Dublin. Ireland. 20th June 2016. The Volvo Round Ireland Race . Musandam-Oman Sail set a new record for the fastest-ever sail round Ireland when the team crossed the finish line at Wicklow in 38 hours, 37 minutes and 7 seconds. Skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) with team mates Damian Foxall (IRL) and Fahad Al Hasni (OMA), Jean Luc Nelias (FRA), Yasir Al Rahbi (OMA) and Sami Al Sukaili (OMA) Credit : Lloyd Images

Dublin. Ireland. 20th June 2016. The Volvo Round Ireland Race . Musandam-Oman Sail set a new record for the fastest-ever sail round Ireland when the team crossed the finish line at Wicklow in 38 hours, 37 minutes and 7 seconds. Skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) with team mates Damian Foxall (IRL) and Fahad Al Hasni (OMA), Jean Luc Nelias (FRA), Yasir Al Rahbi (OMA) and Sami Al Sukaili (OMA)
Credit : Lloyd Images

Musandam-Oman Sail set a new world record for sailing around Ireland* and posted a sensational victory in the 2016 Volvo Round Ireland Race after a cliff-hanger finish with just minutes separating the three giant trimarans on the line.

Arriving back in Wicklow Bay, after a thrilling contest with the other MOD70s, Phaedo and Concise, for most of the 700 nautical mile course, Sidney Gavignet’s crew were exhausted but exhilarated by their victory and the new record, which they had set themselves last year beating Steve Fossett’s longstanding Lakota record from 1993.

They crossed the finish line at 03:47 local time as dawn was breaking after setting a new time of 38 hours 37 minutes and 7 seconds, which was more than two hours faster than their previous time of 40 hours, 51 minutes and 57 seconds set last year.

Racing with just six crew, including Oman’s three leading offshore sailors Fahad Al Hasni, Yasir Al Rahbi and Sami Al Shukaili, Musandam-Oman Sail claimed line honours while Phaedo 3 were hot on their heels and arrived six minutes later with the third MOD70, Concise 10 trailing by a single minute.

Musandam-Oman Sail 2016 (Photo by Lloyd Images)

Musandam-Oman Sail 2016
(Photo by Lloyd Images)

The final few moments turned their race upside down, said Gavignet, since for most of the time, they had been chasing the other boats until an opportunity came up to take the lead less than a mile from the end.

“It feels fantastic because at times we were slower than the other boats and I was thinking we might finish last and lose our record but a few minutes before the finish we had a bit of luck and were close enough to the others to take advantage.

“The guys showed real commitment – we had no watch system so didn’t sleep much and didn’t use the bunks to keep more weight at the back so they were sleeping on the floor and on wet sail bags. They have been grinding a lot and worked really hard so they are exhausted but happy.”

It had been without question the most demanding race he had ever done, added Irishman Damian Foxall as he stepped off the boat, but coming out on top represented a new high in his long career.

“I have done a few round the world races but this was up there as one of the best,” he said.

“Racing with six meant one or two less than the other boats so we only had one hours sleep each at the most but being so close to the other boats was so motivating and intense.

Dublin. Ireland. 20th June 2016.  Credit : Lloyd Images

Dublin. Ireland. 20th June 2016.
Credit : Lloyd Images

“We knew at times we were off the pace but we kept pushing hard and found opportunities to come back into the race. There was a reasonable chance we were going to lose our record so Sidney was fairly tight-lipped coming down the east coast but it is very satisfying to win AND set a new record because this race is not for the faint hearted.”

Al Hasni, who shared helming duties with Gavignet and Foxall agreed it had been tiring but rewarding.

“We are really happy with this result; it makes me very proud to raise the Omani flag in Ireland for the second time with this world record – we dedicate our win to the Sultanate of Oman.

“In the last few miles, we were aware that there were potential passing lanes near the coast so we moved into position which worked and we were able to gain the advantage when it mattered most.

“It was really hard and we thought we had missed our opportunity but those last few minutes turned it round so we are very happy.”

David Graham, Oman Sail CEO, was delighted with the team’s performance: “This was one of the most difficult challenges that the guys on Musandam-Oman Sail have faced, I could hear the smile on Fahad’s face when he answered the satellite phone when I called them as they crossed the finish line to congratulate the team on both the victory and the record.

“We are especially pleased that Fahad, Yasir and Sami are an integral part of the race crew for a second Round Ireland Record – the team has been working hard and it is great to see their efforts pay off. This experience and success is key to their pathway. They had world class mentors on board with Sidney, Damian and Jean Luc [Nelias] and it all worked to deliver our desired result.”

The crew will return to training immediately after food and sleep in preparation for the delivery to Quebec, Canada, where they will set off on the Transat Quebec – St Malo Race across the Atlantic on July 10, returning to Europe for an action-packed summer season of events.

