Ronstan

Spindrift 2 is Fastest to the Equator

Published on January 21st, 2019

(January 21, 2019; Day 6) – Skipper Yann Guichard (FRA) and his 11 crew on the 40 meter trimaran Spindrift 2 have broken a preliminary record today as they seek to claim the round the world Jules Verne Trophy.

Today at 07h45 UTC, by crossing the Equator in 4 days 19 hours 57 minutes (still to be officially ratified), they broke their 2015 record of 04:21:45 which extends from the start line at Ushant to the Equator. This also gives them an advantage of more than 23 hours (180 miles) over the current holders of the Jules Verne Trophy, Francis Joyon (FRA) and his crew on IDEC Sport.

Guichard notes the team has been challenged to stay in the trade winds during their descent of the North Atlantic. “The route to the equator was not easy; we had quite lumpy seas in the lead up to the islands, then we had to gybe a lot and pass right through the Canaries and Cape Verde archipelagos.

“We entered the Doldrums at 2° North. They were not very active, so we had to get through in relatively little breeze, but it was especially nice to have the full moon when we crossed the Equator: we even saw the eclipse! It was beautiful for a good hour.”

However, the team is not out of the Doldrums yet, as they are currently stretching some 120 miles to the south of the Equator. The team will have a challenging six hours or so before they can hook into the south easterly trade winds blowing off Brazil. But the good news is that a strong front is due to leave Cape Frio (off Rio de Janeiro) tomorrow.

“We will leave the Doldrums at about 2° South, and then we will have to get around St. Helena anticyclone that is forming to the East,” noted Guichard. “We will have to go to about 37° South before turning left towards the Indian Ocean. It makes the route longer, especially as we will have to cross a light weather area in three days, but we should then reach favorable NW winds. It will be a relatively slow descent … but we should be a little ahead of Francis Joyon and his crew by the time we reach Cape Aiguilles (South Africa).”

The next goal is the tip of South Africa in which Joyon and his crew crossed the longitude of the Cape Aiguilles after 12d 21h 22m at sea. So, with a 23 hour advantage on this first stretch, Guichard and his crew can hope to stay half a day ahead before entering the Indian Ocean. This same trimaran, when it was Banque Populaire in 2012, took less than twelve days from Ushant (11d 23h 50m).

Spindrift 2 still has some 3,200 miles to reach this longitude but the black and gold trimaran has been averaging 26 knots since leaving Ushant, and covering more than 620 miles a day – including the passage through the Doldrums.

Team detailsTrackerFacebook

CREW OF SPINDRIFT 2:
Yann Guichard – skipper
Erwan Israël – navigator
Jacques Guichard – watch leader / helm
Christophe Espagnon – watch leader / helm
Xavier Revil – watch leader / helm
François Morvan – helm
Thierry Chabagny – helm
Sam Goodchild – helm / bow
Erwan Le Roux – helm
Duncan Späth – helm
Benjamin Schwartz – helm / bow
Jackson Bouttell – helm / bow

Jean-Yves Bernot – router

Background:
The Jules Verne Trophy is 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.

The 12-man crew of the 40 meter trimaran Spindrift 2 led by Yann Guichard began their attempt January 16 at 11h 47min 27sec UTC. To win the Jules Verne Trophy, they have to recross the line by February 26 at 11h 16m 57sec UTC to break the record of 40 days 23h 30m 30s, held since 2017 by Francis Joyon (FRA) and his five crew on the 31.5m VPLP-designed trimaran IDEC SPORT.

Source: Spindrift racing

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