© Eloi Stichelbaut I Spindrift racing Helicopter image of Spindrift 2 crossing the finish line at Ushant.

© Eloi Stichelbaut I Spindrift racing Helicopter image of Spindrift 2 crossing the finish line at Ushant.

The trimaran skippered by Yann Guichard has finished its first Jules Verne Trophy, registering the second fastest time in history, and with Dona Bertarelli becoming the fastest woman to have sailed around the world.

Note:
– Spindrift racing has finished its first voyage around the world
– Spindrift 2 crossed the line at 15:01 UTC after 47 days 10 hours 59 minutes and 02 seconds at sea
– The trimaran is expected to arrive in La Trinité-sur-Mer at around 21:00 UTC

 © Eloi Stichelbaut I Spindrift racing Helicopter image of Spindrift 2 crossing the finish line at Ushant.

© Eloi Stichelbaut I Spindrift racing Helicopter image of Spindrift 2 crossing the finish line at Ushant.

The sailors on Spindrift 2 crossed the finish line of the Jules Verne Trophy off Ushant at 15:01 UTC on Friday, after 47 days 10 hours 59 minutes and 02 seconds at sea. After nearly 29,000 miles travelled at an average speed of 25.35 knots, Spindrift 2 completed the circle on its first voyage around the world by claiming the second fastest time in history. The crew, led by Yann Guichard, did not better, on this attempt, the time set by Loïck Peyron (they were slower by 1d 21h 16’ 09”), whose record of 45 days 13 hours 42 minutes is still the one to beat. However, they were 20 hours 45 minutes 50 seconds faster than the time set by Franck Cammas in 2010, over this always demanding course. During its high-speed journey, the black and gold trimaran also improved three record times (Ushant-Equator, Ushant-Tasmania and Ushant-Cape Horn) and held, for a few hours, the record for the crossing of the Indian Ocean. One woman among 13 men on this record attempt, and the first to complete a Jules Verne Trophy course, Dona Bertarelli is now the fastest woman to have sailed around the world.

The crew is sailing to its home port and base in La Trinité-sur-Mer and is expected to arrive there at 21:00 UTC on Friday night. They will be greeted by the public and notably the schoolchildren who shared the adventure, along with the families, friends, project partners, supporters and onshore members of this young Spindrift racing team, who have prepared a warm welcome on the harbour. After the arrival of the trimaran, the sailors will enjoy sharing a drink and some oysters with the public.

They left in the dark of night on November 22, and in the afternoon of January 8, just before sunset, the three bows of Spindrift 2 emerged from the great Atlantic swell with Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard, Sébastien Audigane, Antoine Carraz, Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, Christophe Espagnon, Jacques Guichard, Erwan Israël, Loïc Le Mignon, Sébastien Marsset, François Morvan, Xavier Revil, Yann Riou and Thomas Rouxel on board.

Yann Guichard, skipper:The passage south of the Cape of Good Hope was one of the most important moments for me, but then, finishing in front of Ushant is also a relief. Not in the sense of liberation, because I wasn’t a prisoner and I really enjoyed this round-the-world voyage, but it’s time I have a little break. Of course, there was a bit of stress, but that’s part of my job.

This Jules Verne Trophy has been a series of firsts for me: going around the world, rounding the three capes, having so many days on the clock… And I really want to get back out there. The boat is perfectly adapted for this task, we’ll just need the weather to be with us. And then the South Seas, they’re magical. The Indian Ocean was rather grey, but in the Pacific we were treated to some incredible light when we went down to almost 60° South… But I’ll remember all the birds most: the albatrosses, petrels, fulmars and Cape petrels constantly following us.

My biggest fear was when we hit an unidentified object with the foil: I thought we were going to have to give up. I’m glad we’ve finished because since Cape Horn – and this goes beyond just the effect on the record attempt – the climb back up the Atlantic was as severe on the boat as on the crew.”

Dona Bertarelli, helm/trimmer:This ascent of the Atlantic has been long, laborious, and it felt like time was standing still. Fortunately yesterday, we could feel the finish line because we passed the symbolic mark of being 500 miles from Ushant: it was a special moment and I didn’t sleep much last night because there was so much emotion and adrenaline. Completing this voyage around the world allowed me to achieve the goals I had set myself, even if we didn’t beat the record for the Jules Verne Trophy. I have no regrets because the essential thing was to get back to Ushant as quickly as possible and we did everything we could to achieve that.

The voyage was a great experience for me because we all know each other very well and everyone respected each other’s individualities. It was really nice because it’s a team of real friends. But it’s also because of having been able, somehow, to exorcise my fears, those fears of plunging into the Southern Ocean or being so far from anything. Through writing articles for the schools in France and Switzerland and continuing to communicate with the world and share my experiences, I never felt isolated or alone on this adventure.”

A first one together
The crew was able to manage a journey across the oceans for over a month and a half. The incredible experience accumulated on a voyage around the world showed that the optimisations made the previous winter have paid off: with its rigging slightly shorter but much lighter and more aerodynamically efficient, Spindrift 2 was safer in the wind and easier to handle in moderate winds, without compromising its qualities in light airs. But the three storm fronts and ridges of high pressure that cluttered the Indian Ocean after the Kerguelen Islands, the Pacific before Cape Horn, and the South Atlantic off Brazil, were too much even for the efforts and perseverance of this crew. And that is without counting an arduous climb up the Atlantic due to adverse headwinds at the latitude of Argentina and Uruguay, and an uncooperative Azores High between the Canaries and Florida. The whole Spindrift team can be proud of what has been achieved, and that they rose to the challenge and finished the journey despite the problems pitted along the way, such as breaking the lower part of the port foil in the Indian Ocean after hitting a UFO (unidentified floating object). It was a collision that caused a crack in the port hull and could have cost them the Indian Ocean record. Then, later, there was the sudden weakness in the mast (repaired at sea) off Uruguay.

