Spindrift 2 preparations to continue off Brittany coast

SPINDRIFT 2 rounding the Fastnet Rock during the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race
Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard will proceed with their preparation on board the maxi trimaran Spindrift 2 this week off the coast of Brittany. A long training session, which should culminate with a round trip to the Azores, begins today in race trim, with the team who won the Fastnet Race in August on board alongside Bertarelli and Guichard. With that under their belt, the plan to sail increasingly in ocean conditions will see the team deliver the maxi to Portimao in Portugal at the end of September.

From there the intention is to attempt to beat the record time for The Discovery Route between Cadiz and San Salvador in the Bahamas (Seven days 10 hours 58 minutes and 53 seconds).

'We'll have a few outings this week with guests on board, and then we will get together at the weekend for three days and nights in the ocean to the coast of the Azores,' Guichard said. The crew of 14 men and women are looking for every edge for sailing the largest racing trimaran in the world. 'This week we will definitely look for stronger winds to test the boat in, but also for the crew to experience more and more extreme conditions that will be close to what we will find on the all great adventures to which we aspire,' Guichard said. Spindrift 2 keeps raising the bar in its quest for performance. 'The Discovery Route is an ideal challenge for Spindrift 2 in building the strength of our team,' Guichard said. 'It’s a beautiful North Atlantic course, but it’s the southern part and meteorologically very complicated and long in duration. We’ve set the bar high, but it’s a very good exercise to test our set-up in ‘competition’. That is something Bertarelli emphasised: 'This boat is amazing; it is manageable and safe, but we feel that we must constantly keep a little in reserve. You can push it safely if you do things in order and correctly, in the permanent anticipation. For this new offshore training session in more testing and sustained conditions, I will be able to learn more at the helm. If there is a favourable weather window early next week, we will try for our first record with a Channel crossing (between Cowes and Dinard). Then it will be The Discovery Route, which will be special as it will be my first Atlantic crossing.'

At the end of September Spindrift 2 will arrive in Portimao, Portugal, close to the starting area off the historic port of Cadiz. 'Portimao has good facilities for our big trimaran' Guichard said. 'We intend to be on standby from October 5.' Once in the Americas, the Spindrift team will join up with a return convoy and have a reduced crew on board 'in order to push a little further our research on the suitability of this boat for a single-handed configuration to assess whether or not we can try and participate in the 2014 Route du Rhum with Spindrift 2,' Guichard said.

Created in 1984, The Discovery Route was originally a crewed race between Cadiz and Santo Domingo. This meant sailing a similar distance to that travelled by Christopher Columbus from August 3 and October 12, 1492 between Palos de la Frontera (near Cadiz in Spain) and Guanahani (christened San Salvador by the discoverer), via the Canary Islands. The 26-metre catamaran, Fleury Michon III, skippered by Philippe Poupon, won the first edition in 1984 in 14 days 14 hours and 49 minutes, with 30 teams taking part. The second edition in 1988 was won by the catamaran Jet Services, skippered by Serge Madec.

But the real initiators of this modern record were Grant Dalton and Bruno Peyron in 2000, on board the catamaran Club Med, in preparation for the round the world race, The Race. The hunter of records, American Steve Fossett, improved the time by more than one day in 2003 on his maxi catamaran PlayStation, finishing in nine days, 13 hours, 30 minutes and 18 seconds.

Franck Cammas on Groupama 3, has owned the record since May 2007 with a time of seven days 10 hours 58 minutes and 53 seconds at an average speed of 21.70 knots.

Crew of the maxi Spindrift 2 for The Discovery Route :

Dona Bertarelli – Skipper
Yann Guichard – Skipper
Xavier Revil
Erwan Tabarly
Antoine Carraz
Christophe Espagnon
Nicolas Texier
Jean Baptiste le Vaillant
Thierry Douillard
Sébastien Marsset
Thomas Rouxel
François Morvan
Simone Gaeta
Erwan Israel

Spindrift Racing website
http://www.sail-world.com/114340