Route des Princes - Spindrift first into Ireland

Spindrift - 2013 Route des Princes
© Marcel Mochet
In the 2013 Route des Princes, at sunrise, the MOD70 Spindrift won the second stage between Lisbon and Dublin-Dun Laoghaire. Spindrift crossed the line at 05:37hrs and 48 sec (local time), after 2 days, 15 hours, 37 minutes and 48 seconds of a race that was thrilling, challenging and as eventful as you could hope for, as they were constantly in contact with their opponents.

Yann Guichard and his crew; Erwan Tabarly, Pascal Bidégorry, Jacques Guichard, Christophe Espagnon Xavier Revil, despite the fatigue, wore broad smiles in the fresh Irish morning. They achieved their goals in all respects because this victory propels them to the top of the overall standings ahead of the inshore races scheduled for Saturday and next Sunday in Dublin Bay.

For Spindrift there was the deeper satisfaction of having broken the jinx and erased the disappointment of Dun Laoghaire last year, when they Guichard and his men lost to Foncia by just 31 seconds. Spindrift had only a slightly bigger margin of seven minutes this time, when they emerged this morning in the first light of dawn ahead of Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) and Oman Air- Musandam (Sidney Gavignet). 'The whole race from Lisbon was very tight,' Guichard said. 'It is the nature of the MOD70 class, the game is decided by little things…' Spindrift took the lead at the latitude of Cork, on the southern tip of Ireland, when the north wind hardened. After a brief period of sailing downwind after passing Fastnet, which saw the four big MOD70s racing neck-and-neck, it was a game of chance and tacks on the chessboard of the Irish Sea.

Spindrift had the best of this episode; 'we found ourselves a few miles from the finish with Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Oman Air a stone’s throw behind. It was a very nervous situation after two and a half days of intense racing.' But the concentration of the crew and a boat that is fast in all conditions won through. 'It is true that Spindrift has no 'holes' in performance,' Guichard said. 'Some of the MODs are more powerful in certain phases; Groupe Edmond de Rothschild is really fast downwind, but we are fast regardless of the angle to the wind…'

This second stage of the Route des Princes was a tough test for Spindrift. The Large MODs saw all imaginable conditions; ' Upwind, then downwind in a ‘nasty’ sea with over 25 knots, light upwind and then a then stronger and more sustained upwind; there was something for everyone.' With a healthy dose of risk-taking, like when they flew across the Bay of Biscay, flirting with 30 knots of boatspeed… 'playing very close to the centre of the depression to find the best wind angle for Fastnet…' All the boats were taking risks and in trying to outdo each other paid a high price in fatigue. 'We have finished very tried and tested because the sailing conditions were very hard,' Guichard said.

'The boat was banging hard, and we were completely soaked from the start. We’re not complaining. This is the price to pay for the pleasure of sailing on these machines…'

It is time to rest now today before getting the boat prepped to focus on the rest of the program, with the inshore regattas so enjoyed by Dubliners last year.

Stage classification between Lisbon and Dun Laoghaire for MOD70:

1. Spindrift – Temps de course : 2 j 15h 37min 48s
2. Groupe Edmond de Rothschild – Temps de course : 2j 15h 44 min 32s
3. Oman Air – Musandam – Temps de course : 2 j 15h 45 min et 05s
4. VIRBAC-PAPREC 70 – Temps de course : 2j 16h 12 min 02s

The crew of the MOD70 Spindrift on offshore legs:

Yann Guichard (skipper)
Xavier Revil
Jacques Guichard
Pascal Bidégorry
Erwan Tabarly
Christophe Espagnon

Spindrift Racing