Record times
The 14 sailors have set three new record times on this voyage around the world. The first came from the start at Ushant to the Equator in 4 days 21 hours 29 minutes, a staggering average of 30.33 knots on the theoretical route (the shortest route). The second, between Ushant and the South of Tasmania, symbolising the entrance into the Pacific Ocean, was 20 days 04 hours 37 minutes. Incidentally, Spindrift 2 fleetingly held the record for crossing the Indian Ocean in 8 days 04 hours 35 minutes, which was broken a few hours later by IDEC Sport, who also left from Ushant on November 22. Finally, the third record: Ushant-Cape Horn in 30 days 04 hours 07 minutes, which brought a lead of 18 hours and 11 minutes over Banque Populaire V.

The women’s record
This Jules Verne Trophy has also finished with the confirmation of Dona Bertarelli as the fastest woman to have sailed around the world. During her standby watches, she also focused on the ocean environment of a voyage around the world and shared her feelings, discoveries and logbook. And she corresponded, in particular, with 2,000 children from schools in France and Switzerland, who are partners of the Spindrift for Schools programme, to help improve their understanding of these maritime areas and the species, so often under threat, which live there.

Shared time
There has also been a lot of life experience garnered along the miles covered across three oceans. A voyage around the world is not for the faint-hearted: from suffering the coldness of the Southern Ocean, to enduring the blistering Equatorial heat, braving the icy spray hitting your face at more than 40mph, performing a succession of manoeuvres in fading and fickle winds, worrying about the approach of drift ice and being trapped with 13 other people in a 20m³ box…

 

Spindrift 2, Trophée Jules Verne, 2015 (Photo © Yann Riou/ Spindrift Racing)

Spindrift 2, Trophée Jules Verne, 2015 (Photo © Yann Riou/ Spindrift Racing)

 

pindrift 2, Trophée Jules Verne, 2015 Sébastien Marsset manoeuvres on the forward deck during a day marked by a slight slowdown.

Spindrift 2, Trophée Jules Verne, 2015 Sébastien Marsset manoeuvres on the forward deck during a day marked by a slight slowdown.

 

CAPE LEEUWIN TOMORROW NIGHT

“There is an all-pervasive grey, with rays of sunshine at times, and always a few birds accompanying the boat,” was how the message received from the boat this morning started. Wrapped up well for over a week against the harsh environment of the Deep South, the sailors are now acclimatized and paying more attention to the cold pinching their faces. Warm clothes, gloves and hats are evident, with the key stopping the icy wind that tries to whip in. But mentally, all attention is focused on an Indian Ocean that is not really roaring. The maxi-trimaran is heading towards the second legendary cape of a round-the-world sailing voyage, Cape Leeuwin, which marks the south-west tip of Australia and which it will reach by the end of the day on Thursday. The current weather system limits the choice of route, forcing the crew to manoeuvre to keep the power up and not to fall into a windless area that is moving due east ahead of the bows of the trimaran. Spindrift 2 will gradually climb to 45° South, following a trajectory parallel to its predecessor Banque Populaire V. The good news: the area of drift ice is well and truly behind their transom. The way is clear until the entrance into the Pacific Ocean off Tasmania.

Day 18 – 17h00 GMT

198 nm behind the current record holder
Distance covered from the start: 11,656 nm
Average speed over 24 hours: 21.6 knots
Distance over 24 hours: 517.4 nm

THE ICE AGE
Strategic analisis – 12h00 (GMT)« The highlight of this third week has been the rounding of the Kerguelen archipelago which are in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The crew decided to sail north of the islands in order to avoid the drift ice located to their south. Although Spindrift 2 has lost a few miles over the last couple of days, it is mainly due to a zone of light winds ahead, moving at more than twenty knots…» Read more…
WEATHER FORECAST
Day 18 – December 9th – 10h55 (GMT)
“The Indian Ocean has never deserved its nickname – “The tunnel” – so much. Spindrift 2 continues on its way, stuck between southern depressions and a windless connecting…” Read more…
MESSAGE FROM THE BOAT
Day 18 – December 9th – 06h17 (GMT)
“With more than half of the Indian Ocean behind us, the scenery has not changed much since Spindrift 2’s upwind passage of the Kerguelen Islands. There is a dominance of grey…” Read more…
TOMORROW ON CNN
Shirley Robertson’s Mainsail show with Dona Bertarelli
And as well Dame Ellen MacArthur, Loïck Peyron, Francis Joyon, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Brian Thomson.Emission mainsail de Shirley Robertson Read more…
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.

Maxi trimaran Spindrift 2 (Photo © Eloi Stichelbaut I Spindrift racing)

Maxi trimaran Spindrift 2 (Photo © Eloi Stichelbaut I Spindrift racing)

Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard introduce the Spindrift 2 crew for the Jules Verne Trophy around-the-world record attempt. The crew will be on stand-by from October 19th.

