For the Record: Express to the Canaries

Published on October 31st, 2013

(October 31, 2013) – There is no time for a warm-up lap for Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard’s 131-foot maxi trimaran Spindrift 2 in the attempt to beat the Discovery Route record. From the start on October 30, the largest racing trimaran in the world has frequently averaged speeds over thirty knots, enjoying the good north wind that has established of the Moroccan coast.

The track record for the first 17 hours of the race reflects the formidable efficiency of the boat and its 14-man (and woman) crew, as the long starboard tack taken last night by the giant multihull east of Madeira had this morning placed them almost 180 miles “virtually” ahead of Groupama 3, the distance record holder. They are 97.59 miles ahead as of 22:45:38 UTC.

A first gybe, a heavy manoeuvre to change tack was performed shortly after 5:00 am, allowing Dona and Yann from this point to trace an almost direct course, always clear and at high speed toward Gran Canaria, compulsory course mark; the main island of the Canary Islands but be left to starboard, following the same historic route taken by Columbus in the late 15th century. Comparisons stop there – for what took the legendary Genoese navigator’s three caravels more than 6 days to reach Las Palmas, could take Spindrift 2 under 24 hours, if they reach the archipelago tonight.

It seems a double gybe will be needed to slip in between Fuerteventura in the east and Gran Canaria to the right, with a bracing wind of over 20 knots from the north-northeast. The initial part of the transatlantic course could therefore continue at a fast pace.  We have the trade winds, and if the sea state allows for an orderly regular swell, the incredible potential of Spindrift 2 should continue showing the high numbers on the speedometer. The first identified weather obstacle comes in the form of areas of transition that will need to be carefully negotiated.

News from on board:
The first night went well.  We had more wind than expected under a beautiful starry sky with no moon. It is beginning to get wet.  There have had some good peaks at 44 knots in a rough starboard cross sea. It is pretty difficult to helm and to sleep too! The sun is rising and we have just put a reef in, Dona.

Crew of the maxi Spindrift 2 for The Discovery Route:
Dona Bertarelli
Yann Guichard
Xavier Revil
Jean Baptiste le Vaillant
Antoine Carraz
Thierry Douillard
Christophe Espagnon
Sébastien Marsset
Nicolas Texier
Erwan Tabarly
François Morvan
Thomas Rouxel
Simone Gaeta
Erwan Israel

Weather routing : Richard Silvani

Time to beat : 7 days, 10 hours, 58 minutes, 53 seconds
Current record : Groupama 3 (Franck Cammas) in 2007
Distance : 3884 milles (WSSRC); Cadiz, Spain to San Salvador in the Bahamas, via the Canaries

To follow the record attempt:

• Map showing Spindrift 2 positions updated every 15 minutes can be seen

• A dedicated “Discovery Route” site with information on the record attempt and the crew on board Spindrift 2

• Daily news update each morning with will have a brief summary of the record attempt, show the time difference against the current record holder, update on the past hours, the games ahead etc…

• Daily weather update provided by Richard Silvani, the Spindrift racing team router, looking at the situation and forecast for the record attempt

• Daily log book entry sent from the boat by one of the crew

• Photos and videos sent from on board to follow the adventure more closely

• Follow the social media accounts on Facebook with Spindrift racing and Twitter @spindriftracing

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