Spindrift racing cancels North Atlantic record attempt

Published on August 15th, 2014

Newport, RI (August 15, 2014) – The wait is over for Spindrift racing. On stand-by since the beginning of June, Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard and the rest of the team will abandon their attempt to break the Crewed North Atlantic Record today and will prepare to sail home to France.

Bertarelli and Guichard sought to better the record of 03:15:25:48 set by their 40m (131.23-feet) trimaran in August 2009, known then as Banque Populaire 5. To be successful, their average speed must be in excess of 32.94 knots over the distance.

Since their arrival in Newport, an unusually powerful anticyclone located at high latitudes has starved them of any opportunity to take on the record. There is no time to relax, however, and Spindrift racing must now focus on the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, which will depart from Saint-Malo on November 2. Technical staff in Newport are already hard at work, configuring Spindrift 2 for single-handed racing to ensure that everything is ready for Yann Guichard to set sail alone.

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 19. 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 2.”

Update provided by Spindrift racing

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