Yann Guichard – the French of the French Maxi trimaran Spindrift 2 – is hoping against hope for a perfect weather scenario for he and his crew when they set off on a non-stop around-the-world record attempt tomorrow.
After two and a half months of stand-by, the giant black and gold 40 metre trimaran Spindrift 2 is set to leave for a new attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy non-stop around the world record.
The fully-crewed round the world sailing record was set in 2017 by Francis Joyon’s crew, who completed their lap of the planet in 40 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes. Now Spindrift 2, skippered by French yachtsman Yann Guichard is planning to leave the port of Brest for the start line off Ushant on the afternoon of Tuesday January 15.
To beat the 40 days achieved by IDEC Sport in 2017 Guchard’s Spindrift 2 crew will need the unified support of the weather gods to keep conditions remaining favourable.
The team has been stuck waiting for the last three months, confined to the dock by an unending stream of weather particularly unsuitable for setting around the world records.
“We have been on stand-by since November 5 and there has been no real opportunity to get around the world quickly,” said Spindrift skipper Yann Guichard.
“I have never experienced a winter like this! We need to cross the equator in about five days, but we risk getting ahead of a front and having to sail to port, which is not very typical. But if we wait for this front to pass, we would then suffer at the hands of the Azores anticyclone.
“We are anticipating leaving the dock in Brest on Tuesday afternoon to reach the line off Ushant, and look to start in the early hours of the Wednesday morning, between midnight and three o’clock, but this is to be confirmed,”
By starting on Tuesday/Wednesday, the crew projects crossing the equator after five days and then hooking into a system in the South Atlantic, which could allow the team to cross the longitude at the Cape of Good Hope in less than twelve days.
This is the system preferred by the land-based weather router, Jean-Yves Bernot, for the team to reach the Indian Ocean in good time.
“The Doldrums remain unknown, but at this time [of year] they are often not too bad and we can see that the trade winds are running parallel between North and South,” Guichard said.
“Also the Southern Atlantic is not blocked, but after ten days, the forecasts are less reliable. We aim to be in time to catch a depression off Brazil. It would be nice to have a day in the bag at the entrance to the Indian Ocean. Francis completed this part of the course very quickly, and it will be difficult to do better,”
12 on board
Guichard has selected eleven crew, which includes the core of his team: Christophe Espagnon, Francois Morvan, Xavier Revil, Jacques Guichard and Erwan Israel.
Also in the lineup are Thierry Chabagny, the Briton Sam Goodchild, Erwan Le Roux and Lyonnais Benjamin Schwartz, Australian Jackson Bouttell, with Switzerland’s Duncan Späth completing the onboard team.
“We are twelve aboard on this attempt compared to fourteen in 2015, but we also have a smaller mast,” he said. “Below twenty knots of wind, we are less efficient in VMG mode, so we need to have sustained conditions – which might make the transition phases a little more difficult.
“On paper, the trimaran has the potential of Joyon’s multihull and perhaps, under certain conditions and with a weather similar to his, we will be able to break the record. However, all the stars must be aligned.”
The team gathered in Brest on Monday to make final preparations for the giant trimaran’s latest round the world attempt.
Spindrift 2 crewlist:
Yann Guichard (skipper)
Erwan Israel (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 (onshore router)