*pending ratification by World Sailing Speed Record Council

Dublin. Ireland. 20th June 2016. The Volvo Round Ireland Race . Musandam-Oman Sail set a new record Credit : Lloyd Images

Dublin. Ireland. 20th June 2016. The Volvo Round Ireland Race . Musandam-Oman Sail set a new record
Credit : Lloyd Images

 

 

Gryphon Solo 2  by George Bekris Atlantic Cup

Gryphon Solo 2 by George Bekris Atlantic Cup

 

Time to Beat: 137 Days 20 Hours Set by Chinese Sailor Guo Chuan in 2013

 Newport, Rhode Island – Long time U.S. short-handed sailor, Joe Harris, announced his plans today to attempt to break the non-stop solo Around the World Record for 40-foot monohulls. Harris will make the attempt in his Class 40, GryphonSolo2. The attempt will be made in accordance with the rules of the World Sailing Speed Record Council, who will time the start and finish in Newport, RI. Additionally, a “WSSRC Black Box” will be installed on the boat, the data from which will be used to ratify any claim by GryphonSolo2, that the existing record of 137 days, 20 hours, 01 minute, 57 seconds, set by Chinese sailor Guo Chuan in 2013, has been broken.

Joe intends to leave Newport on a favorable weather window at the beginning of November. To qualify for an Around the World record, Joe will sail from Castle Hill Light in Newport, returning to Newport, leaving Antarctica to starboard. The attempt is an approximate distance of 26,700 nautical miles. To beat the current record, Joe will need to average 195 miles per day, or roughly 8.2 knots/hour.

Joe Harris stated, “I have been hoping, planning and dreaming of racing around the world since I was about 20 and now I am 55. I have come dangerously close to doing this twice; first with my Open 50 GryphonSolo in 2008 in the Velux 5 Oceans Race, before it was postponed. I then bought my Class 40 GryphonSolo2 in 2011 with the express purpose of racing solo around the world, but alas, there is no longer a race, as the Global Ocean Race will not run again. So, being ‘all dressed up with nowhere to go’, I have decided to ‘just do it’ and in turn attempt to break the speed record for a 40-foot monohull.

 There is no other sporting event in the world that runs for 137 days, 24 hours day, in which you are the only athlete on the playing field racing against the clock. So this will no doubt be the greatest challenge I have ever faced and I would be lying if I said that the prospect of being alone on the great oceans of the world for four months is not an intimidating thought. It is. But in the end, this will provide me the greatest test that I can imagine. So I look forward to engaging with anyone who would like to follow the record attempt, from the preparation, to the start, to the communication from sea, to my return to Newport in, hopefully, anything less than 137 days.” 

 

Throughout the next five months, Joe will be actively training for his around the world record attempt. In addition to multi-day training sails, Joe will also participate in Block Island Race Week (double-handed Navigators Division), Marblehead-Halifax (double-handed) and the Ida Lewis Distance Race.

 

In preparation of the attempt, GryphonSolo2 has undergone a major refit at Maine Yacht Center including:

  • ·       New auto pilots installed.
  • ·       New solar panels and hydrogenerator installed for offshore energy production
  • ·       Keel and rudders removed, inspected and reinstalled.
  • ·       New set of sails built specifically for the record attempt.
  • ·       Mast completely stripped and re-painted.
  • ·       New Iridium satellite communication system.
  • ·       New computer and navigation system.

 

 

Gryphon Solo 2 by George Bekris 2014

Gryphon Solo 2 by George Bekris 2014

About Joe Harris

Joe grew up sailing on Long Island Sound, being mentored by his father, Woody Harris and his grandfather Hans Rozendaal, both experienced offshore racing sailors.  With 4 trans-Atlantic crossings, 9 Newport-Bermuda races, 5 Marblehead to Halifax races, 5 Bermuda 1-2 races, 3 Atlantic Cups and numerous international miles sailed, Joe has logged over 60,000 offshore ocean miles, while owning 5 boats over a span of 30 years.

After graduating from Brown University in 1981, Joe spent the next seven years as a boat builder in New England during the winters and commercial fisherman in the summers in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Joe sailed offshore frequently in his twenties, racing to Bermuda and delivering boats to and from Europe and the Caribbean, before buying a C&C 40 he named Shiva.  Joe migrated to double-handed sailing aboard Shiva, and ultimately sold Shiva to purchase the Aerodyne 38 Gryphon, which he campaigned aggressively.

In 2004 Joe purchased an all-carbon Finot-Conq designed Open 50 that he named GryphonSolo, which he campaigned in the solo Transat and the Transat Jacques Vabre. In 2011, Joe purchased an Akilaria RC 2 Class 40 named GryphonSolo2 with the intent of racing solo around the world.

Joe is married to his wife Kimberly and they have three children (Griffin- 17, Emmett- 11 and Sophie Grace-8) and live in South Hamilton, MA.  He is involved in real estate investment, development and project management when not sailing.

