been truer.

The routing south is relatively direct, fast down the Iberian peninsula with a fairly straightforward, quick section under the Azores high pressure which shapes the course. The Ultimes – the giant multis – are expected to be south of Madeira by Tuesday night when the IMOCA Open 60s will already be at the latitude of Lisbon and the Class 40 leaders passing Cape Finisterre.

Vincent Riou, Vendée Globe winner who triumphed in last year’s Transat Jacques Vabre two-handed race to Brasil, said of the forecast: “I carried out statistical studies, set up 140 different routings using ten years of files in my pre-race analysis and I can’t recall a single example of the weather being as favourable for the IMOCAs as what seems to lie ahead‏.”

The change in weather from the idyllic Indian summer conditions which have prevailed through the build up weeks to gusty winds, heavy rain showers and cooler temperatures could do nothing to dampen the extraordinary ardour displayed by the crowds which so openly embrace the Rhum legend. From all walks of life, from babes-in-arms to the elderly, they descend on Saint Malo and the nearby beaches and promontories to see the start and the opening miles.

Lemonchois Leads
It was fitting then that the tens of thousands who braved the deluges and the breeze were rewarded when it was the owner of the race record, Lionel Lemonchois, winner of the Multi 50 Class in the last edition and overall winner in 2006, who passed their Cap Fréhel vantage point, 18 miles after the start line leading the whole fleet on the Ultime Prince de Bretagne.

 

Thomas Coville on Sodebo lead the Caribbean-bound armada off the start line dicing with the more nimble, smaller Multi70 of Sidney Gavignet Musandam-Oman Air which also lead for a short time. The fleet’s ultimate Ultime, the 40m long Spindrift (Yann Guichard) was seventh to Fréhel, clearly needing time and opportunity to wind up to her high average top speeds. Coville has the potent mix of tens of thousands of solo miles under his belt as well as an Ultime (the 31m long ex Geronimo of Olivier de Kersauson with new main hull and mostly new floats and a new rig) which is optimised for solo racing.

The favourites to win each of the different classes seemed to make their way quickly to the front of their respective packs. Vendée Globe victor François Gabart established a very early lead in the IMOCA Open 60s on MACIF, ahead of PRB (Vincent Riou) and Jérémie Beyou (Maitre-CoQ). In the 43 strong Class 40 fleet Sébastien Rogue quickly worked GDF SUEZ in to the lead. He remains unbeaten and won last year’s TJV. Defending class champion Italy’s Andrea Mura was at the front of the Rhum class with his highly updated Open 50 Vento di Sardegna.

Spain’s highly rated Alex Pella was second in Class 40 on Tales 2, Britain’s Conrad Humphreys 20th on Cat Phones Built For It and Miranda Merron sailing Campagne de France in 22nd.

The key international, non-French skippers made solid starts to their races. Self-preservation was key priority for 75 year old Sir Robin Knox-Johnston on Grey Power, who said pre-start that his main goal was to get safely clear of Cape Finisterre, before pressing the accelerator.

He is in good company not least with ‘junior’ rivals Patrick Morvan, 70 and Bob Escoffier, 65 all racing in this Rhum class which features race legend craft as well as sailors. Two of the original sisterships to Mike Birch’s 11.22m Olympus – which stole victory by 98 seconds in the inaugural race in 1978 – are racing in this fleet replaying the fight against the monohull Kriter V which finished second.

First to return to Saint-Malo with a technical problem- needing to repair his rigging – was the Class40 of Jean Edouard Criquioche, Région haute Normandie, who had to turn round after just 45 minutes on course. And the Portuguese skipper in the Rhum class Ricardo Diniz was also reported to be heading back with trouble with his diesel.

