Code Green for Jules Verne Trophy
Published on January 8th, 2018
Brest, France (January 8, 2018) – After a long stand-by due to a very active North Atlantic, Spindrift racing is planning to start tonight their race for the Jules Verne Trophy, which is awarded to the outright fastest time by any type or size of yacht which starts and finishes from between the Le Créac’h Lighthouse off the tip of Brittany and the Lizard Point in Cornwall.
UPDATE (January 8, 2018) – Spindrift racing skipper Yann Guichard has made the decision to return to Brest following analysis of this evening’s weather files. The weather window, which mobilised Yann Guichard and his eleven crew to leave Brest at 1800h, did not materialise as expected.
“The weather window has deteriorated. This evening’s files give us an unacceptable time to the Equator and the Cape of Good Hope, it is too much of a risk for a window that was far from ideal in the first place. We have made the decision to return immediately to Brest as there is potentially a more favourable window the evening of the 12th and we will watch carefully how it evolves. We should arrive back in Brest at about 0100h tomorrow.”
The team remains fully committed to achieving their goal of the Jules Verne Trophy but must now wait a few days before going back to sea.
The current Jules Verne Trophy record, set by Francis Joyon and his crew last winter, stands at 40 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes, and Spindrift has spent much of the past two years optimising its 40-metre maxi-trimaran, Spindrift 2, to take on this challenge.
This more favourable weather window comes after a series of depressions and extreme conditions similar to those seen with Carmen and Eleanor in Western Europe at the start of this year. While the North Atlantic still remains complicated, a more favourable weather window is emerging with the arrival of a succession of fronts off the Azores: after an upwind start, a wind shift in the Northwest will allow the team to quickly join the trade winds at the Canaries.
“We have not had an opening since the start of our stand-by mid-November,” says the skipper of Spindrift 2, Yann Guichard. “This is the first opportunity that is emerging but we will start by joining the front to the West that will then allow us to go downwind from Northwest to the Canaries. With the exception of this start, the route looks pretty classic towards rounding the Azores.”
It is anticipated that the team will cross the equator in a little over five days, slightly longer than the time achieved by Spindrift 2 during its first attempt in November 2015 (4d 21h 29s), but it should set a good benchmark against the current crewed record (IDEC Sport 2017: 5d 18h 59s). The aim is to enter the Indian Ocean with a small margin compared to the current Jules Verne Trophy, but also to pull together a favorable meteorological configuration in the Southern Ocean.
“It does not look as if the St. Helena High in the South Atlantic will block us, but let’s face it: we planned a stand-by until the end of January and starting at the beginning of this week, we no longer have a joker to play,” remarked Guishard. “Whether it is a successful attempt or not, there will be no more this winter … So we must make good time (around 12 days) to reach the longitude of Cape Agulhas. IDEC reached this point in 12d 21h 22s but then had a remarkable section across the Indian Ocean.
“Spindrift 2 is ready, the crew is ready, we are happy to leave! The only thing left is to pick up the fresh food this morning and we anticipate leaving the dock at about 1700h and crossing the line late tonight.”
The original time set by Commodore Explorer was for 79 days 6 hours and 16 minutes, and in the intervening 24 years the record has been almost halved and now stands at 40 days 23 hours 30 minutes.
Jules Verne Trophy Crew:
Yann Guichard (skipper): watch the portrait
Erwan Israël (navigator): watch the portrait
Jacques Guichard (watch captain / helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Christophe Espagnon (watch captain / helm / bow): watch the portrait
Xavier Revil (watch captain / helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
François Morvan (helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Antoine Carraz (helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Thierry Chabagny (helm / bow): watch the portrait
Ewen Le Clech (helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Sam Goodchild (helm / bow): watch the portrait
Thomas Le Breton (helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Erwan Le Roux (helm / trimmer): watch the portrait
Router: Jean-Yves Bernot
The Jules Verne Trophy is not any circumnavigation. It recognizes the fastest time by any type of yacht with no restrictions on the size of the crew, and must start and finish from the exact line between the Le Créac’h Lighthouse off the tip of Brittany and the Lizard Point in Cornwall. All winners have been either catamarans or trimarans.
• Start and finish: a line between Créac’h lighthouse (Isle of Ushant) and Lizard Point (England)
• Course: non-stop around-the-world tour racing 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, www.sailspeedrecords.com
• Time to beat: 40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds
• Average speed: 21.96 knots
• Date of current record: January 2017
• Holder: IDEC Sport, Francis Joyon and a 5-man crew
While 18 attempts have failed, here are the nine that have held the trophy:
2017 – Francis Joyon / IDEC-SPORT (31.5m) – 40:23:30:30
2012 – Loïck Peyron / Banque Populaire V (40m) – 45:13:42:53
2010 – Franck Cammas / Groupama 3 (31.5m) – 48:07:44:52
2005 – Bruno Peyron / Orange II (36.8m) – 50:16:20:04
2004 – Olivier De Kersauson / Geronimo (33.8m) – 63:13:59:46
2002 – Bruno Peyron / Orange (32.8m) – 64:08:37:24
1997 – Olivier De Kersauson / Sport-Elec (27.3m) – 71:14:22:08
1994 – Peter Blake, Robin Knox-Johnston / Enza New Zealand (28m) – 74:22:17:22
1993 – Bruno Peyron / Commodore Explorer (28m) – 79:06:15:56
Source: Victoria Low, Scuttlebutt