Career Highlights:
1st – 2014 Atlantic Cup
4th – 2013 Atlantic Cup
3rd – 2012 Atlantic Cup
1st – 2007 Bermuda 1-2 – Overall and set the course record
1st – 2006 Newport-Bermuda – Open Division
1st – 2005 Transat Jaques Vabre (France-Brazil) – Double-handed
2nd – 2004 Transat (Plymouth, UK- Boston, MA) – Single-handed

About GryphonSolo2
GryphonSolo2 is an Akilaria RC2 Class 40. The Akilaria RC2 is the second generation of Class 40s designed by Marc Lombard and built by MC-Tec. She was launched in 2011 in LaTrinite, France.

The Sultanate of Oman’s MOD70 Musandam -Oman Sail trimaran skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA). Shown here as the team cross the line and set a new world record for sailing round Ireland in 40h51m57s (unofficial - official to follow) Credit - Lloyd Images

The Sultanate of Oman’s MOD70 Musandam -Oman Sail trimaran skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA). Shown here as the team cross the line and set a new world record for sailing round Ireland in 40h51m57s (unofficial – official to follow)
Credit – Lloyd Images

The Ministry of Tourism of Oman’s flagship MOD70 Musandam-Oman Sail made history for the Sultanate this morning when it broke the 22-year-old Round Ireland record after completing the 700 mile course in a remarkable 40 hours, 51 minutes and 57 seconds, slashing almost four hours off the existing record.

The Sultanate of Oman’s MOD70 Musandam -Oman Sail trimaran skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA). Shown here as the team cross the line and set a new world record for sailing round Ireland in 40h51m57s (unofficial - official to follow) Credit - Lloyd Images

The Sultanate of Oman’s MOD70 Musandam -Oman Sail trimaran skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA). Shown here as the team cross the line and set a new world record for sailing round Ireland in 40h51m57s (unofficial – official to follow)
Credit – Lloyd Images

They needed to be back by 1500 to take the record but their breakneck speeds down the west coast of Ireland, at one stage reaching 38 knots, meant they were finished well before that, some three hours and 50 minutes faster than the 44 hours and 42 minutes set by Steve Fossett in his first ever world record back in September 1993 aboard his 60ft trimaran Lakota.

Helmsman Fahad Al Hasni said this record attempt coming at the end of a European winter, had proved tough.

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“It was both scary and exciting because we saw 40 knots of wind and massive waves that we reckoned were around six metres but the main challenge was the cold,” said Al Hasni.

The Sultanate of Oman’s MOD70 Musandam -Oman Sail trimaran skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA). Shown here as the team cross the line and set a new world record for sailing round Ireland in 40h51m57s (unofficial - official to follow) Credit - Lloyd Images

The Sultanate of Oman’s MOD70 Musandam -Oman Sail trimaran skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA). Shown here as the team cross the line and set a new world record for sailing round Ireland in 40h51m57s (unofficial – official to follow)
Credit – Lloyd Images

“It is still winter here and my hands were so cold I still can’t feel them but I’m really happy because there have been some very famous sailors who have made attempts on this record but we are the ones who now hold it. We have become a really good, tough team and it feels great to be part of it.”

It had been a challenging but amazing experience for the Omani sailors, added Gavignet, who was full of praise for his crew.

The Sultanate of Oman’s MOD70 Musandam -Oman Sail trimaran skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA). Shown here as the team cross the line and set a new world record for sailing round Ireland in 40h51m57s (unofficial - official to follow) Credit - Lloyd Images

The Sultanate of Oman’s MOD70 Musandam -Oman Sail trimaran skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA). Shown here as the team cross the line and set a new world record for sailing round Ireland in 40h51m57s (unofficial – official to follow)
Credit – Lloyd Images

“This was a real test for them and they came through with flying colours – the whole crew put in a great effort.

“We had to be very careful in these conditions and had no choice but to slow down at times but to have achieved the record so early in our season is a great feeling. It had been a priority and now it is done.”

The Sultanate of Oman’s MOD70 Musandam -Oman Sail trimaran skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA). Shown here as the team cross the line and set a new world record for sailing round Ireland in 40h51m57s (unofficial - official to follow) Credit - Lloyd Images

The Sultanate of Oman’s MOD70 Musandam -Oman Sail trimaran skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA). Shown here as the team cross the line and set a new world record for sailing round Ireland in 40h51m57s (unofficial – official to follow)
Credit – Lloyd Images

This was Musandam-Oman Sail’s second attempt on the Round Ireland record. Two years ago they set off from Dublin Bay with high hopes but were forced to abandon due to unsafe conditions.

Today was a different story and everyone on board was delighted to add this one to their burgeoning collection.

“This is a great accomplishment for Oman and Oman Sail,” said David Graham, CEO of Oman Sail.

“Attempting to break the Round Ireland record has been our goal for many years now and achieving the feat is a shining example of the hard work and dedication of our sailing squad.”

“Racing against yourself to set a time is the hardest test of discipline. The team must remain focused and motivated at all times, and we have instilled these values since the start of the Oman Sail programme.