Order at Cap Fréhel

1 – Lionel Lemonchois (Prince de Bretagne) / 1st Ultime
2 – Sidney Gavignet (Musandam – Oman Sail)
3 – Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim’)
4 – Loïck Peyron (Maxi Solo Banque Populaire VII)
5 – Sébastien Josse (Edmond De Rothschild)
6 – Yann Eliès (Paprec Recyclage)
7 – Yann Guichard (Spindrift 2)
8 – Yves Le Blévec (Actual) / 1st Multi50
9 – Francis Joyon (Idec Sport)
10 – Erwan Leroux (FenêtréA – Cardinal)
11 – Lalou Roucayrol (Arkema Région Aquitaine)
12 – François Gabart (MACIF) / 1st IMOCA
13 – Vincent Riou (PRB) 14 – Loïc Fequet (Maître Jacques)
15 – Jérémie Beyou (Maître Coq)
16 – Marc Guillemot (Safran)
17 – Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée)
18 – Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde)
19 – Tanguy De Lamotte (Initiatives-Coeur)
20 – Armel Tripon (Humble for Heroes)
21 – Erik Nigon (Vers un monde sans sida)
22 – Pierre Antoine (Olmix)
23 – Andrea Mura (Vento Di Sardegna) / 1st Rhum
24 – Sébastien Rogues (GDF SUEZ) / 1st Class40‏

Follow the race on www.routedurhum.com/en
Live Radio Vacations 1200-1230hrs each day in English on www.routedurhum.com/en

 

Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14  (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

The weather forecast for the first few days of La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe seems to suggest that the 3,542 miles from Saint-Malo to Pointe-à-Pitre will be quick. But first up there will be an active frontal system to cross before Ushant.

Sunday afternoon’s start will see the SSW’ly breeze at around 15-18kts with some squally bursts perhaps. But the first three days of racing will be quite tough for the 91 solo skippers competing on this legendary Transatlantic. And with such a promising forecast it seems there might be every chance the outright race record of 7 days 17 hours 19mins 6 secs of Lionel Lemonchois, set in 2006 on Gitana XI, might fall.

It had to happen some time. The blocking high pressure system which has provided summer-like weather for most of the times in Saint-Malo will give way to more usual Autumnal conditions, an Atlantic low pressure arriving on cue for Sunday’s start. The weather will worsen progressively along the Brittany coast and there will likely be rain just after the 1400hrs local time start gun.

Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14  (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

The 91 solo skippers gathered for their final meteo briefing this morning as Meteo Consult provided them with their final weather analysis. Sunday afternoon will see SSW’ly winds of around 15-18 kts but with some much bigger gusts. The breeze will veer more west behind the front, easing slightly initially but it will always be gusty. The air temperature will be around 13-16 deg C. The Ultime leaders might well have passed Cap Fréhel ahead of the front but for most this will mean headwinds.

The soloists will have a long port tack to get out of the Channel. But around midnight a second, more active front will bring a big increase in wind strength from the SW, gusting to 40-45kts with a chaotic sea. And this will be one of the key phases of this Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. Approaching and around the tip of Brittany there are a powerful combination of big untidy waves, busy maritime traffic and gusty winds, so the real strategy here will be trying not to break anything whilst still keeping the pace on.

By daytime Monday the biggest Ultimes should be into the brisk NW’ly which will make for a fast descent to Madeira which they should reach by Tuesday night. But meantime for the first part of Monday the IMOCA and Multi 50s will have a pretty tough time trying to find the right tempo across the first part of Biscay in an unruly, nasty sea making a messy, stressful passage to Cape Finisterre for Tuesday morning.

Overall it is quite a promising forecast. Class 40 and the Rhum fleet will need to take it more carefully but there really is only one general route south and the fleets should enjoy more of a speed rather than strategy race.

In the Class 40 fleet Briton Conrad Humphreys says he has never been better prepared or felt as good before a race start but the pressure will be on from the start. There is a critical stage early on where the skippers must time their approach through Sunday night’s front to make sure they can get comfortably inside the Ushant traffic separation zone, or not. There is a tactical danger in being squeezed out to the west by the zone when the main opposition is inside, able to cut the corner and get south across Biscay earlier.

