Spindrift: Christmas in South Atlantic
Published on December 24th, 2015
(December 24, 2015; Day 33) – The crew on the 40m maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 is playing a delicate game on the helm and with the trimming in order to keep in the strongest possible wind on the edge of an anticyclone which is moving up to the level of the estuary of the Rio de la Plata in Uruguay. It is requiring a lot of concentration, but it’s also a period of more easily manageable sailing than in recent days, and it is a welcome sight to observe the behaviour of the mast after the delamination problem that was repaired in the last few hours.
After two days heading upwind in choppy seas, this quieter moment will allow them to enjoy celebrating Christmas a bit. So, before negotiating the new strong winds expected on Saturday, and after more than a month at sea going around the world, Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard and the whole crew are preparing to celebrate a Christmas Eve dinner far from their families, but shared with their fellow adventurers. They will have a festive meal and open some presents hidden around the boat. A Merry Christmas like no other!
Following a delamination problem in the lower part of the mast, Yann commented about problem. “We realised late in the morning that there was a part of the mast which had delaminated. We had to reduce the sail area and immediately make an analysis of what had happened in order to consider what repair work was necessary.
We’ve had the sea against us for 48 hours now, I think that’s why we’ve had some damage to the mast, it must have compressed backwards and Antoine (Carraz) is trying to repair it as well as he can, so, for now, we can’t reset the sails. He is repairing the outside and after he’s going to have to repair the inside.
That’s why we’ve been slow for 5/6 hours and the next 5/6 hours are also going to be slow. So, we’re going to lose a bit more ground, but we don’t have much choice, we have to try our best to fix it so we can forget this problem and get back to 100% of the potential of the boat.”
(Then, after some repair work) “Antoine did a great job on the outside, a bravo to him because it was “challenging” up there. We have to repair the inside of the mat but we are going to put a gennaker so that we can glide a bit more to make it easier in the sea, and I think in 4/5 hours we can start sailing normally again.”
Spindrift 2 is slowly moving out of the low-pressure system she was skirting overnight as she made her way northwards. The 30 knot south-westerlies will ease and turn west during the day. Good weather lies ahead in the evening on the approach to a small high moving west to east off the River Plate.
On the Christmas Dinner menu will be a trip around the western side of the high. Great care must be taken on this type of route to properly use the curvature of the wind field and avoid being caught out in the centre, where there is no wind.
Looking a little further ahead, the South Atlantic high is blocking almost the entire ocean, so we will need to tag on to an area of low pressure forming near São Paulo.
Taking this route means close-hauling in 20 knot north-easterlies between December 26th and 29th, but it’s the price the crew must pay to escape the clutches of the high on the 29th and accelerate in the south-east trade winds up to the equator.
As of 2100 UTC
Distance to finish: 5927.3 nm
Distance for 24 hours: 583.7 nm
Distance ahead of record: 109.97 nm
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