Jules Verne Trophy – With a day and a half to go, Spindrift 2 is heading into the storm. It was inevitable that they would have to pass through this cold front that has come from the US coast, and the sailors have done everything to approach it as sensibly as possible.
At 13:00 GMT, the maxi-trimaran gybed in advance of a difficult night, before starting a lively climb towards the tip of Brittany, where it should arrive on Friday, January 8. One large reassuring element is that the forecasts suggest a return to calmer conditions, which will allow the 14 sailors to get back to Ushant on a more settled sea.
Day 46 – 16h00 GMT
1,015 nm behind the current record holder
Distance covered from the start: 27,584 nm
Average speed over 24 hours: 30 knots
Distance over 24 hours: 720 nm
This Wednesday, at noon, Spindrift 2 was sailing between the Azores High and a large Atlantic depression in 35-40 knots of wind. With less than 1,000 miles to Ushant by tonight, Dona Bertarelli, Yann Guichard and their 12 teammates still have a day and a half of difficult sea conditions, which, happily, will improve on the approach to the Breton coast on Friday.
Time to improve the Jules Verne Trophy record runs out this Wednesday at 17:43:51 UTC/GMT when Spindrift 2 should be, as anticipated, approximately 1,000 miles and between 36 and 40 hours, off the pace. Expected in Ushant on Friday, the sailors on Spindrift 2 plan to head to its home port and base at La Trinité-sur-Mer. The record for the Jules Verne Trophy continues to be held by Banque Populaire V (45d 13h 42′ 53′), but Yann Guichard and his crew have shown that the new configuration of the record-holding trimaran is more manageable and efficient in almost all weather conditions.
Unfortunately, whereas on the way south, Spindrift 2 set the new record of 4d 21h 29mins between Ushant and the Equator, the return journey in the North Atlantic has been no more favourable than that in the South, where after rounding Cape Horn with a lead of more than 18 hours, the trimaran lost more than two days.
Happy to finish a great voyage
Before the finish, Yann Guichard’s crew will have to cross an active front sweeping the Azores archipelago on Wednesday afternoon. To protect crew and material, Spindrift 2 has chosen a sensible path on the edge of the anticyclone, but will have to head towards Brittany this afternoon after a gybe in a 35-knot westerly wind.
An active front is moving quickly to the East behind the maxi-trimaran, and it is linked to a very big depression that will sweep the Channel this weekend. The crossing of this cloud mass will see the wind jump to over 40 knots in the squalls, but Spindrift 2 will be on a port tack with its working foil. This tricky period should last only a few hours before a lull behind the front, with the wind swinging round from west-south-west to north-west. As they point towards the Créac’h lighthouse, the sailors will still have to manage a changeable sky with large cumulonimbus full showers and gusts, but the sea should be more conducive for the arrival in Brittany.
Then they will be back, wearier but wiser…
The crew will definitely need to make several gybes before crossing the line and although the vast swell of the Atlantic will be in full effect, it will be more sensible in the vicinity of Ushant. The weather will then deteriorate further this weekend with the arrival of this depression coming from Greenland that will bring winds over 40 knots in the Iroise Sea.
The trimaran will then head to its home port concluding this first attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy in the colours of Spindrift racing and its partners Mirabaud, Genes-x and Zenith. The boat will return to the boatyard to undergo a complete check-up because this great voyage around the world has brought a lot of lessons and knowledge for future challenges.
Spindrift 2 expected to cross the line at Ushant on Friday
The trimaran, Spindrift 2, should cross the finish line of the Jules Verne Trophy off the island of Ushant on Friday, January 8, completing its voyage around the world in just over 47 days. After starting on November 22 at 04:01 (GMT), Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard and their crew beat the Ushant-Equator record, with an impressive descent of four days, 21 hours and 29 minutes, or 17 hours and 25 minutes less than the record holders, Banque Populaire V, then set a new record time between Ushant and Cape Horn, managing to reach the legendary rock in a month; to be exact: 30 days, four hours, seven minutes and more than 500 miles ahead of the holder.
But ultimately it was the weather for the ascent of the Atlantic that has not allowed the sailors on the black and gold trimaran to improve, this year, the time set by Loïck Peyron and his men who, on January 6, 2012, four years ago to the day, managed a time of 45 days, 13 hours and 42 minutes, which is therefore, still the time to beat. For now, with a storm ahead of them still to negotiate, the crew of Spindrift 2 is continuing its return to Brittany to finish its voyage around the world by crossing the line on Friday, before heading to their home port of La Trinité-sur-Mer, where the welcome is being prepared.