Please select your home edition
Edition
Typhoon 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Route du Rhum - Yann Guichard to sail Spindrift 2 solo

by Spindrift Racing on 26 Sep 2014
Yann Guichard hard at work onboard Spindrift 2 Eloi Stichelbaut/Spindrift Racing http://www.spindrift-racing.com/
Multihull expert Yann Guichard will depart from Saint-Malo on November 2nd to take on one of the biggest challenges of his career to date. He will be representing Spindrift Racing, the professional sailing team he manages alongside Dona Bertarelli.

For this 10th edition of the famous Route du Rhum race, he will be alone at the helm of Spindrift 2, a 40-metre maxi-trimaran initially designed to beat crewed records. Aware of the huge stakes, the experienced sailor has worked on the boat assiduously and passionately. Over the past few months, he has put together the pieces to prepare for this unique experience and iconic Route du Rhum. The skipper continues his training off the coast of La Trinité-sur-Mer but, with just month to go, he feels that he is ready technically, physically and psychologically.

In late 2013, amidst deep thought, Yann decided to take the decision in hand: he sailed Spindrift 2 from Miami back to France in single-handed mode. Under reduced sail, he manoeuvred and steered the boat to its home port, proving that the challenge is feasible. With the support of his team, as well Spindrift racing’s partners Mirabaud, Genes-x and Zenith, the skipper decided to take the plunge. Preparations for the Route du Rhum commenced, starting with three months’ work in the boatyard.


Converting Spindrift 2 into a single-handed boat has never been an option, and the trimaran remains first and foremost a formidable weapon for crewed challenges. That said, the Spindrift racing designers and technicians hired by Yann and Dona have used all possible skills to adapt the boat for the 2014 Route du Rhum. From January to March, hidden away in Lorient, the giant of the seas was given a makeover. The mast was shortened by six metres, reducing the sail area by a fifth to make it more manoeuvrable without the help of a crew. The cockpit, meanwhile, was condensed so it could be used by a single-handed sailor. A bicycle was also attached to the deck so that Yann could operate the winches with either his arms or his legs. Finally, an autopilot system – an essential feature for single-handed ocean racing – was both designed and fine-tuned by Spindrift racing. As Yann needs to carefully manage his onboard movements, being unable to be in more than one place at one time, he needs to have the trimaran’s controls within reach. During the race, he will thus live outside under the canopy, in a special pilot’s unit, which will host his computer, his bunk and all other necessary equipment.

The technical changes to Spindrift 2 have required significamt tests out at sea. For Yann, it has been particularly important to ensure that the boat strikes the right balance between performance and safety. Over time, he has had to get to grips again with a boat he knows inside out when sailing with a crew of 14, to see what can be achieved when sailingsingle-handed. This summer, Spindrift 2 was in Newport on standby to attempt the North Atlantic Record and 24-hour distance record. Unfortunately suitable weather conditions did not allow for the record to be attempted, so Yann left the United States in late August with a reduced crew to practise in 'pseudo-single-handed mode'. After hitting a container drifting in the mid-Atlantic, the maxi trimaran made a technical stop in the Azores to replace the damaged starboard rudder. The skipper then departed on his own, sailing for the first time without the support of his crew. Yann arrived in Brittany having earned his official qualification for the Route du Rhum. More importantly, he had built up his confidence, having working day and night with a vast array of sails. Since then, the technical team has been fine-tuning every last detail to ensure that everything is in place for Yann to continue his intense physical daily training regime and navigate Spindrift 2 as much as possible in the Bay of Biscay – a mere 'playground' by comparison, when one is so eager to venture into the deep waters of the Atlantic.

