Route of Discovery: Spindrift 2 on standby in Portimao
Published on October 9th, 2013
The maxi trimaran Spindrift 2 has arrived in Portimao, southern Portugal, where Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard and their crew of 12 will begin a standby, waiting for an “auspicious” weather window to attempt to beat the Route of Discovery record between Cadiz and San Salvador in the Bahamas. With autumn advancing, the ideal trade wind conditions in the southern Azores are becoming rarer. Richard Silvani, the Météo France meteorologist and advisor for the greatest records, will increase the frequency of his exchanges with Guichard and Erwan Israel and analyse the forecasts to find the most positive parameters which will trigger the attempt. “We are ready for every window which can be found in the next few days,” Guichard says.
Meanwhile, the Spindrift team continues with its meticulous program of getting to grips with the largest racing trimaran in the world. Winning the Fastnet race this summer proved to be both an intense and profitable workout that strengthened not only the understanding of the boat, but the cohesion of the crew. Dona Bertarelli and Guichard, the two Spindrift skippers, have brought together a mix of sailors familiar with trimarans and multihull specialists well-versed in the boats of the Spindrift brand: including the D35 Ladycat and / or the MOD70 Spindrift.
The team is ready, the boat optimised, they are just waiting to find an opening in the weather for this singularly complex route opened up by Christopher Columbus in 1492. A quick descent to the Canary Islands, an express passage between the islands and finding the trade wind motorway highway by good positioning around the Azores high system, this is the ideal scenario. But the advance of the season makes it more than random. “We will not be looking for the perfect window,” Guichard says, “When there is the right wind to allow us to quickly get into the Atlantic, we will try our luck.”
The 21.70 knot average speed of the current record (7 days,10 hours, 58 minutes and 53 seconds ) is well within reach of the maxi trimaran. But the route to the Bahamas can be treacherous, with one, or even more areas of dreaded transition and high pressure which can stop a record and with the weather forecast uncertain beyond five days, it leaves out the last 48 hours of racing in fickle Caribbean conditions.
Crew of the maxi Spindrift 2 for The Discovery Route:
Jean Baptiste le Vaillant
Weather routing : Richard Silvani
Time to beat : 7 jours, 10 heures, 58 minutes, 53 secondes
Current record : Groupama 3 (Franck Cammas) in 2007
Distance : 3884 milles (WSSRC)