Spindrift 2 has had its first sail following the winter optimisation, spending a night at sea criss-crossing the Bay of Biscay. The control was there straight away and the boat ran like clockwork. The 2014 season has begun and it has started well for Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard’s team. This week, the Spindrift team will be racing on Lake Geneva as they begin the D35 training.
Spindrift 2 criss-crosses the Bay of Biscay
With 15-25 knots of wind and a full moon in a cloudless sky, the weather rolled out the red carpet for the maxi-trimaran during its first offshore trial run from La Trinité-sur-Mer. 'The season has started and it's great,' Guichard said. 'What a pleasure to be sailing again and rediscovering this boat. Things felt really good out there and the technical assessment has been very positive too. After the changes we made, Spindrift 2 is behaving as expected. With the crew, we feel that the boat is still safe and sound, but lighter and more responsive. We also really improved the speed of the manoeuvres. Overall, although we still have work to do calibrating all the sailing instruments, to match the numbers to these feelings, the team can be proud of what they’ve done.'
Dona Bertarelli was equally happy on the trimaran on which she will attempt to beat the North Atlantic record this summer. 'After the long winter and the considerable amount of work needed in the boatyard, it was a real pleasure to be back on board with the whole team for the first sail,' an enthusiastic Bertarelli said. 'Spindrift 2 has lost nothing of its aura or its dynamism, quite the contrary. Shining with the colours of our new partners, she looked better than ever on the water. You should’ve seen the smiles on everyone’s faces when we did the first unfurl (of the headsail)…we were quickly up to 35 knots.'
The area covered by the 40-metre trimaran in the 30 hours of this first offshore trip in the Bay of Biscay show just how much a boat like this compresses distances. 'We headed out due west, to the limits of the European continental shelf before descending below Arcachon and then returning via l’Ile d'Oléron, so we could check everything on board,' Bertarelli said. 'The new rig had 25 knots of wind and passed the tests. That is a crucial point for this year because we’ve adapted the mast for the twin programme of records: the crewed ones and the solo Route du Rhum. The sail plan was also fully tested at all points of sail and I take my hat off to North Sails, they’ve done a very good job. So, we have taken one big step successfully. The performance work can start now.'
This week, Dona, Yann and the crew of the D35 catamaran Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing will meet at Versoix, Switzerland for the first week of training before the start of the annual Vulcain Trophy championship scheduled for May 9 with the Grand Prix des Ambassadeurs (Société Nautique de Genève).
Between Lake Geneva and the Atlantic coast, the women and men of Spindrift are engaged on all fronts. The sporting deadlines are approaching and race against the clock continues. After a few days of work for the technicians at the team base in La Trinité-sur-Mer, on April 28 the sailors will be back on board the maxi trimaran Spindrift 2. On the horizon is the delivery to New York and then Newport, where the boat will begin, from the start of June, its official stand-by period, waiting for a good weather window in order to attempt to break the supersonic North Atlantic and 24-hour records.