The Sultanate of Oman’s MOD70 Musandam -Oman Sail trimaran skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA). Shown here as the team cross the line and set a new world record for sailing round Ireland in 40h51m57s (unofficial - official to follow) Credit - Lloyd Images

The Sultanate of Oman’s MOD70 Musandam -Oman Sail trimaran skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA). Shown here as the team cross the line and set a new world record for sailing round Ireland in 40h51m57s (unofficial – official to follow)
Credit – Lloyd Images

“With a 50% Omani crew, this record shows that the present and the future of sailing in Oman is on the right course.”

*** Times subject to World Record Sailing Speed Council ratification

The Sultanate of Oman’s MOD70 Musandam -Oman Sail trimaran skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA). Shown here as the team cross the line and set a new world record for sailing round Ireland in 40h51m57s (unofficial - official to follow) Credit - Lloyd Images

The Sultanate of Oman’s MOD70 Musandam -Oman Sail trimaran skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA). Shown here as the team cross the line and set a new world record for sailing round Ireland in 40h51m57s (unofficial – official to follow)
Credit – Lloyd Images

Musandam-Oman Sail Crew by Mark Lloyd

The Sevenstar Round Britain Race 2014. Musandam-Oman Sail MOD70 Trimaran sets a new world record and finishes the race in 3days 3hours 32minutes 36 seconds. Beating the current record by 16 minutes. Skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) and team mates Yassir Al Rahbi (OMA), Sami Al Shukaili (OMA), Fahad Al Hasni (OMA), Jan Dekker (SA), and co-skipper Damian Foxall (IRL) Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images )

Musandam-Oman Sail on top of the world after breaking Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Record by 16 minutes

Musandam-Oman Sail have set a new world record for sailing round Britain and Ireland after shaving 16 minutes off the current record and taking line honours in the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race after a nail-biting end to a remarkable three days.

An exhausted but jubilant Sidney Gavignet and his crew of Damian Foxall, Fahad Al Hasni, Sami Al Shukaili, Yassir Al Rahbi and Jan Dekker crossed the Cowes finish line at 12.42.36 BST on Thursday 14th August 2014.

Their time for the 1956 nms course was 3 days 03 hours 32 minutes and 36 seconds which was just 16m 38s faster than the previous World Record set by Banque Populaire 5 in 2011. They averaged an incredible 23.8 knots all the way round the course and had no idea until they crossed the finish line that they had taken the record.

“We didn’t realise we had broken the record until we crossed the finish line,” said Gavignet.

“We got to St Catherine’s two hours before doing 30 knots but suddenly there was a cloud and no wind so we thought our chances had gone. But we kept working and working and finally we made it 16 minutes before the time limit.”

There was plenty of luck involved, he added.

“The weather was exceptional…I doubt you could find better for the Round Britain and Ireland Race except for two little clouds at the finish. We went round Great Britain and the islands without a tack, only gybes. No tack, zero tacks. That is rare possibly unique.

 The Sevenstar Round Britain Race 2014. Musandam-Oman Sail MOD70 Trimaran sets a new world record and finishes the race in 3days 3hours 32minutes 36 seconds. Beating the current record by 16 minutes. Skipper Sidney Gavignet (FRA)  Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images

The Sevenstar Round Britain Race 2014. Musandam-Oman Sail MOD70 Trimaran sets a new world record and finishes the race in 3days 3hours 32minutes 36 seconds. Beating the current record by 16 minutes. Skipper Sidney Gavignet (FRA) Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images

“It’s amazing to beat Loick Peyron and his boys on Banque Populaire 5 which is almost two times bigger than us. I kept saying there is no way we can beat that boat so it is a surprise. I’m a happy skipper.”

Musandam-Oman Sail also knocked a massive 2 days 17 hours and 52 minutes off the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race Record of 5 days 21 hours 26 minutes 55 seconds set by Franck Cammas’ monohull Groupama in 2010.

For the first time, Musandam-Oman Sail was racing with three Omani sailors in a total crew of six, with Sami Al Shukaili and Yassir Al Rahbi joining Oman Sail’s flagship boat just one month prior to the race.

“It was my dream to race on the MOD70 when I joined Oman Sail,” enthused Al Shukaili.

“I pushed myself hard to lose weight and to sail hard every day to get into shape for the MOD70 and Fahad gave me a big push to sail with him. I knew there was a time to beat to break the record but at the finish I wasn’t sure if we had done it. But I saw everyone was happy so I was happy with them.”

Gavignet paid tribute to his Omani crewmembers, especially his two new recruits.

Musandam Crew  (Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images)

Musandam Crew (Photo by Mark Lloyd / Lloyd Images)

“They were not seasick, which is impressive and did not get tired and had a fantastic attitude. They picked up a lot of things on this trip and gained valuable experience. We have found two new Omani sailors which is great for us, great for them and great for Oman Sail.”

