Spindrift 2: North or South?
Published on December 14th, 2015
(December 14, 2015; Day 23) – The 40m maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 is now on the return journey having crossed at midday on Monday the 180-degree meridian or the antemeridian, which is literally on the other side of the world. The meridian also marks the International Date Line, which gives Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard and their crew a second 14th of December.
The conditions that lie ahead for the trimaran are not straightforward: light and unstable winds due to a system at 60° South that is moving up to the North East. Whilst Spindrift 2 is sailing on a slightly northerly course, to avoid the ice on the shorter southerly route, a lot can yet happen.
An unexpected surprise was to see IDEC SPORT today, as shown in this video.
“The weather situation is quite complicated,” explains skipper Yann Guichard. “Usually, there are a series of depressions that sweep across the Pacific from west to east, but now, instead we’ve got systems that are quite varied and not that windy standing in our way.
“We have an option that is emerging to the south or a northerly option, there are not too many alternatives, therefore the choices are fairly radical and we’ll make a decision on it in the next few hours.
“If we choose the southern route, there is the ice problem, because you have to go very low, where the water will be around 0 degrees for four to five days. We’re crossing the largest ocean in the world, with no one around us, so, if we have a problem at 60 degrees South, that can become quite complicated. If we go there, we must be sure that there is no danger of ice on our route.
“I don’t know if the close presence of the IDEC SPORT crew is changing the way we’re sailing, but we have to watch them a little bit, to look at what they are going to do. The southern route is the one that seems the shortest now on the weather files, but there are a lot of risks. But if they go there, it could tip the balance if we are 50-50 on choosing where or where not to go, but from what I see on the map, they’re intending to take the northern route for at the moment instead.”
There are some complicated choices to be made and tense moments ahead for the Pacific crossing.
As of 2100 UTC
Distance to finish: 10632 nm
Distance for 24 hours: 604.6 nm
Distance ahead of record: -273.74 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