In the 2013 Route des Princes, just after noon, the MOD70 trimaran, Spindrift, took second place in the first offshore stage between Valencia, Spain and Lisbon. This stage, rounding the Iberian Peninsula, saw a spectacular victory for the trimaran, Oman Air-Musandam, skippered by Sidney Gavignet. Despite a surging comeback in the early hours of the morning, Yann Guichard and his five-man crew could not bridge the gap forged by the Omani trimaran in the first battles leaving Valencia. Guichard congratulated his opponent for the perfect management of the race, while also welcoming the good performance of his own team in consistently keeping second place and staying at the highest level, which he knows is perfect recipe for his team to do well in the final analysis. 'Firstly, a tribute to Oman sail and Sidney Gavignet,' Guichard said. 'They deserved to win and owe their success to their talent. Of course we made some mistakes, but they took the risks, sailed well and sealed a great victory.' While the rest of the MOD70 fleet tacked in close sequence at the Benicarlo mark, to the north of Valencia, Gavignet was more inspired, heading resolutely further offshore. His immediate competitors, including Spindrift, groped along the Spanish coast. 'I admit I wasn’t convinced by the Oman option,' Guichard said. 'We felt that there was more to lose than win, so we compromised between the coast and the sea.' In the early hours of the race, Oman sail showed the rest their heels and drew an advantage that proved decisive. Along the peninsula the fleet continued to face a highly unstable wind which was predominantly hitting them on the nose of their multihulls. 'We made every effort to close the gap,' Guichard said. 'This course is so magnificent, particularly at this time of year, with bright sunshine, a beautiful sea and wonderful views. We sailed along the enchanting coast and shared some great moments.' The highlight of this stage may have been passing under the Pillars of Hercules at Gibraltar 'making 25 knots in the sun, and on a roll…' The men of Spindrift; Pascal Bidégorry, Erwan Tabarly, Jacques Guichard, Christophe Espagnon and Xavier Revil kept believing until the end that they could overtake Oman Air-Musandam. Spindrift benefited in their quest from the unexpected but precious company of the Maxi trimaran, Prince de Bretagne, which was competing in a different category – the 'Ultimate' class – but whose course mirrored Spindrift’s after entering the Alboran Sea. Both multihulls marked the other, tacking on top of each other, exchanging places with each windshift. 'It was quite extraordinary and unexpected,' Guichard said. 'This close-quarter competition partly explains our comeback on Oman. As we jostled with Prince de Bretagne, it made us faster and pulled back a few miles on Oman.' Spindrift finished 45 minutes behind Oman Air-Musandam who, after the bonus points awarded at each mark, took the lead in the overall standings. 'We were second, but always lying in ambush,' Guichard said. 'Xavier (Revil) will take the tiller for the inshore races and continue our good start to the competition.' With other commitments, Guichard will be on the plane back to Geneva tomorrow for the famous Bol d’Or, where he will be onboard the Ladycat Powered by Spindrift catamaran with his wife Dona Bertarelli. Revil, who shone in the inshore races in Valencia will be helming Spindrift for the inshore regattas in Lisbon. 'He has my full confidence,' Guichard said. 'I know his talent and the crew is now together. We have all been getting on very well. I leave with no concern.' Pascal Bidegorry: 'I have some really beautiful pictures in my head; especially the arrival in Lisbon, reaching on a roll. I have a great memory of Gibraltar, I have passed there many times, but I know it’s beautiful and always warrants more attention. It was a good race, interesting.' Erwan Tabarly: 'I‘m really happy to be on the multihull and sail on Spindrift with this team. It was a relaxed atmosphere even though we were always on the attack. We’re a little frustrated at not winning the stage. It was the first time I passed Gibraltar in the daytime. It was not simple because of the wind conditions, but they were manageable. It was nice to sail side-by-side with Prince de Bretagne, they would not let go.' Xavier Revil: 'It feels a little frustrating but we sailed well and we stayed in contact with Oman and Prince de Bretagne. It allowed us to tune the boat. The crew works well and we fought well.' Christophe Espagnon: 'It was a first stage and all upwind so in a short space of time we had to make many adjustments. But it was not very hard physically, what was important was to stay focused. We had to find the right route for each gust. ' Jacques Guichard: 'The course was really good. From the off, Oman Air-Musandam were ahead quickly. Fortunately, there was Prince de Bretagne next to us, which allowed us to have a direct competitor, even if it is not the same (class of) boat. During the stage, we were able to close on Oman Air-Musandam repeatedly but not enough. We really wanted to catch them up.' Stage classification between Valencia and Lisbon for MOD70: 1. Oman-Air Musadam (Sidney Gavignet) : Race Time: 2d 23h 41min 38s 2. Spindrift (Yann Guichard) : Race time : 3d 0h 26min 30s 3.Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) 4. Virbac-Paprec 70 (Jean-Pierre Dick) Spindrift Racing
Spindrift racing (MOD70), at the arrival of the Leg 1 between Valencia and Lisboa for the Route des Princes 2013.