Spindrift 2: Racing the Front

Published on December 3rd, 2015

(December 3, 2015; Day 12) – The ceiling is getting lower, and the air and water temperatures have fallen below 10 degrees centigrade. The 40m maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 is closing in on the Cape of Good Hope, which they will round later on tonight.

In the race between Spindrift 2 and the famous front with which it has been surfing for more than 48 hours, the weather files were saying Spindrift 2 was losing. The skipper and his navigator had a plan B, and began to seriously consider it when, last night, they found themselves in a strengthening and heading wind. The sky darkened, a squall line appeared on the horizon, and the temperature suddenly dropped. The line of convergence was there, just behind the boat. Behind this line, there was some cold wind on a different angle, which would have condemned Spindrift 2 to gybe.

But conversely, this saving header wind allowed them to dive south and accelerate. The race is on. The helmsmen are taking turns and stringing together astonishing averages. 39, 40, and up to 41kts of average speed over 10 minutes. After two to three hours of furious racing, the team appears to have won the game. The speed of the front slowed and it is now behind Spindrift 2, and will remain there for now. So, Yann Guichard decided to calm things down. The J1 gave way to the J2, and the speed has stabilised at around 35 knots.

Their hard work has paid off, as Spindrift 2 still has a slight lead over Banque Populaire V. The ‘challengers’ actually cut across the track of the titleholder at 15:00 (GMT) today, sailing 35 virtual miles ahead of the pace. The tempo could slow down in the next few hours as they approach a high-pressure cell located beneath South Africa.

As of 2100 UTC
Distance to finish: 16509.9 nm
Distance for 24 hours: 805.5 nm
Distance ahead of record: 64.66 nm

Source: Spindrift 2

Team websiteTrackerFacebook

Background: Spindrift 2 is seeking to claim the Jules Verne Trophy, a prize for the fastest circumnavigation of the world by any type of yacht with no restrictions on the size of the crew, starting and finishing between the Le Créac’h Lighthouse off the tip of Brittany and the Lizard Point in Cornwall.

Yann Guichard (FRA), skippering the 40 VPLP-designed trimaran, crossed the start line on November 22 at 04:01:58 GMT, and his 14-man team must return by 17:43:51 UTC on January 6, 2016 to beat the current record set January 2012 by Loïck Peyron and his crew on Banque Populaire 5 of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds.

Spindrift 2 was originally launched in 2008 as Banque Populaire 5.

MORE: Also starting on November 22 (at 02:02:22 GMT) for an attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy was Francis Joyon (FRA), skippering the 31.5m VPLP-designed trimaran IDEC SPORT. The 6-person team must return by 15:44:15 GMT on January 6, 2016 to beat the record. Here’s a tracker showing both teams: http://volodiaja.net/Tracking/

Yann Guichard, skipper
Dona Bertarelli, helmsman-trimmer
Sébastien Audigane, helmsman-trimmer
Antoine Carraz, helmsman-trimmer
Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, helmsman-trimmer
Christophe Espagnon, helmsman-bowman
Jacques Guichard, helmsman-trimmer
Erwan Israël, navigator
Loïc Le Mignon, helmsman-trimmer
Sébastien Marsset, bowman
François Morvan, helmsman-trimmer
Xavier Revil, helmsman-trimmer
Yann Riou, media reporter
Thomas Rouxel, helmsman-bowman
Jean-Yves Bernot, onshore router

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