To undertake the crewed around-the-world record is as much about the human adventure as it is a technical and sporting challenge. The men and women working alongside Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard at Spindrift racing have been preparing this race against the clock for almost three years. The target: to sail around the world in less than 45 days, 13 hours and 42 minutes. The tough record they will try to beat was set by Loïck Peyron and his crew in 2012 on Banque Populaire V, which was renamed Spindrift 2 a year later.

The French-Swiss team decided to use the same 40 m trimaran because they believed that the boat could be further optimised, a task that sailors, engineers and technicians at the team have been working on ever since. After countless hours of work at the boatyard and 40,000 nautical miles of racing and training, the Spindrift racing-prepared trimaran is all set to go. The team will officially go on stand-by on October 19th and wait for the ideal weather window.

With just a few days left until that important date, Dona and Yann are pleased to announce the twelve men who will join them on their journey through the world’s most hostile oceans. Most are multihull experts; some have an Olympic background; others, experience in offshore challenges; but all are familiar with the trimaran and share the team’s values and mindset. The crew members know each other, having competed together for Spindrift racing or taken part in other projects. Some have already circumnavigated the globe, whether in the Jules Verne Trophy or the Volvo Ocean Race.

Spindrift 2 Crew for Jules Verne Trophy attempt

From left to right, at the top : Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, Thomas Rouxel, Sébastien Audigane, Antoine Carraz, Sébastien Marsset, Xavier Revil, François Morvan. From left to right, at the bottom : Yann Riou, Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard, Jacques Guichard, Christophe Espagnon, Erwan Israël. (Loïc Le Mignon, not in the picture)

Photo © Eloi Stichelbaut I Spindrift racing

“The Jules Verne Trophy is the highlight of a programme we drew up as soon as we bought the trimaran Spindrift 2,” explains Dona Bertarelli. “The tour around the world will require total physical, mental, professional and especially personal dedication. Being a team means relying on each another, supporting each other, and accepting the highs and lows while striving to strike the right balance to succeed together. Yann and I are hugely motivated by this immense challenge. We want to surround ourselves with people who share our approach and our values. We’re also driven by a desire to share our passion for sailing with the public, especially youngsters, and to show them the hard work put in by our team. Very soon we’ll reveal the tools we’ve decided to use to achieve this goal.”

Yann Guichard also spoke about the record attempt: “Apart from the competition itself, for Dona and me it is as much about the human adventure. The record attempt brings together sailors who competed in Olympic series before turning to offshore competition and sailors with previous experience of oceanic record attempts and the Southern Ocean. Spindrift 2 is a prototype, so we have to take good care of her. Multihull specialists are aware of the fundamental balance we must strike between speed and safety. I’m surrounded by sailors who I know are talented and who feel good at sea. I can rely on them and trust them. In training I see us gel as a team, which gives me such a strong desire to experience this unique challenge together.”

Photo © Eloi Stichelbaut I Spindrift racing

Photo © Eloi Stichelbaut I Spindrift racing

Photo © Eloi Stichelbaut I Spindrift racing

First around-the-world campaign for Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard

Two challenges lie ahead for the skipper Yann Guichard, who has dedicated his career to elite multihull sailing and has made more than 15 transatlantic crossings. First, to complete his first around-the-world sail, and second, to take charge of the boat and the crew on board. “I must concentrate hard to make the right choices at the right time, whether during early or final preparations or out on the water,” says Yann. He set up Spindrift racing with his partner Dona Bertarelli, and the couple are jointly responsible for the team’s day-to-day development and management. Dona is an exacting, determined businesswoman, actively involved in several foundations, including the Bertarelli Foundation for marine conservation, and she has been involved in the Jules Verne Trophy project from day one. She first took up offshore multihull sailing on Spindrift 2 in 2013. Since then she has listened, observed, honed her skills and grown in confidence, and is now ready to spend more than 40 days at sea, following in the footsteps of Tracy Edwards (1998) and Ellen MacArthur (2003) in attempting to become the first woman ever to beat the record. “This circumnavigation is probably one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever set myself,” says Dona. “We’ve spent several years preparing ourselves and preparing those close to us who support and encourage us, but I don’t think you can ever be fully prepared for the unknown that awaits us. If we want to enjoy the adventure, those of us out at sea and those ashore will have to accept whatever comes our way.”

A supportive, well-drilled crew

One of Spindrift racing’s goals is to perform well all year round on the different circuits on which it competes. To achieve this, a core group of sailors accompany Dona and Yann throughout the year on the D35, the Diam 24, the GC32 and the maxi-trimaran. From that core group, Christophe Espagnon, François Morvan and Xavier Revil, whom Yann met during his Olympic preparations, will be part of the Jules Verne Trophy crew, as will the skipper’s younger brother Jacques Guichard, who is the team’s sailmaker at North Sails. Xavier Revil has already sailed around the world on the same boat as part of Loïck Peyron’s record-breaking crew in 2012.

Another member of Peyron’s crew was Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, who was brought in to the project last winter as Boat Captain because of his maritime experience over the last fifteen years, including his role in the Banque Populaire V record. Antoine Carraz was also part of the previous record and is one of the persons who know Spindrift 2 the best, having spent three years as technical manager for the trimaran and for the design office. This will be his first circumnavigation during which he will be keeping a particularly close eye on the boat.

