At 1300hrs (French time) today (Sunday, August 11) the maxi trimaran Spindrift 2 began the jewel the crown of English sailing, and its own log book, by taking part in the 45th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race. At the end of a July punctuated by intense and productive training sessions, the two co-skippers, chose to boost the adrenaline with the vital atmosphere of competition, launching the racing campaign of Spindrift 2, the largest racing trimaran in the world.
The famous regatta, starts from the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, traces the British coast, heads round the Fastnet Rock, before returning to finish in Plymouth Bay. The 608-mile course is highly tactical with its specific currents and wind spikes that pave the way into the Channel and the Irish Sea. Guichard and his crew of 13 are beginning, with this classic race, a new chapter in the history of their tall ship. Whilst the forecast conditions leave little chance to think of record times, the level of competition, especially from the other large trimarans, who will make the most of the west southwesterly winds today, means there is plenty to do in order to perform well and it will be a motivation for the Spinrift sailing team, which is so intent on racing efficiently and to the full potential of their maxi trimaran.
'We will leave first, ahead of the Imocas, Class40s and other IRC boats, and with the other large trimarans in the event, by the western Solent,' Guichard said this morning, recounting the joy of, for the first time, getting into the deep end of a prestigious competition at the helm of Spindrift 2. The excellent training sessions have already tightly knitted the top-level crew, who have taken stock of both the potential, but also the demands of the world’s largest trimaran. The goal for this race, in the absence of weather conditions to beat the clock, will be firstly to leave no navigation black marks on this first blank page and also to guarantee the cohesion of the crew and the esprit de corps. The race record, set by the same boat in 2011 in the colors of Banque Populaire V, of one day and eight hours does not seem possible for the Spindrift team faced with upwind conditions and the strong opposing currents of the Solent that will dictate their passage to the Irish Sea and Fastnet.
'Our routing see us arriving in Plymouth overnight from Monday to Tuesday after 1 day and 12 to 13 hours racing,' Guichard said.
'The Fastnet Race is timely for our gradual rise. It is important for the efficacy and cohesion of the crew to be able to run through the many lessons gleaned from the training sessions. The other maxi-multihulls that are in the race are certainly shorter than us, but they have power to weight ratios more suited to the conditions forecast today. We will have some serious competition on the water.'
With only one night at sea, the Rolex Fastnet Race is not yet a real oceanic test, but the men Spindrift 2 will still benefit from the walk through of their watch system. 'Everybody is on deck today, because leaving the western Solent is never easy,' Guichard said. 'There will be plenty of boats on the water (347 boats are entered), and we will need to immediately negotiate the strong currents. At nightfall, we can rotate the watches, with some rest and work. The slightly lower than expected wind means the sea state will not be as big as Fastnet, but it is upwind sailing is waiting for us in the first part of the race, before, hopefully, a fast return to Plymouth downwind…'
The crew on the maxi Spindrift 2 for the Rolex Fastnet:
Dona Bertarelli – Skipper
Yann Guichard – Skipper
Jean Baptiste le Vaillant
by Spindrift Racing
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5:12 PM Sun 11 Aug 2013GMT
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