Fahad Al Hasni has been with Musandam-Oman Sail from the day it was launched in 2012 and has many thousands of trimaran racing miles under his belt but this world record represented a special moment in his career, he said.

“It was good fun and it is great to come back with the record and to have the boat in one piece. Everyone is good and we are happy to have a crew that is half Omani for the first time and feel it is a really big thing to have done.”

Ireland’s foremost offshore sailor Damian Foxall has raced around the world seven times yet he too said this world record was one of his finest achievements.

“I would put this record up at the top of my list of achievements – the enormity hasn’t really sunk in yet!” he said.

“Just to put things into context, two of our Omani crewmates had only stepped on to the MOD70 at the beginning of the season and they have made huge progress.

“The fact that we were able to push that hard around the course is a reflection of the crew’s ability and bodes well for the future of Oman Sail – we are on the right track.”

The stars of the show, according to Jan Dekker, one of the most experienced offshore sailors in the world but racing a MOD70 for the first time, were the ‘amazing’ boat and crew.

“Amazing conditions but mostly an amazing boat,” he said.

The Sevenstar Round Britain Race 2014. Musandam-Oman Sail MOD70 Trimaran sets a new world record and finishes the race in 3days 3hours 32minutes 36 seconds. Beating the current record by 16 minutes. Skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) and team mates Yassir Al Rahbi (OMA), Sami Al Shukaili (OMA), Fahad Al Hasni (OMA), Jan Dekker (SA), and co-skipper Damian Foxall (IRL) Credit - Lloyd Images

The Sevenstar Round Britain Race 2014. Musandam-Oman Sail MOD70 Trimaran sets a new world record and finishes the race in 3days 3hours 32minutes 36 seconds. Beating the current record by 16 minutes. Skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) and team mates Yassir Al Rahbi (OMA), Sami Al Shukaili (OMA), Fahad Al Hasni (OMA), Jan Dekker (SA), and co-skipper Damian Foxall (IRL) Credit – Lloyd Images

 

“Doing 30-35 knots all the time. It was quite brutal – I have sailed ORMA 60s a fair bit but this was full on. The only thing you can do down below is to hang on. The three Omanis were great – some more experienced than others but all totally at home on the boat.”

Tributes started pouring in as soon as Musandam-Oman Sail’s success was confirmed.

“This record is a testament to hard work all round,” said David Graham, CEO of Oman Sail. “Sidney and Damian have dedicated much of their time training our Omani sailing squad in all aspects of offshore sailing.

“Our Omani sailors have soaked that up over the last couple of seasons and worked hard in self-improvement. The world record beating crew was 50% Omani Nationals and this is a real achievement. We are a step nearer our goal and I am delighted for all the sailors.”

Yassir Al Rahbi (OMA), Sami Al Shukaili (OMA), Fahad Al Hasni (OMA) Credit - Lloyd Images

Yassir Al Rahbi (OMA), Sami Al Shukaili (OMA), Fahad Al Hasni (OMA) Credit – Lloyd Images

When the celebrations have died down and the crew taken a well-earned rest, Gavignet will be on the move again, fitting his ‘solo’ kit to the MOD70 and kicking off his preparations for the single-handed Route du Rhum in November.

“We will have a little rest and a chat then head back to Lorient with our solo kit – our first single handed experience on this boat. I’m not sure what it will be like sailing solo on this boat. I think it will be tough so I will need plenty of luck. It is easy to capsize these boats so it will be about staying upright.

“This is a great way to finish our crewed season – a real high point, before going into the next phase towards the Route du Rhum.

“I think Musandam-Oman Sail and I can go quite fast together. I know the challenge is massive but it is a gift for me and I will go step by step.”

The record is yet to be ratified by the WSSR Council.

Musandam Round Britain and Ireland

The Sevenstar Round Britain Race 2014. Musandam-Oman Sail MOD70 Trimaran sets a new world record and finishes the race in 3days 3hours 32minutes 36 seconds. Beating the current record by 16 minutes. Skippered by Sidney Gavignet (FRA) and team mates Yassir Al Rahbi (OMA), Sami Al Shukaili (OMA), Fahad Al Hasni (OMA), Jan Dekker (SA), and co-skipper Damian Foxall (IRL) Credit – Lloyd Images

Spindrift 2 at Newport shipyard awaiting weather window for North Atlantic record attempt  ( Photo by George Bekris )

Spindrift 2 at Newport Shipyard awaiting weather window for North Atlantic record attempt ( Photo by George Bekris )

 

Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard will not get the chance this year to break the North Atlantic Record.  Mother Nature would not play ball .   With no weather in sight to propel the Maxi-Trimaran Spindrift 2 and give it a chance to break the North Atlantic Record the team plans to leave their dock at Newport Shipyard on Monday, August 18th or Tuesday the 19th.

It’s a shame they never got the opportunity to give the record a decent go.  They were all set to attack the New York to Lizard Point record of 3d 15h 25m record if the winds could only have cooperated.   They did not.