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14  (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

“The critical thing will be how far west you get and whether you are positioned inside or outside the separation zone at Ushant. If you are caught half way you can’t cross the separation zone. And so the timing of that shift is important. After that the Bay of Biscay is going to be quite lively. I think the sea state will be one of the worst things, 4-5m swell with waves on top and then a lot of rain. The further south we get the High will have an effect and it will start to calm down a bit, but I think for most of the first 24-36 hours it will be quite wild. It is so critical to be with the pack and to get through that first shift with them. If you don’t they can be going quite fast and the ones who don’t will be still on the wind, have less runway to get around Ushant and so on. I have to say you will have to sail quite aggressively.”

In boisterous sea and wind conditions, with rain showers passing through, the start itself holds the possibility is problems. Indeed that is the phase that concerns Miranda Merron (Campagne de France) most immediately. The France-based English soloist said after the weather briefing:

“It’s November. You are going to take a kicking some time and this first bit looks tough, but it is the start with all the traffic and stress around that worries me most. I just want to get away cleanly and safely.”

They said:
Ari Huusela (FINLAND) – Rhum Class, Neste Oil:
“It is a victory to be here. In total we have had almost 20 people involved in the project at home in Finland. It is my passion to sail alone, that is why I want to do this race. This is the pinnacle. I have had this boat two years after it took me seven years to realise my dream. I think the boat is good, I am going to enjoy it as much as possible.”

Yann Guichard (Ultime) – SPINDRIFT 2:
“Everyone knows that the start phase is always critical. I know that if I have to do an emergency change of tack, it can’t be done in two minutes. The first twelve hours are going to be complicated. It looks like we’re going to have to do two changes of tack. This isn’t where the race is going to be won, but it is where it can be lost.”

Loïck Peyron (Ultime) – MAXI SOLO BANQUE POPULAIRE VII:
“The start is never easy for anyone. And here it’s going to be violent. There is going to be wind and lots of rain: typical sailor’s weather. This will make things a bit more dramatic, as we’re straight into the rough stuff.”

To follow the race on click La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe

 

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 - Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

assage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/11/2014 Fleet (Photo Passage des ecluses pour les concurrents de la Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2014 – Saint Malo le 01/ 11/14 (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

RMaxi Trimaran Spindrift 2 on Standby at Newport Shipyard, Newport, RI (Photo by George Bekris)

Maxi Trimaran Spindrift 2 on Standby at Newport Shipyard, Newport, RI (Photo by George Bekris)

 

After a month on standby in Newport (Rhode Island), there has still been no launch window. Spindrift racing remains on the starting blocks, all set to attack the New York to Lizard Point record of 3d 15h 25m. The weather conditions, however, are delaying the start, forcing the team to be patient, despite their desire to set sail. As Yann Guichard explains, these accomplished sailors have but no choice but to accept the wait, unusual as it may be for an elite sportsman. Imagine a football team entering the locker rooms before a crucial World Cup match…without knowing when they will play. All they can do is wait nervously in anticipation. The experienced crew of the maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 know only too well that they must sit and wait, but the wait to attempt such a prestigious record as the North Atlantic crossing is a challenge of its own.

RMaxi Trimaran Spindrift 2 on Standby at Newport Shipyard, Newport, RI (Photo by George Bekris)

Maxi Trimaran Spindrift 2 on Standby at Newport Shipyard, Newport, RI (Photo by George Bekris)

“Despite enduring the standby at home, as opposed to on the quayside, we are fully alert and mentally ready to drop everything and jump on a plane as soon as possible,” explains Yann, who sends a message to his teammates every day to keep them informed about the latest conditions. “Dona and I are obviously following the weather very closely. Together, with team navigator Erwan Israël, we check the two daily American and European forecast updates. The first come in before 5am and, whilst there is still not really a departure window on the horizon, we inevitably check each weather update religiously. We are as ready as we can be with a good technical and sporting potential, but the weather is out of our hands. That is what makes record attempts so frustrating…but also so special. When you are on standby, it can at times be stressful, as any athlete waiting for a big match can understand. In addition, we know that when the day of reckoning comes, once we get out on the ocean, conditions will be extreme.”

ice service

ice service

Three factors blocking the route.