Three other crew members – Thomas Rouxel, Sébastien Marsset and Erwan Israël – were part of the team that beat the Discovery Route record (Cádiz-San Salvador) on Spindrift 2 at the end of 2013, so their experience on the boat will also be important. Two of three have just competed in the 2014–15 Volvo Ocean Race: Thomas for the Chinese Dongfeng Race Team and Sébastien for the American Team Alvimedica. None of the three, however, took part in the Southern Ocean leg, so they will have their sights set firmly on rounding Cape Horn during the Jules Verne. Erwan Israël was Yann Guichard’s router for the 2014 edition of the single-handed Route du Rhum (Yann was sailing Spindrift 2), and last winter he joined Dongfeng for the Sanya-Auckland stage of the Volvo Ocean Race. After several months as Spindrift racing’s performance analyst, Erwan will be the navigator for the Jules Verne Trophy, working alongside the skipper at the chart table to determine the best route.

Yann Riou also has experience in the Volvo Ocean Race: the former electronics specialist was Groupama’s media reporter during their victorious 2011–12 campaign, and in the latest edition of the race he performed the same role for Dongfeng Race Team. Yann will be the first full-time on-board reporter for a Jules Verne record attempt.

Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard have called up two men with vast experience sailing multihulls at high speed in the Southern Ocean. Brest-based sailor Sébastien Audigane will take on sailing’s most famous record for the fourth time, having been part of Bruno Peyron’s successful bid on Orange II in 2005 and the unsuccessful attempts by Olivier de Kersauson in 2002 and Franck Cammas in 2008. Loïc Le Mignon, meanwhile, was part of the Jules Verne attempts by Groupama 3, including the successful one in 2010.

Onshore support will be provided by world-renowned meteorologist and offshore sailing router Jean-Yves Bernot, who has prepared and routed some of the world’s best single-handed sailors. Jean-Yves has also competed in the Whitbread Round the World Race and has been a crew member for various teams in different countries.

Finally, there are two reserves, Thomas Le Breton and Simone Gaeta, both of whom have trained on the maxi-trimaran this season and are ready to stand in if a crew member has to drop out.

On stand-by

Preparations on the trimaran are drawing to a close. As of Monday, October 19th, Spindrift 2 will officially be on stand-by in Brest, a port famous for major record attempts, located just a few miles away from the start line at Créac’h lighthouse on Ushant island. The routing team will analyse weather data several times a year in search of a good opportunity to launch the assault on the legendary course.

Spindrift 2 crew for the Jules Verne Trophy

Yann Guichard, skipper
Dona Bertarelli, helmsman-trimmer

Sébastien Audigane, helmsman-trimmer
Antoine Carraz, helmsman-trimmer
Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, helmsman-trimmer
Christophe Espagnon, helmsman-bowman
Jacques Guichard, helmsman-trimmer
Erwan Israël, navigator
Loïc Le Mignon, helmsman-trimmer
Sébastien Marsset, bowman
François Morvan, helmsman-trimmer
Xavier Revil, helmsman-trimmer
Yann Riou, media reporter
Thomas Rouxel, helmsman-bowman

Jean-Yves Bernot, onshore router

Simone Gaeta, substitute
Thomas Le Breton, substitute

Jules Verne Trophy:

Start and finish: a line between Créac’h lighthouse (Ushant island) and Lizard Point (England)
Course: non-stop around-the-world tour travelling without outside assistance via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn)
Minimum distance: 21,600 nautical miles (40,000 kilometres)
Ratification: World Sailing Speed Record Council 
Time to beat: 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds
Average speed: 19.75 knots
Date of current record: January 2012
Holder: Banque Populaire V, Loïck Peyron and a 13-man crew
Maxi-trimaran joined Spindrift racing on: January 2013
Stand-by start date for Spindrift 2: October 19th, 2015

Spindrift 2 maxi-trimaran:

Design: VPLP & Spindrift racing design team
Launch date: July 2008
Deck and mast boatyard: CDK Technologies
Sails: North Sails
Length of main hull: 40 metres
Length of outrigger hulls: 37 metres
Width: 23 metres
Dry weight: 20.5 tonnes
Draft: 5.1 metres
New mast height: 42 metres
Mainsail: 405 m²
Gennaker max: 560 m²
Gennaker medium: 450 m²
Gennaker mini: 360 m²
Reacher: 260 m²
Staysail: 170 m²
ORC: 75 m²

 

_______________________________________________________

The History of the Jules Verne Trophy

Records

Year Skipper Yacht Type Time
Current holder
2012 France Loïck Peyron Banque Populaire V Trimaran 45 days 13 hours 42 minutes 53 seconds
Past holders
2010 France Franck Cammas Groupama 3 Trimaran 48 days 7 hours 44 minutes 52 seconds[2]
2005 France Bruno Peyron Orange II Catamaran 50 days 16 hours 20 minutes 4 seconds[3]
2004 France Olivier de Kersauson Geronimo Trimaran 63 days 13 hours 59 minutes 46 seconds[1]
2002 France Bruno Peyron Orange Catamaran 64 days 8 hours 37 minutes 24 seconds
1997 France Olivier de Kersauson Sport Elec Trimaran 71 days 14 hours 22 minutes 8 seconds
1994 United Kingdom Robin Knox-Johnston
New Zealand Peter Blake
ENZA New Zealand Catamaran 74 days 22 hours 17 minutes 22 seconds
1993 France Bruno Peyron Explorer Catamaran 79 days 6 hours 15 minutes 56 seconds

Record attempts[edit]