The team has stayed busy all summer with other Spindrift programs, projects and events, but it still must be a disappointment to them not having a chance to break the record.  Hopefully they will bring this Maxi Trimaran back to the east coast of America again in the near future to give the North Atlantic Record  a run.

Yann Guichard said it well back in the early summer as he spoke of their preparations “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.”

Best wishes and Bon Voyage to the team and we wish them a safe journey back over. Yann Guichard will now prepare the boat for his solo attempt at the Route du Rhum in the fall.

Spindrift 2 , Newport June 4, 2014  (photo by George Bekris)

Spindrift 2 , Newport June 4, 2014 (photo by George Bekris)

Few records have been attempted more often than the North Atlantic crossing. To sail from New York to Lizard Point in less than 3 days and 15 hours requires both an experienced crew and an exceptional machine such as Spindrift 2, combined with ideal weather conditions. “For a multihull to achieve such a feat on this route, you need a depression that crosses the ocean at the same speed as the record so that you can ride ahead of it on a flat sea,” explains Richard Silvani, a Météo France meteorologist who is Spindrift racing’s onshore route-planner. “This summer’s weather has made any record attempt impossible,” he says. “The anticyclone located at 50 degrees north, directly above our intended route, has prevented depressions from crossing the ocean between America and Europe. Even today’s 10-day forecasts predict no change in the situation.”

After two and a half months of weather-watching, it is time for Spindrift racing to bring the 40-metre maxi-trimaran back to its home port of La Trinité-sur-Mer. Yann Guichard has expressed his frustration, which is shared by Dona Bertarelli and the crew, at missing out on this opportunity to sprint across the North Atlantic. “You simply have to accept that only the weather can pave the way for record attempts,” he says. “Ever since breaking the Route de la Découverte record last year, we were keen to take on this iconic route. We knew that the record would be tough to beat, but we were fully prepared and ready to go. I would like to thank the entire team. They have been fantastic, and their efforts will stand us in good stead as we start to get ready for next year’s record attempts, notably the Jules Verne Trophy (around-the-world, non-stop). ”

Back to France.
Spindrift 2 will leave Newport on August 19th. Yann Guichard will use the return trip as preparation for the upcoming Route du Rhum. “The technical team is currently setting up the boat for single-handed racing,” he says. “When I am with the crew, it is like being an orchestra conductor, but for the Route du Rhum, I will be alone on the stage. I will be up against the leaders of single-handed sailing, which is not really my speciality. That said, I have many other strengths, in particular extensive knowledge about sailing on multihulls. With three months to go, I am immensely excited about this challenge, yet I appreciate the need to be meticulous with my preparation. Training will start straight away with this Atlantic crossing, which presents an ideal opportunity.”

A gruelling autumn for Spindrift racing.
Spindrift racing will now enter an exciting phase of the season, competing in the final stages of the D35 championship on Lake Geneva, whilst preparing for the Route du Rhum. “We have a gruelling end to the year,” explains Dona Bertarelli. “The D35 Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing will resume competition at the end of August, racing in the final three Grand Prix regattas of the season, whilst Spindrift 2 will gear up for the Route du Rhum. From now on, Yann must focus on competition and performance. With the full support of the team, my aim will be to allow Yann to forget about all other aspects and remain concentrated on the challenge that awaits him. We want him to be in the best possible physical and mental state when he arrives on the start line on November 2nd.”

 

©Th.Martinez/Sea&Co.  BELLE ILE - BRITANNY- FRANCE . Maxi "SPINDRIFT 2" skipper Yann Guichard (FRA) en entrainement solo au large de Belle Ile, en vue de la Route du Rhum. *** Maxi "SPINDRFIT 2" skipper Yann Guichard (FRA) training solo offshore Belle ile ( Britttany-FRA) before Route du Rhum.

©Th.Martinez/Sea&Co. BELLE ILE – BRITANNY- FRANCE . Maxi “SPINDRIFT 2” skipper Yann Guichard (FRA) en entrainement solo au large de Belle Ile, en vue de la Route du Rhum. *** Maxi “SPINDRFIT 2” skipper Yann Guichard (FRA) training solo offshore Belle ile ( Britttany-FRA) before Route du Rhum.

