Spindrift 2: Around Cape Horn
Published on December 22nd, 2015
(December 22, 2015; Day 31) – The 40m maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 crossed the longitude of Cape Horn on Tuesday, December 22 at 08:09 GMT, with a nice westerly breeze of 20 knots after 30 days 04 hours and 07 minutes at sea since leaving Ushant: that equals an improvement of 18 hours 11 minutes on the record time set by Banque Populaire V. Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard and their 12 teammates will now head back up the Atlantic for one last 7000-mile dash.
In the final analysis the Pacific has been too…pacific. Because even though Spindrift 2 has been faster than the holder of the Jules Verne Trophy across the largest ocean on the planet (9d 23h 30’ against 10d 15h 07’ for Banque Populaire V), the weather conditions were not as high as the hopes of the crew: the light weather off New Zealand, a low-wind transition zone in the middle of the ocean and short, choppy swell and waves in the approach to Drake Passage. Thus, Orange II keeps the WSSRC Pacific Ocean record it set in 2005: 8d 18h 08’.
With a long swell from the west, Spindrift 2 rounded the legendary Cape Horn in the small hours of the morning (local time) under a few rays of sunshine piercing the clouds caught on the steep slopes of Tierra del Fuego. The black and gold trimaran thus took just over 30 days since leaving Ushant to cross the Drake Passage (30d 04h 07’).
Spindrift 2 has garnered a lead of more than half a day over the holder of the Jules Verne Trophy and can consider the climb back up the Atlantic with a degree of calm. Although sailing conditions off the coast of Tierra del Fuego are a bit unusual, with an area of light winds between Staten Island and the Falkland Islands. Therefore, a somewhat tricky phase is expected until tomorrow, Wednesday, before hooking onto a new Southern depression that will cross the south of Argentina in order to re-join the disrupted flow from the west of the Atlantic.
Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard, and their 12 teammates will enjoy a deserved break after nearly three weeks in the South Seas. Time to do a complete check-up of the black and gold trimaran, air and dry the entire interior, and even prepare a special meal for this holiday season. But there can be no dawdling on the road because the holder of the Jules Verne Trophy set the fastest time on the section of the course between Cape Horn and the Equator (7d 04h 27’). So, it is anticipated that, in the coming days, Spindrift 2 will lose some of the 530-mile lead it holds at the passage of Tierra del Fuego.
“At the start of the Jules Verne Trophy, we set a goal to get to Cape Horn in record time; at best with a two-day lead and at worst a day behind,” notes Dona Bertarelli, just before rounding Cape Horn. “In the end, we’ll have a good half-day lead. Therefore, nothing is decided because Loïck Peyron and his men were like lightning back up the Atlantic. Not unbeatable, but very fast. Since the Equator, where we set a new record, Spindrift 2 has not stopped having trouble with weather systems. First in the Indian Ocean and then in the Pacific: the lead we had acquired melted like snow in the sun in front of ridges of high pressure, troughs and other phenomena regularly blocking the road. I hope that Aeolus (the Greek god of winds) has finished trying to get us with his traps. But I know very well that it’s still a long road ahead. There’ll be more traps, and we’re not going to be able to relax or lose focus at all.”
As of 2100 UTC
Distance to finish: 6860.5 nm
Distance for 24 hours: 471.3 nm
Distance ahead of record: 379.04 nm
Source: Spindrift 2
Background: Spindrift 2 has entered 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