Year Skipper Yacht Type Notes
Failed attempts (15)
2011 France Pascal Bidégorry Banque Populaire V Trimaran Damaged centerboard, west of the Cape of Good Hope[4]
2009 France Franck Cammas Groupama 3 Trimaran UshantEquator: 5 days 15 hours 23 minutes (new record)[5]
Broken aft beam bulkhead, South Africa[6]
2008 France Franck Cammas Groupama 3 Trimaran Loss of leeward float leading to capsize, New Zealand[7]
2004 France Bruno Peyron Orange II Catamaran Damaged starboard hull, Cap Verde islands
2004 France Bruno Peyron Orange II Catamaran Damaged starboard crashbox, Spain
2004 France Olivier de Kersauson Geronimo Trimaran Damaged gennaker, North Atlantic
2003 France Olivier de Kersauson Geronimo Trimaran Circumnavigation achieved, record not broken
2003 United Kingdom Ellen MacArthur Kingfisher 2
(formerly Orange)
Catamaran Broken mast, South-East Kerguelen Islands
2002 France Olivier de Kersauson Geronimo Trimaran Damaged rudder, Brasil
2002 France Bruno Peyron Orange
(formerly Innovation Explorer)
Catamaran Damaged mast, Ouessant
1998 United Kingdom Tracy Edwards Royal et SunAlliance
(formerly ENZA New Zealand)
Catamaran Broken mast, Southern seas
1996 France Olivier de Kersauson Sport-Elec Trimaran Excessive delay
1995 France Olivier de Kersauson Sport-Elec
(formerly Lyonnaise des Eaux)
Trimaran Extreme weather
1994 France Olivier de Kersauson Lyonnaise des Eaux
(formerly Charal)
Trimaran Circumnavigation achieved, record not broken
1993 New Zealand Peter Blake
United Kingdom Robin Knox-Johnston
ENZA New Zealand Catamaran Damaged hull, Indian Ocean
1993 France Olivier de Kersauson Charal Trimaran Damaged outrigger hull, South of Cape Town
Spindrift 2 takes Line Honours at the Rolex Fastnet 2015  (photo © Mark Lloyd / Lloyu Images)

Image licensed to Lloyd Images
Rolex Fastnet 2015. Pictures of the 131ft Maxi Trimaran Spindrift 2 skippered by Yann Guichard (FRA) and Donna Beraterelli (Sui) pictured taking line honours as the cross the finish line this evening

On August 18th at 23:57:41 (CET),The maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 was the first boat across the finish line in Plymouth in the 46th Rolex Fastnet Race after a thrilling tactical race in an unusually calm Celtic Sea. For 58 hours, Dona Bertarelli’s and Yann Guichard’s crew raced through erratic winds within sight of their closest rivals, who chased them all the way to the finish line. It was a race full of twists and turns, even in the last few miles, before Spindrift 2 sealed her second victory in as many years. The ocean-going black-and-gold trimaran is better suited to the winds of the Southern Ocean than the unusually calm conditions of this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race, but the French and Swiss crew successfully negotiated this test of teamwork and endurance, which came with just a few months to go until their attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy.

Image licensed to Lloyd Images "Spindrift 2" the 100ft Maxi Trimaran skippered by Dona Bertarelli & Yann Guichard shown here at the start of the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race. Cowes. Isle of Wight (photo by LLoyd Images)

Image licensed to Lloyd Images
“Spindrift 2” the 100ft Maxi Trimaran skippered by Dona Bertarelli & Yann Guichard shown here at the start of the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race. Cowes. Isle of Wight
(photo by LLoyd Images)

It’s always a pleasure to come back to this legendary course,” explained Dona Bertarelli at the finish. “The light, unpredictable winds made it all the more difficult. We had to use every last gust to make headway. The race required determination, endurance and teamwork. We had to perform a lot of manoeuvres and we had to test the changes made to prepare the boat for the Jules Verne Trophy. The results were positive from a technical point of view, because our power increased by 20% at certain points of sail.” 

Yann Guichard also spoke about the race: “It was my second Fastnet Race and it’s always very exciting to sail around Fastnet Rock. It was a long, slow race, but we learnt a great deal. We saw that the boat is now much quicker in light winds. It was the first race for Spindrift 2 in her new configuration. We’ve got quite a few small tweaks to do here and there. It was a very useful exercise as part of our preparations for the around-the-world record attempt.

Shortly after finishing the race in Plymouth, the trimaran headed back out to sea to return to her home port of La Trinité-sur-Mer, which she is expected to reach on Wednesday during the day.

Message from the board here.

View the pictures of Spindrift 2 on the Fastnet Race here.

Technical specifications:
Name: maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2
Central hull length: 40 m
Length of floats: 37 m
Beam: 23 m
Displacement: 21.50 t
Draft: 5.10 m
Air draft: 45 m
Mast height: 42 m
Mainsail: 405 m²
Gennaker max: 560 m²
Gennaker medium: 450 m²
Gennaker mini: 360 m²
Reacher: 260 m²
Staysail: 170 m²
ORC: 75 m²

Maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 schedule:
September – October
Training aboard Spindrift 2.

Jules Verne Trophy
Around-the-world record attempt starting from Ouessant Island (Brittany, France) and circumnavigating the world, passing Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn to port. The current record was set on January 6th, 2012 by the maxi-trimaran Banque Populaire V (Loïck Peyron and thirteen crew members) in a time of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds, averaging 19.75 knots.