Loïck Peyron and Maxi Banque Populaire V Crew Break Record (Photo courtesy of milletunevagues.com)

Loïck Peyron and Maxi Banque Populaire V Crew Break Record (Photo courtesy of milletunevagues.com)

It was 11:06:58pm last Friday when the Maxi Banque Populaire V finished the Tour of the British Isles, bringing to 3 days 3 hours 49 minutes and 14 seconds the reference time held until then by Sidney Gavignet, single handed. Less than a month after having shattered the SNSM Record, Loïck Peyron and his men catch a new title to their conquests by improving the Record by more than a third, by 1 day 11 hours 20 minutes and 13 seconds.
On Friday July 1, the Team Banque Populaire set sail for a week at sea to train the Maxi and her men to offshore sailing. Originally planned as a training course to prepare for the next Jules Verne Trophy scheduled for the end of the year, this session quickly became, thanks to good weather, in a record attempt around the British Isles. “We left Lorient for training. We quickly found ourselves as Nelson’s fleet at the time of the Napoleonic wars and we stationed at the entrance of the Channel, on the lookout, between France and England. The Maxi Banque Populaire V is a record hunter and whenever there is a prey to seize, she does not hesitate. The weather gave us a great opportunity …”. Seizing the opportunity offered to them, the thirteen sailors on board then chose to defy the clock and the time set in 2010 by Sidney Gavignet, then alone aboard his trimaran “Oman Air Majan”.

Pachyderms in the North Sea
Tuesday, July 5, in the early evening, the Maxi Banque Populaire V thus cut the imaginary starting line off Lizard Point to begin a cautious night in the Pas de Calais strait :  ” It was a tough night as the traffic is impressive in that area. I opted for a reasonable solution to meet this heavy traffic by standing on the sidelines. We then went for the North Sea under unfriendly conditions but which allowed us to enjoy the amazing show of these large pachyderms that are platforms. It is always fascinating. Something probably masculine with this machine standing in the middle of the sea “.

Relative Calm on the Shetlands
Getting her own pace by deploying her full potential so easily, the maxi trimaran continued her progress towards the Shetlands in the north of England and swallowed the 1 787 milles with an incredible regularity.

Under reduced visibility and with the picture that can be made of navigation in these areas, Loïck Peyron and his crew were forced to slow down “We had a difficult sea passing these islands and the conditions were really tough. It is ultimately the only time we did not push 100% on the boat. “Rare moment of calm quickly erased by a briskly navigation until the end along the Irish coast, around the Fastnet and until the last mile, when the competitive spirit of these enthusiasts sailors, seeking performance, made them easily reach 40 knots.

A “world tour” rythm

Once this UK loop completed at the average speed of 23.34 knots, the skipper from La Baule, obviously pleased with this new experience shared with twelve men on board, gave way to an initial assessment: “It was very nice and very informative and I was able to deepen my knowledge on the boat. We have sailed as if we were sailing around the world in accordance with shifts and with the precise number of people on deck. We have revised the choreography adapted to each maneuver and turned everyone at different positions. Versatility is key aboard this type of boats. Finally, I have discussed a lot with Juan Vila, navigator, of weather and strategy. We worked with Xavier Revil on the food aspects and reviewed plenty little details with Pierre-Yves Moreau. Tomorrow we will all meet at 6:15 on board for a group debriefing “.

The Maxi Banque Populaire V left the Channel to join her Lorient base for a few days before returning at sea, first for training and then for racing, on the Rolex Fastnet Race which departure will be given on August 14 at Cowes. For Loïck Peyron and his men, the opportunity will once again be seized to confront offshore sailing, diverse competition and to gather more miles in the perspective of next winter’s round the world loop.

Windy Day For Groupama 3 (Photo Courtesy Of Team Groupama)

Windy Day For Groupama 3 (Photo Courtesy Of Team Groupama)

The Jules Verne Trophy now belongs to ten men who have sailed around the globe at an average of 18.76 knots along the optimum course, beating the reference time set by Orange 2 in 2005 by 2 days 08 hours 35 minutes. Franck Cammas and his men crossed the finish line off the Créac’h lighthouse at Ushant (Finistère) at 21h40’45” UTC Saturday 20th March. They are due to make the Port du Château in Brest at around 0900 UTC tomorrow. 

The skipper Franck Cammas, navigator Stan Honey, watch leaders Fred Le Peutrec and Steve Ravussin, helmsmen/trimmers Loïc Le Mignon, Thomas Coville and Lionel Lemonchois, and the three bowmen Bruno Jeanjean, Ronan Le Goff and Jacques Caraës, supported on shore by router Sylvain Mondon, have pulled it off: they have beaten the round the world record under sail via the three capes!

In 48 days 07 hours 44 minutes, Groupama 3 has certainly had her highs and lows, as she hasn’t always been ahead of the reference time set by Bruno Peyron and his crew in 2005. On the contrary! The giant trimaran had a deficit of just over 500 miles in relation to Orange 2 and was only able to beat the Jules Verne Trophy record thanks to a dazzling final sprint from the equator. At that stage they had a deficit of one day and two hours, but by devouring the North Atlantic in 6 days 10 h 35′, Groupama 3 quite simply pulverised the reference time over this section of the course. 

groupama-3-crew-after-arrival-at-lizard-point-by-benoit-stichelbaut-seaco

 

Setting out on 31st January 2010 whilst the weather `window’ was not particularly favourable, Franck Cammas and his men have alternated between some extremely fast sequences and some very slow ones. Indeed, the conditions were very varied on this round the world, and even the wind rarely exceeded 40 knots. It has to be said that the chosen trajectory sought to avoid the heavy seas and the overly strong breezes, which considerably increased the distance to travel: in fact Groupama 3 sailed 28,523 miles whilst the official optimum course amounts to 21,760 miles. As such, in terms of actual speed across the ground, the giant trimaran maintained an average speed of 24.6 knots! The trickiest zone, both on the outward journey and the return proved to be the South Atlantic. During the descent problems arose due to the calms and on the ascent due to the headwinds.

