© Chris Schmid / Spindrift racing

SPINDRIFT 2 DISMASTS ON WAY TO START OF ROUND THE WORLD RECORD. ( Photo © Chris Schmid / Spindrift racing )

 

As the giant trimaran made its way to the Créac’h lighthouse (Isle of Ouessant) for a second attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy, Spindrift 2 dismasted at about 1615h today (Monday 15 January 2018), south of Pointe Saint-Mathieu in a strong 30 knot westerly breeze and rough seas.

Spindrift 2 was ready for this new attempt around the world with a relatively favourable weather window, after a long two-month stand-by at La Trinité sur Mer and then in Brest, Brittany.
With strong winds around Brest, the start from the pontoon was delayed to 1430h. Once Spindrift was into the Iroise, an area of open sea in front of Brest between the Atlantic and the Channel, the sea state was already well formed and the wind blowing at more than 30 knots with strong gusts. As the boat tacked towards the Ouessant Channel, with no warning suddenly Spindrift 2 dismasted. No crew member was injured in the incident.

“Everything happened very fast! In a few seconds, the mast was down. We have been waiting for two months for this new attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy: this window was our last chance. It is a big disappointment for the whole team, both at sea, and on land as we were all ready. We have spent a lot of time optimising the boat, and everything collapses in a few moments,” said Yann Guichard

SPINDRIFT 2 DISMASTS ON WAY TO START OF ROUND THE WORLD RECORD

“We were heading to the start line: there were relatively strong conditions with 30 knots of wind and three metre troughs. A few moments before we were going to tack towards Pointe Saint-Mathieu, the mast broke for some unknown reason. The most important thing is that there were no injuries on board. Unfortunately we had to drop the mast into the sea as we did not want to take  any unnecessary risks for the crew because we were very close to the rocks at Toulinguet. Operations are currently underway to recover the mast and rigging as quickly as possible, as the weather is set to deteriorate early tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. We will now start the process of understanding what has happened,” he concluded.

 

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

The 46 Solitaire du Figaro skippers © Artemis Offshore Academy

The 46 Solitaire du Figaro skippers © Artemis Offshore Academy

The fourth and final 430-mile leg of the 2011 Solitaire du Figaro starts tomorrow (Sunday 21/08/11 at 11:00 BST) from Les Sables d’Olonne (France), home to the start of the legendary solo, non-stop round the world Vendée Globe race. For the British Artemis Offshore Academy sailors Sam Goodchild (Artemis), Phil Sharp (The Spirit of Independence) and Conrad Humphreys (DMS) this has been their first experience of the Solitaire du Figaro; however, for Nigel King (E-Line Orthodontics) it is his third time in this highly competitive race.

As expected, it has been a steep learning curve for the first-timers, as they deal with the challenges of racing solo in such a competitive field on short and demanding offshore courses. Not surprisingly, some harsh lessons have been learnt along the way which is all part of the learning process and the main reason for being part of the Solitaire du Figaro as the British sailors strive to carve out their own solo careers.

Sharp, who has competed in other demanding solo races like the solo transatlantic Route du Rhum, has been placed in the top ten for most of the legs so far and is chasing the top spot in the ‘Rookie’ class: “ There’s only 40 minutes (between me and the leader of the rookie class) and a lot could happen in this last leg,” explains Sharp. “If you miss a tide gate then potentially you could lose two hours, so it’s going to be important to be in touch with the front of the fleet as we go around and capitalise on any change in the weather we see.”

This leg takes the fleet of 46 one-design Figaro boats from Les Sables d’Olonne around the Brittany coast to finish in Dieppe next Wednesday. The fleet of solo offshore sailors will battle it out against each other for quickest time with the winner of the Solitaire du Figaro being the sailor with the lowest accumulated time after competing in the four legs.

Looking forward to the next leg Humphreys explained: “The final leg is an epic coastal challenge. Both Ille de Yeu and Belle Isle must be left to port which limits the option to head more offshore and keeps the fleet together close to the coast. The main decision will be when to leave the North Brittany coast to head offshore towards Alderney as the routing suggests, although the weather models are not in agreement.”

Conrad Humphreys poses for photos with fans © Artemis Offshore Academy

Spending a few days in Les Sables d’Olonne has had Humphreys’ reminiscing about his previous participation in the Vendée Globe whilst the other three can only dream about their long-term aim of competing in a future edition of the Vendée Globe. “It was the start of the Vendée race in 2004 that really inspired me to try to do a Figaro,” said King. “I want to do a competitive Vendée Globe campaign in the future – that’s always been the ambition from day one. There’s definitely a different atmosphere at this port, there’s a special connection to offshore sailing here. Everywhere you go there are videos, photographs, the restaurants and bars have pictures of Vendée Globe skippers, so it’s a nice pick-you-up to everyone who aspires to do that race.”

The month-long, four-leg Solitaire du Figaro is seen as the main training ground for sailors wanting to enter the Vendée Globe in years to come. It’s the biggest race 21-year old Sam Goodchild, the youngest competitor in the fleet and winner of the Artemis Offshore Academy scholarship, has ever done: “It’s good to be racing against some of the top guys who are here and learning from them, it just makes the experience a whole lot more beneficial for me. It’s not just another sailing regatta, it’s got so much more to it than that – learning about your boat, learning about yourself, learning about everything really. It’s got so much more to it than I ever imagined, it’s gone way over my expectations.”

Britain’s Samantha Davies, who competed in the last Vendée Globe capturing the hearts of the public and media in both the UK and France along the way, has also competed in the Solitaire du Figaro four times. She and Nigel King both achieved a sixth place leg finish – the best result for the British in this French dominated race.  Davies appreciates first-hand what the sailors are going through: “For me it’s probably the hardest sailing race that’s available on the planet. The fact that it’s single-handed obviously makes it pretty extreme to start with. But I think it’s the intensity of the race, you’re just accumulating fatigue, mental and physical tiredness from thinking about tactics, strategy and weather all the time.”