Spindrift 2, Onboard, Fastnet Race (Photo by Yann Riou)

Spindrift 2, Onboard, Fastnet Race (Photo by Yann Riou)

 

 

The Rolex Fastnet Race fleet at Hurst Castle Lighthouse. The spectacular fleet fills the Solent between the Isle of Wight and the mainland shores © Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

The Rolex Fastnet Race fleet at Hurst Castle Lighthouse. The spectacular fleet fills the Solent between the Isle of Wight and the mainland shores © Rolex/Kurt Arrigo

Two months out from the start of the Rolex Fastnet Race, the Royal Ocean Racing Club has made public the latest entry list for its biennial 600 mile race from Cowes to Plymouth, via the Fastnet Rock, starting at noon on Sunday 16th August.

 The entry list makes for impressive reading in terms of scale, diversity and quality of the fleet taking part, confirming the Rolex Fastnet Race’s position as the world’s biggest and most popular offshore race by far.

As of today there are 387 boats entered with a further 74 on the waiting list. If all the boats currently entered were put bow to stern, the line from Cowes would stretch two thirds of the way across the Solent to the mainland (1635.75m).

The bulk of the fleet – 340 entries to be precise – are competing under IRC for the race’s overall prize, the Fastnet Challenge Cup. With the two American maxis: Jim and Kristy Hinze Clark’s 100ft Comanche and George David’s Rambler 88, due to be the pace setters on the water, the IRC fleet will, in due course, be divided into classes and class sub-divisions.

The remaining 47 are not competing under IRC but represent some of the world’s leading professional race boat classes. These include the latest generation foil-born IMOCA 60s, lining up for their first major event in the build-up to next year’s Vendée Globe, plus a large and highly competitive fleet of Class40s. Then there is the 13 strong multihull class featuring Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard’s 40m long trimaran, Spindrift 2, the world’s fastest offshore sailing yacht; in 2009 she covered 908.2 nm (ie 50% further than the Rolex Fastnet Race course) in 24 hours at an average speed of 37.84 knots and in 2011, as Banque Populaire V, set the Rolex Fastnet Race multihull record.

The average size of yacht competing in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race is 44.34ft (13.52m) with Spindrift 2 being the largest multihull, Comanche and Leopard the longest monohulls at 100ft and at the smallest end of the fleet, three 30ft yachts including Myles and Ashley Perrin’s Capo 30, Santana from California.

In IRC rating terms, Comanche and Rambler 88 lead the charge with Time Correction Coefficients (TCC) of 1.973 and 1.869 respectively, while the slowest boat in the fleet is Tony Harwood’s Nicholson 38, Volante,on 0.864 (the minimum permitted TCC this year is 0.850).

An impressive 52 entries are sailing two handed, up from 45 in 2013 when the race was won for the first time in its history by a two handed crew: French father and son, Pascal and Alexis Loison aboard their JPK 10.10,Night and Day.

Hoping to emulate the Loisins’ performance this year is another father and son crew, Derek and Conor Dillon from Listowel in southwest Ireland, who are competing on their Dehler 34, Big Deal. Despite owning the boat for 10 years and campaigning her in many regattas in Ireland, the Dillons have only recently ventured into offshore racing, but nonetheless won the Two Handed class in last year’s Round Ireland Race. With the Fastnet Rock on their doorstep in Kerry, the RORC’s flagship event was an obvious ambition.

Conor Dillon will race Two Handed with his Father Derek on their Dehler 34, Big Deal.
© Dillon Family

As Conor puts it: “We have rounded the Fastnet many times and always dreamed of doing it in the Rolex Fastnet Race. This will be a memorable moment for us for sure. I just hope it happens in day time…

“Every year we are trying to go bigger and bolder. This is an opportunity to compete in a legendary race against the best the world has to offer as well as, of course, making lifetime memories together. There are some seriously talented sailors in this race. You can give it your absolute all, and still not touch the leaders.”

Among the present line-up 180 boats will be competing in the race for the first time, while 163 took part in 2013. Some of the most regular participants are Dutch old hands such as Piet Vroon, winner of the race in 2001 and, at the tender age of 85, back this year with his latest yacht, Tonnerre 4. Then there’s Harry Heijst who has raced his classic Royal Huisman-built S&S 41, Winsome, in seven Fastnets, the first back in 1999.

“The most memorable Rolex Fastnet Race for us was in 2005 when we won Class 2 and came fourth overall,” recalls Heijst. “We were looking good for a first overall until three Class 4 boats suddenly got a lot wind at the Lizard and beat us in.”

Harry Heijst's Winsome
Harry Heijst’s Royal Huisman-built S&S 41, Winsome competing in the RORC Easter Challenge earlier this year
© Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2015, the RORC, for the first time, gave their members priority entry to the race. RORC Commodore Michael Boyd expressed the delight of the club at the overwhelming interest in its flagship event: “Naturally, we are delighted with the enormous interest in the 2015 Rolex Fastnet Race. We now expect almost 400 starters and may have to disappoint many currently on the waiting list.  Of course, there is a way to avoid a let-down in 2017…join RORC! I will be aboard Peter Rutter’s Grand Soleil 43, Quokka 8, in IRC 2 as we continue our ‘joint adventure’ and we hope to have our cruising boat, Southerly, to welcome finishers in Plymouth.”