Tonight Groupama 3 is remaining offshore of Ushant to await daybreak: she will enter the channel into the harbour of Brest at around 0830 UTC under sail, then a parade around the harbour will culminate with her tying up in the Port du Château at around 1000 hours UTC. A number of France’s top sailors, including Bruno Peyron, previous Jules Verne Trophy holder since 2005, have made the trip to Brest to welcome in the victorious crew and the locals are planning to come out in force to welcome home the ten round the world sailors on Sunday morning.

Fred Le Peutrec At The Helm Of Groupama 3 and Loic Le Mignon At His Side (Photo Courtesy of Team Groupama)

Fred Le Peutrec At The Helm Of Groupama 3 and Loic Le Mignon At His Side (Photo Courtesy of Team Groupama)

In the disturbed air flow spread all over the Atlantic, Groupama 3 carries on its rapid progress towards the finish line and substantially increases its lead over the reference time. The arrival at the Créac’h’s lighthouse is still scheduled for Saturday, but the time frame remains open all day as the low pressure area could slow down the giant trimaran. 

If the departure’s weather window was narrow, the gates of arrival are now wide open! But 1 500 miles away from Ushant, Franck Cammas and his men are not done yet with changing conditions: by having to approach the center of low pressure which is currently pushing the giant trimaran, the wind will become more unstable and should suddenly change from South-West to North-West. The wind will also strengthen to over thirty knots with gusts in the squalls and the crew will therefore have many maneuvers to undertake until the entry of the Gulf of Biscay.

“The sea is short, the wind is not very stable: it does not slide that much. But the sky is very clear unlike yesterday. On Wednesday night, we got it all: the wind went from six to thirty knots! With a flood of rain on top of that. Since we went through the front, everything is going much better, from wind to sea. However it will evolve as we get closer to the center of the low pressure area.” Franck Cammas indicated during the videoconference from 1230 with the Groupama’s Race HQ in Paris in the presence of culinary presenter Jean-Luc Petitrenaud. 

Sunset From Groupama 3 (Photo Courtesy of Groupama 3)

Sunset From Groupama 3 (Photo Courtesy of Groupama 3)

 

Front Canvas…
After 46 days at sea, the crew is starting to get impatient and although the distance between land and the sailors is reduced by great surfs; we felt during the video conference with Franck Cammas that the crew was eager to return to their family … and to normal food!

“We’re going to have a good steak because dried food looks more like dog food! Eating is not a pleasure every day: luckily we got fish dishes and sauces prepared by Philippe Rochat to get some taste … We are sailing too fast to fish and we have only raised a small flying fish out of this world tour, so small that we returned it to the sea ”

The finish meal will still wait until Saturday as, by then, the crew will have to be fit and ready for the tough, but also irregular finish: the front will force men to reduce the sail and during those nights with almost no moon, navigation is always a bit stressful, especially when they have to maneuver. Without counting the shipping traffic which will intensify towards the approach of Cape Finisterre and a sea state to be degraded on arrival on the Continental Plateau. 

 

Loic Le Mignon (Photo Courtesy of Team Groupama)

Loic Le Mignon (Photo Courtesy of Team Groupama)

And front swells…
“We’ll have a rough night coming as it is always difficult to touch a low pressure center: the wind is very irregular and the sea becomes chaotic as the waves mingle with the West great swell! These phases are unpleasant and risky for the equipment. We still have 24 hours a bit tricky … We’ll have to navigate carefully, but quickly because we must not be overtaken by the low pressure or we may have to negotiate even more difficult conditions! We do not hesitate in giving a hand to the guys on watch for the maneuvers and for sails changes, to avoid fatigue and constantly adapt to this changing wind. ”

Groupama’s Race HQ moves this Thursday evening in Brest to prepare the arrival of the giant trimaran which should see the Brittany coast on Saturday. Once this low pressure area is passed tomorrow night, ETA (estimated time of arrival) can be refined to one or two hours. However, so far, the opening is between 8:00 and 20:00 (French time) depending on sea conditions and the wind regularity, as if the clock of the Jules Verne Trophy shells minutes, the yo-yo effect of the weather can change the “cooee” time ! 

Thomas Coville (Photo Courtesy of Team Groupama)

Thomas Coville (Photo Courtesy of Team Groupama)

 Day 45 (17th March 1400 UTC): 441 miles (lead = 412 miles)
Day 46 (18th March 1300 UTC): 579 miles (lead = 828 miles) 

 

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