Spindrift racing’s elegant trimaran will be the largest on the start line in Saint-Malo, making it one of the clear race favourites. But Yann is only too aware of the difficulties that lie ahead. The weather will be a key factor, as depressions are notorious for giving competitors a rough ride during these autumnal transatlantic crossings. He knows that with a boat this size, he must get his tactics right and anticipate the conditions to avoid performing manoeuvres that will slow him down and get him caught in unstable winds. Finally, the skipper of Spindrift 2 appreciates that, unlike his opponents, he is not a specialist in single-handed racing, and that his boat was not initially designed and optimised for this form of racing.

Yann is steadily and cautiously making headway in the Ultimate class, the race category which will see eight ocean-going maxi multihulls. The 40-year-old is fully aware of the strength of his partnership with Spindrift 2, but also aware of his weaknesses. The professional competitor is confident that he can rise to the challenge of sailing such a boat in this iconic event, which this year has a record 90 competitors. Don’t miss the start of this epic race! Spindrift Racing

Grapefruit Graphics 2019 - FooterC-Tech 2020 Battens 2 728x90 BOTTOMThe Cruising Village 2021 - FOOTER

Related Articles

Solution Open at the Felpham Regatta
Nine Solutions received a very warm welcome Nine Solutions received a very warm welcome and joined the annual Felpham Sailing Club Regatta on 19/20th June for the first Solution open this year.
Posted today at 2:12 pm
HL BLU - Eco-Responsible Foul Weather Gear
Made without compromise to performance with a Durable, Recycled GORE-TEX PRO face fabric Henri-Lloyd is proud to introduce a new Eco-Responsible choice in technical foul weather gear.
Posted today at 12:30 pm
ITCA Midlands Topper Championship at Notts County
26 young helms race over the weekend It was with great delight that Notts County Sailing Club (NCSC) hosted this annual event and for the 6th time. With 30 pre-entered, including 18 from the host Club along with plenty of wind forecast this promised to be another great Championship.
Posted today at 11:45 am
McConaghy announces hull #1 of MC75 model
The MC75 is lightweight, eco-friendly and fully customisable Designed to offer contemporary on-water living with an apartment-like style, the MC75 is lightweight, eco-friendly and, as with all models in the McConaghy Multihull range, fully customisable.
Posted today at 10:43 am
Live Ocean back expansion of Gulf protection
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke back the move to increase the Hauraki Gulf marine reserves Live Ocean's Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have welcomed the move to significantly increase the marine reserves and other protection measures announced by the NZ Labour Government, on Tuesday.
Posted today at 10:39 am
RC Laser free event at Fleetwood
Lots of potential trip hazards for the skippers walking whilst racing One week on and we were treated to another Sunday by which we could practise our Laser sailing techniques as they are truly not the easiest boats to handle. The forecast was for 8 MPH picking up to about 12 MPH.
Posted today at 10:24 am
Windeler Cup moves to 7th August
The Island Sailing Club has decided to postpone the event Previously, this Saturday formed part of Cowes Week, with a full day's racing for the White Group classes, so an ideal time to run the new Windeler Cup and end a great week of sailing for the 13 classes already in Cowes.
Posted today at 10:13 am
One month to go to British Classic Week 2021
The UK's premier classic yacht regatta set for Cowes The British Classic Yacht Club (BCYC) has confirmed this year's British Classic Week will go ahead from 17th - 24th July. Now in its 19th edition, the regatta will take place despite ongoing Covid restrictions.
Posted today at 10:03 am
ILCA7 50th Anniversary Regatta at Stokes Bay
101 entries roll up for a weekend of Solent magic 101 entries to the ILCA 50th Anniversary Regatta and Masters Qualifier rolled up to Stokes Bay SC for a weekend of Solent magic. What transpired saw Masters and youf mixing it up on a race track that both delighted and frustrated in equal measure.
Posted today at 8:03 am
Merlin Rockets at Starcross
22 boats turn out for Craftinsure Silver Tiller Round 3 The Merlin Rocket sailors arrived at Starcross to a friendly welcome and light SE winds carrying the delectable smell of bacon butties throughout the dinghy park for the Craftinsure Silver Tiller on 19th and 20th June.
Posted today at 6:25 am