Michael Board on board Olivia,Contessa 32 at the RYS Fleet Review © Olivia Chenevix-Trench.jpeg
RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd on board Contessa 32, Olivia at the recent RYS Fleet Review bicentenary celebrations
© Olivia Chenevix-Trench
091014-Naviguation solo, entrainement pour la Route Du Rhm 2014, au large de Belle-Ile. Trimaran SODEBO ULTIM', skipper, Thomas Coville. Reportage hélico. (Photo Sodebo Damage (Photo  © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

091014-Naviguation solo, entrainement pour la Route Du Rhm 2014, au large de Belle-Ile. Trimaran SODEBO ULTIM’, skipper, Thomas Coville. Reportage hélico. (Sodebo Damage (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

At 23:30, Sunday, Nov. 2, the Cross informed the race management of the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe that a collision had occurred between Sodebo Ultim ‘and a cargo and Thomas Coville was unharmed. The trimaran was almost out of the rail and sailed under 3 reefs and ORC, progressing at a speed of 15/18 knots in assets grains with 30 knots of wind from the southwest.

In shock, the trimaran has lost the front of the starboard float to link arms. The middle housing also appears to have been damaged at the front. Sodebo Ultim ‘moves towards the port of Roscoff, crosswind, under reduced sail, leaning on the port float. He is currently lead less than 10 knots. By approaching the Brittany coast, the wind will ease and the sea to settle down. His crew was on standby in Brest will travel at night in Roscoff where the trimaran is due in the morning

Ill fortune was in no way selective as it struck a wide cross section of the La Route du Rhum-Destination fleet over the first 24 hours of the 3,542 miles Transatlantic race which started from Saint-Malo, France on Sunday afternoon, bound for Guadeloupe.

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Difficult sea conditions, squally winds which pumped up to 45kts and periods of poor visibility took a heavy toll across the five classes with dozens of skippers among the 91 starters forced to stop or abandon their race.

Most high profile early casualty is the 31m Ultime trimaran Sodebo Ultim’ of Thomas Coville which struck a cargo ship last night around 2330hrs UTC, losing the starboard float right back to the crossbeam. The solo round the world ace who was considered to be one of the pre-race favourites to win into Pointe-a-Pitre was unhurt and arrived in Roscoff at a little after midday today, disappointed and shaken.

Covillle recalled: “Today I feel like I have been a victim in a car accident. I feel like a truck collided with me, a motorcycle at night. It really basically is that. I was coming away from TSS, the area we avoid because of the maritime traffic, and I was going really fast. That evening I had had a small problem on the bow, so I decided to basically speed up and try and catch up with Loick (Loick Peyron, Maxi Banque Populaire VII) but was sailing along quite comfortably. An engine alarm went off, a battery charge reminder, so I went back inside because I was surprised that after eight hours I would need to be recharging. There was nothing wrong so I went back and there I saw on it on my screen … You can imagine that on our boats we do not have a lot of visibility, that it is dark, there were squalls and lots of rain and that basically we sail like aeroplane pilots or like traffic controllers, using the radar.

I could see that there were two cargo ships close to me. I was sailing in wind mode, which basically means you sail taking into account the variable winds and waves. If I am sailing at 25 knots and the container is at 18 knots, we had a closing speed of 40 knots. Basically the two miles was covered in one minute and thirty seconds. I get out on deck having started the engine and manage to get the right gear and it is just when I look up and see this big black wall cross in front of me and I hit it 1.5 metres or maybe 3 metres from the back. We just did not quite pass behind and but for three metres we would have passed OK.”

Two sistership Class 40s lost their keels just hours apart. Francois Angoulvant had to be airlifted off his recently launched Sabrosa Mk2 by a 33F helicopter just after midnight and taken to Brest for medical observation. Marc Lepesqueux was luckier in that he managed to keep his boat upright when he lost his keel, stabilising it by filling the ballast tanks and he was able to make it into Guernsey.

The unfortunate duo were just two with problems affecting a dozen different Class 40s. Among them an ankle injury has forced Nicolas Troussel (Credit Mutuel Bretagne) – runner up in the 2010 edition – out of the race. Thierry Bouchard (Wallfo.com) succumbed to an injured wrist. Sail or rig repairs are required on Exocet (Alan Roura), Fantastica (Italy’s highly fancied Giancarlo Pedote) and Teamwork (Bertrand Delesne). Double Vendée Globe finisher Arnaud Boissieres reported he was heading for his home port, Les Sables d’Olonne with a combination of problems.

Conrad Humphreys’ hopes of building from a strong start were compromised when the Plymouth, England skipper had to re-route into Camaret by Brest to replace a mainsail batten car luff box. Sailing Cat Phones he arrived in Camaret just before 1600hrs local time this Monday afternoon and his technical team reckoned on a two hours pit-stop. Two Multi 50 skippers required to be towed to port by the SNSM.

Loic Fequet’s Multi 50 Maitre Jacque lost a big section off its starboard float, a seeming repeat of a problem suffered a year ago according to the sailor from Brittany who finished second in the 2011 Transat Jacques Vabre. And also in the Multi50s Gilles Buekenhout (Nootka) broke a rudder and had to be towed to Roscoff where he arrived around 1600hrs CET this afternoon.

