Spindrift 2: Slipping Off The Record Pace
Published on December 6th, 2015
(December 6, 2015; Day 15) – The north-north westerlies picked up even more strength this morning to the east of Madagascar, enabling the 40m maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 to reach average speeds of around 30 knots once again.
The area of the Indian Ocean where the trimaran has been sailing for the past couple of days remains tricky due to the presence of icebergs south of the course and high pressure to the north. The strategy involves sailing no closer than 50 nautical miles away from the biggest ice, while performing a series of gybes to stay in a ‘corridor’, on a run to the Kerguelen Islands.
The crew has access to satellite images taken by the French specialist agency CLS, which locates the largest icebergs, some of which measure 300 to 400 metres long. Studiously and concentrating hard, members of the crew take turns with the binoculars during the day and with the infrared glasses at night to detect any suspicious silhouettes on the horizon or the slightest foam that might not just be a breaking wave, but the waves of the swell breaking on a frozen wall of ice.
As a result of this dangerous passage, where there is little wind, the team has lost ground on Banque Populaire V’s record. But Spindrift 2 is now back up to speed, and in just a day’s time will reach the Kerguelen Islands, an archipelago that is well known for its fish-rich shallow waters, which attract fishing boats, but also make for a chaotic sea.
As of 2100 UTC
Distance to finish: 14790.2 nm
Distance for 24 hours: 578.3 nm
Distance ahead of record: -315.18 nm
Source: Spindrift 2
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/
SPINDRIFT 2 CREW:
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