In June, drift ice in the Labrador Current created the first natural barrier – a harsh winter has meant that icebergs are lasting longer than normal. They are melting, slowly but surely, but the large ice sheets are only disappearing gradually from satellite photos.

The other obstacle at the moment is the Azores High, an anticyclone centred over the Azores and spread like an insurmountable mountain across the entire North Atlantic. “To make the crossing in record-breaking conditions you have to leave ahead of a depression on the American coast and ride it up to Newfoundland, where you pick up another and accelerate for the rest of the crossing. You then have to stay in front of the system, which must not catch you up or wane before you reach the finish line,” adds Erwan Israël. “With such a huge (3,000 km wide), powerful (1,036 hPa) anticyclone at the moment, the depressions are not making any headway, and neither can we!”

And then there is Arthur, a highly active cyclone that formed over Miami before moving up the east coast of America. On 4 July, a national holiday, 100 mph (160 km/h) winds hit North Carolina. “Fortunately, the cyclone shifted course, with its centre moving to 150 nautical miles (300 km) from Newport, where Spindrift 2 is currently on standby. However, it is affecting the order of the weather systems in the New York area, where the anticyclone is pushing the depressions north and blocking our path,” adds Yann. “But it is early July and the standby can run through to mid-August if necessary, so we still have plenty of margin to look out for a good departure window!”

Virtual Regatta – your turn to play !

Virtual Regatta Spindrift

So whilst you wait to follow the real record attempt, why not mount your own challenge – the popular virtual regatta game is sporting the colours of Spindrift racing for the occasion! Starting today and continuing throughout the summer, you can attempt to beat the 12-day record set by the pioneering Charlie Barr and his 50-man crew back in 1905. Furthermore, you can try as many times as you like! Since 1905 some of the world’s greatest skippers have held this legendary record: Marc Pajot, Patrick Morvan, Philippe Poupon, Serge Madec, Steve Fossett, Bruno Peyron, Franck Cammas and the current record-holder Pascal Bidégorry, who set a time of 3 days, 15 hours. So, do you have what it takes to join this elite group? Select your boat and your weather window, and watch out for the best window to attempt this record before 1 September 2014…or set sail at the same time as Spindrift 2 !

In the mean time, keep following us on www.spindrift-racing.com/atlantic/ and www.virtualeregatta.com as well as on our social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and YouTube).
IN NUMBERS: the crewed record attempts by Spindrift racing – 2014 season.
Crewed record to beat: 3 days, 15 hours and 25 minutes; 32.94 knots.
Zenith by Spindrift racing 24-hour record: 908 miles; 37.84 knots.
Holder since August 2009: maxi-trimaran Banque Populaire V (now Spindrift 2); held by Pascal Bidégorry and his crew.
Route: 2,880 miles (5,333 km) between Ambrose Light in New York and Lizard Point, on the southwest tip of Cornwall, England.
Spindrift 2 : the largest racing trimaran in the world (40 metres), architects VPLP.
Skippers: Yann Guichard (FRA) and Dona Bertarelli (SUI).
Crew : 14 people on board for this record, plus routing onshore (final crew to be confirmed).
Standby dates: June 3 to mid-august, 2014.