Loick Peyron and the giant Banque Populaire VII (which won the last edition as Groupama) continues to lead the race at the head of the Ultime fleet by a matter of 45 miles ahead of Yann Guichard (Spindrift 2). The battle of the giants was taking on its hotly anticipated centre stage action this afternoon as Guichard continued to march steadily up through the field, now into slightly more moderate breezes but still with big confused seas. He was almost 10 knots quicker than Peyron on the late afternoon poll. The leaders were due to pass Cape Finisterre this evening around 1930-2000hrs. Meantime after holding second for much of the time Sébastien Josse, Yann Elies and Sidney Gavignet are locked in a three cornered battle in the Multi70s with 3.5 miles separating them after 28 hours of racing, between 57 and 60 miles behind the leader.

Multi 50
Five seriously damaged but a duel at the front. The Multi50 fleet was hit badly by the harsh conditions. First to be affected was Maitre Jacques of Loic Fequet which suffered a damaged starboard float. His was the first of a series of accidents and damage. Gilles Buekenhout (Nootka) with a broken rudder; Hervé de Carlan (Delirium), damaged a daggerboard; Erik Nigon (Vers un Monde Sans SIDA) has ripped mainsail and Alain Delhumeau (Royan) was dismasted. There were six still on course this afternoon carrying on a spirited fight to continue their race to Guadeloupe. A tight duel is at hand between Yves Le Blevec (Actual) and Erwan Le Roux (FenêtréA Cardinal) who were racing just a few hundred metres apart this afternoon off the latitude of Les Sables d’Olonne.

IMOCA
One Abandon, two damaged, Macif supreme since the start François Gabart has maintained a consistent leadership since breaking the start line first on Sunday afternoon. The lead of the current Vendée Globe champion increased this afternoon, out to 25 miles as his nearest rival Vincent Riou reported damage to his mainsheet track mountings. Two other notable damages include Tanguy de Lamotte on Initiatives Couer who was having to reroute for a pitstop after a shock to his rudder damaged the mountings. And Bertrand de Broc is reported to have abandoned after the hydraulic ram on his pilot failed and he also suffered an injured elbow. The rest close reach on down the Bay of Biscay with a big lateral gap (60 miles) between the trio of Gabart, Guillemot and Beyou in the west and Burton / Di Benedetto in the East.

Class 40 Sébastien Rogue remains untouchable so far in Class 40 on GDF SUEZ, but Spain’s Alex Pella is keeping the pressure on the race leader, pressing hard on the Botin designed Tales 2. Pella confirmed that he had damaged his preferred genoa during a sail change and anticipates losing some miles. But he expects to be under gennaker by the middle of tomorrow in easier conditions. “The main thing is I am still in the race which is important considering how the conditions have been.” Speaking less than 20 minutes before he was due to leave Camaret Briton Conrad Humphreys said: “I was shattered. We are almost there (close to completing repairs). The showstopper was the broken batten box which means the batten was no longer attached at the front of the main and I did not have any spares. It was a pretty hideous night, the waves were difficult, but I felt I had sailed reasonably well. There was a lot of reef in, reef out and it happened during one of these episodes. I am tired still but I will get back out there and try to stay with the group. That is the important thing. I am annoyed this happened.” Miranda Merron on Campagne de France was up to ninth place this afternoon, just 14.5 miles behind the leader. The English skipper reported: “ Minor issues on board, mainly the masthead wind unit which has stopped working, so no wind info at the moment – back to dinghy sailing. I should be able to plug in the spare wand, but not in this sea state. It will have to wait a few days until conditions improve. Not so good for performance. Anyway, it’s sunny today, although rather wet on deck. Can’t have it all!”

Rhum Class: Mura out in front, Sir Robin en forme In the Rhum Class defending title holder Andrea Mura on the optimised Open 50 Vento di Sardegna was 50 miles west of Ushant this afternoon, furthest offshore of the top group with a lead of 19 miles. He continues to clock high average speeds. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was on robust form this morning when he spoke to Race HQ in Saint Malo on the morning Radio Vacs: “I have seen gusts to 35 knots and am about 37 miles from Ushant. The first night I did see a 40 knot gust at one stage but I was ready for it. I got the third reef in and the storm jib up. We were alright. I am fine, absolutely fine, just looking forwards to getting past Ushant and get away. I always think you start racing at Finisterre but the main objective just now is just to get around Ushant. I am eating properly now after my stomach upset, so I am all good.” Knox-Johnston’s Grey Power was up to 12th in the class, while Finland’s Are Huusela is in eighth on his Class 40 Neste Oil.

11 abandons

1. Thomas Coville (Ultime – Sodebo Ultim’) : collision with cargo ship
2. Bertrand de Broc (IMOCA – Votre Nom autour du Monde) : elbow injury and pilot damage
3. Alain Delhumeau (Multi50 – Royan) : dismasted
4. Loïc Fequet (Multi50 – Maître Jacques) : float damaged
5. Erik Nigon (Mulit50 – Un monde sans sida) : mainsail shredded
6. Gilles Buekenhout (Multi50 – Nootka Architectes de l’urgence) : rudder broken
7. François Angoulvant (Class40 – Team Sabrosa SR 40MK2) : lost keel
8. Marc Lepesqueux (Class40 – Sensation Class40) : lost keel
9. Nicolas Troussel (Class40 – Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne) : injury
10. Thierry Bouchard (Class40 – Wallfo.com) : injury
11.Arnaud Boissières (Class40 – Du Rhum au Globe) : technical problem

 

Sodebo Damage (Photo  © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

Sodebo Damage (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

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

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