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Engine-less Jules Verne Trophy attempt

Published on October 14th, 2021

Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard are set to take on the Jules Verne Trophy, held since 2017 by Francis Joyon and his crew in a time of 40d 23h 30’ 30’’. Remodelled for improved performance over the course of last winter, Sails of Change (ex-Spindrift 2) maxi-trimaran will be sailed by an 11-strong crew.

This will be Yann Guichard’s fourth attempt as skipper on this round the world passage under sail, and he is taking on two challenges as he aims to both secure the Jules Verne Trophy and produce all their energy requirements self-sufficiently. Indeed, for the very first time, the whole journey will be undertaken with no auxiliary engine.

“We’re going to take on an additional challenge, since we’ll be attempting to break the round the world record without using any energy produced using fossil fuels. Our main sources of energy will come from the sun and wind, as well as an on-board bike-powered generator. We are keen to show it’s possible,” explains skipper Yann Guichard.

This new energy challenge accompanies a series of technical solutions introduced over the winter, which relate to the cockpit, aerodynamics and central hull, the latter having been shortened by three metres. This latest modification provides improved balance at the helm and reduces vibration aboard the largest racing multihull ever built (37 metres), which has been renamed specially for this attempt: Sails of Change.

Sails of Change is a community of sport and nature lovers, who want to create a sustainable future for our planet. Founders Yann Guichard, Dona Bertarelli and her children are committed to sharing ideas and information, as well as creating partnerships to protect and restore the environment, and working for a sustainable future for all.

The maxi-trimaran Sails of Change will set out from La Trinité-sur-Mer in south-west Brittany to make for the start line off Ushant as soon as there is a favorable weather window, with a standby commencing November 1, 2021.

Ten sailors with complementary backgrounds, five of whom have already circumnavigated the globe, will set sail alongside skipper Yann Guichard on this fourth crewed attempt. Two of them, Thierry Chabagny and Xavier Revil, won the Jules Verne Trophy in 2012, whilst Dona Bertarelli has held the title of fastest woman to sail around the world since 2016.

In all, nine of the eleven sailors have previously been involved in a Jules Verne Trophy attempt. Only Julien Villion and Yann Jauvin will be making their Trophy debut in this legendary international offshore racing event.

2021 crew on the maxi-trimaran Sails of Change
Yann Guichard – skipper
Dona Bertarelli – on-board reporter
Benjamin Schwartz – navigator
Jacques Guichard – Watch leader
Xavier Revil – Watch leader
Jackson Bouttell – Watch leader, bowman
Duncan Späth – sailor
Thierry Chabagny – sailor
Gregory Gendron – sailor
Julien Villion – sailor
Yann Jauvin – sailor, bowman

Jean-Yves Bernot – onshore router

The Jules Verne Trophy is the crewed, unassisted, round the world record under sail. In less than 30 years, the reference time has been halved, from 79d 06h 16’ in 1993 to 40d 23h 30’ in 2017.

Spindrift has made three previous attempts at breaking the record, posting the third best time in history in 2016 and securing the record between Ushant and the equator in 2019. From November 1, the team will be on standby once again for a fourth attempt, flying the flag for Sails of Change.

To put into perspective how difficult it is to win the Jules Verne Trophy, it’s worth noting that out of thirty-three departures off Ushant, just nine of these round the world attempts under sail have been successful:
• Commodore-Explorer in 1993 (79d 06h 16’)
• Enza-New Zealand in 1994 (74d 22h 17′)
• Sport-Elec in 1997 (71d 14h 22′), Orange in 2002 (64d 08h 37′)
• Geronimo in 2004 (63d 13h 59′)
• Orange II in 2005 (50d 16h 20′)
• Groupama 3 in 2010 (48d 07h 45′)
• Banque Populaire V in 2012 (45d 13h 43′)
• Idec-Sport in 2017 (40d 23h 30′)

Source: Spindrift Racing

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