Photos: Eloi Stichelbaut | Spindrift racing

Lighter and more powerful

Spindrift 2 ready to take on the Jules Verne Trophy

Wednesday May 13th 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

The world's largest/fastest maxi trimaran, Spindrift 2, has been relaunched in Vannes, following months of optimisation in preparation for an attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy next winter.

Technology is in the DNA of Spindrift racing and the team has pulled out all the stops to optimise the boat. This development work carried over the winter has been carried out by the research and technical teams put together by Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard.

Fundamental to the change is that Spindrift 2 has been returned to 'full power' having previously had her mast reduced principally in order for skipper Yann Guichard to race this enormous boat singlehanded across the North Atlantic in last autumn's Route du Rhum. As part of the work a new rotating wingmast has been fitted that is 42m tall and 25% lighter.   

Spindrift 2 in her previous guise as Banque Populaire maxi, is the current holder of the Jules Verne Trophy. But the extraordinary time of 45 days, 13 hours set by Loick Peyron and his crew over the winter of 2011-12, will be extremely require the best possible crew and a boat prepared specifically for this highly demanding and extreme course.

“We wanted to build a team which could undertake our own technical and sporting challenges, and enable us to perform well and excel in what we do,” explained Dona Bertarelli. “We are very proud of what we have already achieved and are now excited to return to offshore sailing on Spindrift 2 in preparation for the Jules Verne Trophy.”

The Jules Verne Trophy was the principle reason for Spindrift racing’s decision to acquire the world's largest and faster maxi-trimaran, which at present is probably the only afloat capable of bettering its own time.

For the round the world race course, the maxi trimaran needs to have a much more all round performance than for last year's transatlantic race and, significantly, she will be sailed by a full crew. Spindrift 2 will have to maintain her speed in light winds and transitions, while not having to have so much sail that the boat will have to be constantly reefed.

“We’ve designed a slightly shorter mast than the original one,” explained Yann Guichard. “The structure has been optimised by our design team in conjunction with GSea Design. It was built to the highest standards at CDK Technologies in Europe’s longest autoclave (50m long). It is half a tonne lighter, a weight reduction of a quarter over the original. Add this to the weight reductions made to the sails manufactured by North Sails, and to the rigging, and there is a tonne less weight aloft. This will give the boat more speed and better handling.”

While the rig change is the greatest area of optimisation, several dozen kilos were shed from the deck: one of the original four coffee-grinders has been removed, and the hydraulic system has been refined. All the fittings inside the boat has been reduced to their bare minimum. Everything was scrutinised: “For example, we have changed all of the bags for carrying equipment, boots, clothes and food. This alone has reduced the weight by 35 kg, equivalent to half the weight of a crew member,” explains Guichard.

“We’ve established a technological partnership with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), who are providing us with great potential in many different areas, including on-board power and hydrodynamics. We’ve already introduced some of these innovations to Spindrift 2. Finally, we’ve improved the boat’s aerodynamics. The cockpit roof has been extended aft towards the rear of the cockpit, and the nets have been replaced with tarpaulin in places. To conclude, Spindrift 2 has taken on a new look as we have seek to improve performance wherever possible.”

Once stress tests have been conducted in the docks on the new mast, the team will soon begin to test-sail the boat. The focus will now turn to optimising performance out of her home port of La Trinité-sur-Mer. The trimaran will compete in the Fastnet Race in mid-August then, in October, will go on stand-by for the record attempt. It will be a question waiting for the best possible weather window to set off on the around-the-world record attempt.

Technical specifications:

Spindrift 2 latest vital statistics

Central hull length: 40 m
Length of floats: 37 m
Beam: 23 m
Displacement: 21.50 t
Draft: 5.10 m
Air draft: 45 m
Mast height: 42 m
Mainsail: 405 m²
Gennaker max: 560 m²
Gennaker medium: 450 m²
Gennaker mini: 360 m²
Reacher: 260 m²
Staysail: 170 m²
ORC: 75 m²


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