Following three months of ambitious boatbuilding, the maxi trimaran Spindrift 2 was relaunched on Wednesday, April 2 in Lorient (France). The largest racing trimaran in the world has been optimised for the demanding North Atlantic and 24-hours crewed records and then for the solo Route du Rhum. As good news never comes alone, the team created in late 2011 by Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard is continuing to develop: Genes-x, a specialist in DNA, has agreed a three-year deal and joins Mirabaud, as a Gold Sponsor of Spindrift racing.
'I congratulate the Spindrift racing team for getting this work done despite such a tight schedule,' Guichard, the skipper, said. With a shorter mast, new sails, new centreboard, new autopilots, general weight loss and a modified deck plan and fittings, the last few weeks have been very busy. 'We look forward to being at sea and enjoying the high performance of this fantastic boat,' Guichard added. 'The changes made for the North Atlantic and the Route du Rhum mean we have the potential for a stronger performance even while we’re pushing Spindrift 2 less hard. I've always tried to sail with finesse, whether in Olympics or offshore and even on a machine of this size, it is possible.'
Antoine Carraz, the technical manager and part of the sailing team, said: 'We are split between stress and excitement. We fixed the date for the launch of Spindrift 2 three months ago; it’s a point of pride for the team to meet that deadline. Most notably we made structural changes which were necessary after the reduction in size of the mast, these were long and complicated tasks. Spindrift 2 is also a huge puzzle with parts coming from all over Europe and the United States. Coordination of all this is a daily challenge that we have overcome.'
All efforts will initially focus on checking the new rig and sail plan. With a shorter mast, cut by six metres, the 'engine' of the boat has changed. 'We will analyse the fixed rigging by load testing on the dock then gradually increase the pressure when we’re out sailing,' Guichard said. On April 10, the high-performance work will begin under the charge of Erwan Israël, who has been sailing with the team for a year and is the navigator for the record attempts.
'We don’t have much time to test Spindrift 2, so we have to get straight to the point,' Guichard added. 'The goal is to establish new speed parameters for the trimaran, both for crewed and solo, i.e. to establish the optimal 'instruction manual' for the machine depending on the different weather conditions encountered. This is a crucial stage, where you have to listen to how the boat feels in conjunction with running the numbers, so you have the most complete picture of the boat.'
Spindrift racing will be on standby in the United States from the start of June. Until then, the crew will train in La Trinité-sur-Mer and then on the delivery to Newport, where Spindrift 2 will be based whilst waiting for a good window to sprint from New York for North Atlantic record. 'This is one of the hardest times to beat,' Guichard said. 'With Dona, we have great confidence in the sailors around us and in their ability to tame this new Spindrift 2. I am also weighing up the size of the task of what awaits me on the Route du Rhum. The intention is not to load excessive pressure on my shoulders but rather to take it step by step. At first, I am going to sail to 'faux solo' with some teammates to gain confidence before rushing into the solo side. It will also be a chance to test specific changes for the Route du Rhum, like the bike to hoist the sails.'
An expert in DNA testing, Genes-x gives everyone the opportunity to learn about their own metabolism and to improve their self-knowledge. Genes-x finds direct applications in the world of sport and will follow the men and women of Spindrift racing for three years. 'We are fascinated by what Spindrift have succeeded in doing and the young, modern and competitive spirit of Dona, Yann and the whole team,' Fabio Cavalli, CEO of Genes-x, said. 'This partnership gives our company the opportunity to work with high-level athletes and to study the genetic details in an extreme situation.'
'I am very proud to have Genes-x with us,' Bertarelli said. 'The commitment of this start-up with high-growth potential is perfectly in line with the ambitions of the team. Innovating and imagining the future is what drives Spindrift racing every day. The expertise of Genes-x is also an exciting asset in helping us to improve our physical, nutrition and endurance preparation for the North Atlantic and Yann’s for the Route du Rhum.' Spindrift 2 technical file
Launched: 26 August 2008
Architects: VPLP and Spindrift racing design team
Boatbuilders: CDK technologies (platform), Lorima (mast), North Sails (sails)
Length of the central hull: 40m
Length of the floats: 37m
Beam overall: 23m
Displacement: 21 tonnes
Hull draught: 5,80m
Air draught: 41m
Mast foot load: 80 tonnes
Maximum load on winches: 14 tonnes
Mainsail: 365m² (310kg)
Gennaker: 440m² (110kg)
Reacher: 292m² (120kg)
Staysail: 166m² (70kg)
ORC: 72m² (115kg) Agenda 2014
June-August: Standby, North Atlantic (NYC-Lizard Point) and 24-hour crewed record.
To beat: Pascal Bidegorry in August 2009 (Maxi Banque Populaire V) with a crossing of 3d 15h 25 min 48s (32.94 knots) and 908 miles in 24 hours (37.84 knots)
November 2: Start of the Route du Rhum-Guadeloupe (Saint-Malo-Pointe-A-Pitre). Spindrift Racing