 

Race For Water and Foncia at Newport Pologue Race Start (Photo by George Bekris)

Race For Water and Foncia at Newport Pologue Race Start (Photo by George Bekris)

The MOD70s are back…Brest to New York!
The countdown begins here…there are 300 days until the start of the second edition of the KRYS OCEAN RACE which will take the MOD70 fleet from Brest to New York.
Three hundred days for a chance for revenge for the fleet after the 2012 edition saw Spindrift, skippered by Yann Guichard, speed to victory from New York to Brest in a record time of 4 days 21 hours and 8 minutes. A rapid run across the North Atlantic provided a race of rare intensity on an oceanic scale.
The KRYS OCEAN RACE, starts on May 11, 2014 from Brest

Two years ago Brest gave the race an extraordinary welcome for the first edition of the KRYS OCEAN RACE by placing it at the heart of the Tonnerres de Brest (the Brest Maritime Festival) with its 700,000 visitors. For the start of the second edition, Brest will beat to the rhythm of the KRYS OCEAN RACE from May 3-11, 2014 with a program of sporting and cultural celebrations and many other entertainments (Brest City Races, a ‘Krys Match’, a brass band festival and street shows). “Brest, the harbour of departure for the great explorations of Laperouse and Bougainville and the major records of the Atlantic and circumnavigations, is the ocean gateway to the Atlantic and the Americas,” Jean-Claude Lardic, Vice President of Brest Evénements Nautiques, said. “The Krys Ocean Race from Brest to New York continues this great history with an exciting competition.

36 storytellers, 6 boat owners and 2,950 miles of suspense

The KRYS OCEAN RACE will mark the return of the MOD70 fleet to the ocean for a rematch to New York, from east to west, against prevailing winds and currents. “After a very successful 2012 edition, we are pleased to host the second edition of the Krys Ocean Race,” Marco Simeoni, President of Multi One Design S.A. said. “It will take place in May 2014 and will take the fleet from Brest to New York. With the support of Krys opticians, the city of Brest and New York City, this transatlantic race is fast becoming a major international event in the sailing world. The participation of the one-design oceanic multihulls, the MOD70s, will guarantee a top-flight show.”

The MOD70 fleet which will line up for the start of this second edition will each have on board six sailors, including the greatest multihull skippers of our time.
Krys opticians, at the heart of the adventure

The second edition of the race, already being dubbed “the Krys”, is a major event for its title sponsor, Krys, who have been in sports sponsorship since 2012 after backing this event. The KRYS OCEAN RACE embodies the values of Krys’s 850 opticians: teamwork, sharing, generosity, and technical expertise.

The Krys Ocean Race has become a not-to-be-missed race for the MOD70 class and the teams involved and it is also equally anticipated by the 850 teams in the Krys stores,” Franck Deschamps, marketing director of Krys, said. “More than 3,500 eye specialists are going to see their brand travelling to New York. The great pride and enthusiasm are things we recognise in these sailing teams, who, like us everyday, work on precision of movement to ever improve performance. We saw some great human stories during the Krys Ocean Race in 2012. We look forward to renewing those feelings and sharing with our customers the big time thrills and dreams of this second edition. See you in May 2014 for the start of the second Krys Ocean Race.”
The Sea, the other lung

The Multi One Attitude Foundation, which fights for the preservation of water on our planet and in particular ocean conservation, will be the charity partner of the KRYS OCEAN RACE again. In Brest, from May 3-11, there will be a space dedicated to the Foundation with a set of events and interactions for the public.

 

Two events you should not miss:
– Official presentation of the KRYS OCEAN RACE and the teams at the Paris Boat Show, December 2013
– May 11, 2014: the start of the KRYS OCEAN RACE from BREST to New York City

 

KRYS OCEAN RACE 2014 figures:
– Departure: Sunday, May 11, 2014
– 2,950 miles from Brest to New York City
– Opening of the Brest race village: May 3-11
– Probable arrival in New York City: May 19 or 20
– 6 MOD70s expected to start
– 36 sailors racing
– 850 opticians and their 2500 staff supporting

MOD 70 Musandam - Oman Sail in NYC for the KRYS Ocean Race (Photo by George Bekris)