Photos: Eloi Stichelbaut I Spindrift racing

Two days shy

Spindrift 2 completes Jules Verne Trophy attempt, becoming second fastest team to circumnavigate

Friday January 8th 2016, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

The world's largest trimaran, the 40m Spindrift 2, skippered by Yann Guichard, has completed its first Jules Verne Trophy attempt, recording the second fastest time sailing non-stop around the world in history, while Dona Bertarelli has become the fastest woman to circumnavigate.

Spindrift 2 crossed the finish line off Ushant at 15:01 UTC today making her elapsed time for the team's Jules Verne Trophy attempt of 47 days 10 hours 59 minutes and 02 seconds and an average speed of 25.35 knots. On their voyage they sailed nearly 29,000 miles sailed..

Sadly this time did not better that of Loïck Peyron and the crew of Banque Populaire V, Spindrift 2 finishing 1d 21h 16m 09s short of the 45 day 13 hour 42 minute record, set aboard their own boat in its original incarnative. However, Spindrift 2's time is 20 hours 45 minutes 50 seconds faster than that of the previous Jules Verne Trophy record time, set by Franck Cammas on the 31.5m Groupama 3 in 2010 (now Francis Joyon's IDEC Sport).

During their high-speed journey, Spindrift 2 also set three records (Ushant-Equator, Ushant-Tasmania and Ushant-Cape Horn) and for a few hours she held the record for the crossing of the Indian Ocean.

One woman among 13 men on this record attempt - Dona Bertarelli is now the fastest woman to have sailed around the world. She is also the first to complete the Jules Verne Trophy course (Adrienne Cahalan, navigator on Cheyenne didn't technically compete for the Jules Verne Trophy although she was fastest arond the world with Steve Fossett in 2004.

The Spindrift 2 crew comprises Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard, Sébastien Audigane, Antoine Carraz, Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, Christophe Espagnon, Jacques Guichard, Erwan Israël, Loïc Le Mignon, Sébastien Marsset, François Morvan, Xavier Revil, Yann Riou and Thomas Rouxel. They are currently sailing to their homeport of La Trinité-sur-Mer where they are expected to arrive tonight.

On their arrival, they will be greeted by the public and notably a selection of thie schoolchildren who shared the adventure, along with families, friends, project partners, supporters and onshore members of this young Spindrift racing team, who have prepared a warm welcome to the Breton harbour. After the arrival of the trimaran, the sailors will enjoy sharing a drink and some oysters with the public.

Yann Guichard, skipper commented: “The passage south of the Cape of Good Hope was one of the most important moments for me, but then, finishing off Ushant is also a relief - not in the sense of liberation, because I wasn’t a prisoner and I really enjoyed this round-the-world voyage, but it's time I have a little break. Of course, there was a bit of stress, but that’s part of my job.

"This Jules Verne Trophy has been a series of firsts for me: going around the world, rounding the three capes, having so many days on the clock... And I really want to get back out there. The boat is perfectly adapted for this task, we’ll just need the weather to be with us. And then the South Seas, they’re magical. The Indian Ocean was rather grey, but in the Pacific we were treated to some incredible light when we went down to almost 60° South... But I’ll remember all the birds most: the albatrosses, petrels, fulmars and Cape petrels constantly following us.

"My biggest fear was when we hit an unidentified object with the foil: I thought we were going to have to give up. I'm glad we’ve finished because since Cape Horn - and this goes beyond just the effect on the record attempt - the climb back up the Atlantic was as severe on the boat as on the crew.”

Dona Bertarelli, helm/trimmer added: “This ascent of the Atlantic has been long, laborious, and it felt like time was standing still. Fortunately yesterday, we could feel the finish line because we passed the symbolic mark of being 500 miles from Ushant: it was a special moment and I didn’t sleep much last night because there was so much emotion and adrenaline. Completing this voyage around the world allowed me to achieve the goals I had set myself, even if we didn’t beat the record for the Jules Verne Trophy. I have no regrets because the essential thing was to get back to Ushant as quickly as possible and we did everything we could to achieve that.

"The voyage was a great experience for me because we all know each other very well and everyone respected each other’s individualities. It was really nice because it’s a team of real friends. But it’s also because of having been able, somehow, to exorcise my fears, those fears of plunging into the Southern Ocean or being so far from anything. Through writing articles for the schools in France and Switzerland and continuing to communicate with the world and share my experiences, I never felt isolated or alone on this adventure.”

A first one together

The crew was able to withstand a journey across the world's oceans for over a month and a half. The incredible experience accumulated on a voyage around the world showed that the optimisations made the previous winter have paid off: with its mast slightly shorter and much lighter and more aerodynamically efficient, Spindrift 2 was safer in strong wind and easier to handle in moderate winds, without compromising her performance in light airs.

But the three fronts and ridges of high pressure that cluttered the Indian Ocean after the Kerguelen Islands, the Pacific before Cape Horn, and the South Atlantic off Brazil, were too much even for the efforts and perseverance of this crew.

And that was without counting an arduous climb north up the Atlantic due to adverse headwinds off Argentina and Uruguay, and an uncooperative Azores High spanning the breadth of the North Atlantic between the Canaries and Florida.

The whole Spindrift team can be proud of what it has achieved, and that they rose to the challenge and finished the journey despite the problems pitted along the way, such as breaking the lower part of the port foil in the Indian Ocean after hitting an unidentified floating object. It was a collision that caused a crack in the port hull and could have cost them the Indian Ocean record.

Then, later, there was the sudden weakness in the mast (repaired at sea) off Uruguay.

Record times

The 14 sailors have set three new record times on this voyage around the world.

The first came from the start at Ushant to the Equator in 4 days 21 hours 29 minutes, at a staggering average of 30.33 knots on the theoretical route (the shortest route).

The second was between Ushant and the south of Tasmania, the symbolic entrance to the Pacific Ocean, in a time 20 days 04 hours 37 minutes. Spindrift 2 also briefly held the record for crossing the Indian Ocean with a time 8 days 04 hours 35 minutes, which was broken a few hours later by IDEC Sport.

Finally, the third record they set was from Ushant-Cape Horn in 30 days 04 hours 07 minutes, which brought a lead of 18 hours and 11 minutes over Banque Populaire V.

Spindrift racing's partners welcomes home the sailors

Antonio Palma, managing partner and CEO of Mirabaud & Cie SA said: “Mirabaud would like to congratulate the crew of Spindrift 2, who have managed an exceptional round-the-world voyage. All our employees passionately followed the Jules Verne Trophy.”

Fabio Cavalli, CEO and founder of Genes-x added: “I congratulate Dona, Yann and their crew for having successfully completed their round-the-world voyage. I salute their courage and tenacity.”

Aldo Magada, Président & CEO of Zenith said: “Zenith is very proud of being a partner of Spindrift racing and of having had the opportunity to follow this exciting adventure that saw the crew establish new records.” 

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