Please select your home edition
Edition
upffront 2018 GFM 728x90

Australian finish for Spindrift 2 in Jules Verne Trophy record attempt

by Spindrift racing 7 Feb 06:59 PST 7 February 2019
Spindrift 2 - Jules Verne Trophy record attempt © Chris Schmid / Spindrift Racing

Shortly after arriving into Fremantle on Wednesday morning (French time) Yann Guichard, the skipper of Spindrift 2, spoke about the situation that led to the team's retirement from their Jules Verne Trophy record attempt, following the breakage of the boat's starboard rudder stock.

After spending five days nursing the boat back to land with the constant worry as to the viability of the damaged rudder, the black and gold trimaran is now safely docked in Fremantle (near Perth, Western Australia) and, after much consideration, the team has decided that the quickest and best solution to repatriate Spindrift 2 back to its home port in Brittany, will be by cargo ship.

"We will remove the rudder and organise the boat in readiness for the cargo ship. We also have a concern over the port rudder, so it could be complicated to get back to our base [in Brittany, France] by sea, especially as we are on the other side of the world. The whole crew, and an additional five from our technical team, will focus attention on preparing the boat for the return trip. We will have to remove the mast and ensure that she is fully ready for the journey," commented Yann Guichard a few hours after arriving in the Australian port.

Waiting for answers

"The starboard rudder stock broke shortly after the Kerguelen Islands. We do not know when exactly, but Thierry Chabagny was helming, said it suddenly felt very heavy. I am positive that we didn't hit anything. We were on port tack heading east-northeast with the downwind gennaker. As it happened at night we tried to establish what the issue might be - whether the rudders were parallel, the tension of the steering cables, or just something stuck on the rudders. But nothing. When we changed helmsman, it was exactly the same - difficult to round up or bear away. It was becoming even more difficult to steer as the boat was doing what it wanted. At first light we were able to see that the starboard rudder stock had broken between the two bearings. The rudder was useless and kept moving sideways - it just did what it wanted," continued the skipper of Spindrift 2.

There is a huge feeling of disappointment as the black and gold trimaran was matching the Jules Verne Trophy record, with a favourable forecast ahead for the Pacific and Cape Horn so Yann Guichard and his eleven crew now want to understand exactly why it happened.

"We will analyse everything, but I cannot pretend that both the crew and I are extremely disappointed: we were well placed within the record time, and with very favourable conditions to come. After our dismasting a year ago, this is the second time that equipment has let us down! But we were lucky not to have lost the rudder, as that could have ripped out the bottom of the hull. So we will be able to establish if it is a manufacturing defect or an error in the structural calculation. We made the journey to the Kerguelen mainly on port tack, but we never pushed the boat more than necessary in the very strong winds. Spindrift 2 goes much faster now than she did three years ago on our first attempt. This time we had all the aces in our hand, although weather conditions in the Indian Ocean were not as favourable as they were for IDEC Sport. It's really frustrating knowing that we didn't hit anything, nor did we do anything wrong."

Increased potential

The weather window at the start of the Trophy attempt was on the team's side they broke the record between Ushant and the Equator (4d 19h 57'). They exploited the potential of Spindrift 2 in this first section of the course, ensuring that they got around the Saint Helena anticyclone, reached the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope, and then passed beneath the Kerguelen Islands, despite the presence of icebergs. When the rudder broke, the crew were still tens of miles ahead of the record time.

"At least we showed that we could go fast, as we have the record between Ushant and the Equator - although we needed to do eight or nine gybes, compared to only the one three years ago! The combination of a smaller mast and new foils meant that the hulls are in the water less so, with less drag, we go faster. And the team was amazing - there was an incredible chemistry between the twelve of us. It was the right number and everyone quickly got into their roles. The changes that we made to the deck roof were also really good, and protected us from the wind and cold. We went to almost 55 degrees South with water at 2 degrees C - a slalom amongst the ice! "

But before considering a new attempt and adjusting the team's sailing programme, Yann Guichard wants time to analyse and fully understand why the rudder stock broke with no warning.

"For the moment, our focus is on understanding why the rudder broke: aside from cost, there is also the delay in building a new rudder and the simple fact that boatyards are very busy at this time of year. If we have to build a new one [rudder], then that will take time. So, it is still too early to know what we are going to do. First we will meet with our stakeholders and look at all the facts and then we will then take time to consider whether we continue with the Jules Verne Trophy programme next winter, or not."

Meet Yann and the crew of Spindrift 2 in Fremantle

Related Articles

Spindrift 2 is back in the water
Whole team onsite at the Multiplast boatyard in Vannes The world's largest racing maxi trimaran spent the past few months being further optimised, and being fitted with new load bearing rudder plates, following the structural failure of the starboard rudder plate during the Jules Verne Trophy record attempt. Posted on 16 Sep
A new Jules Verne Trophy attempt for Spindrift
Yann Guichard has further strengthened his 2019 sporting calendar At the conclusion of the team's 2018/19 promising record attempt in terms of performance, Spindrift 2, which was fully optimised in 2018, remains at the heart of the team's sports season. Posted on 24 Apr
Spindrift 2 forced to abandon record attempt
Rudder cannot be repaired, so Jules Verne Trophy ends At 19h UTC Yann Guichard, the skipper of Spindrift 2, contacted his technical team ashore to report damage to the structure of the starboard rudder. Spindrift racing is challenging for the Jules Verne Trophy. Posted on 1 Feb
Spindrift 2 reaches the longitude of Cape Agulhas
12 days into their Jules Verne Trophy record attempt After 12 days, 14 hours, 58 minutes, Spindrift 2 reached the longitude of Cape Agulhas on Tuesday at 0240 UTC (0340 French Time), sailing from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. Posted on 29 Jan
Equator record for Spindrift 2
In their Jules Verne Trophy record attempt This is the first challenge in the team's quest to beat the round the world record. The time for the passage from Ushant to the Equator still has to be officially ratified by the WSSRC (the international organisation that oversees records) Posted on 21 Jan
Spindrift 2 set for new Jules Verne Trophy attempt
40 days 23 hours 30 minutes is the current record set by Francis Joyon After two and a half months of stand-by, Spindrift 2 is preparing to leave for a new attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy. The crewed round the world sailing record has been held since 2017 by Francis Joyon, who completed the non-stop course in 40d 23h 30m. Posted on 15 Jan
On board when Spindrift was dismasted
Spindrift 2 dismasted at about 1615h today As the giant trimaran made its way to the Créac'h lighthouse (Isle of Ouessant) for a second attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy, Spindrift 2 dismasted at about 1615h today (Monday 15 January 2018) Posted on 16 Jan 2018
Spindrift dismasts on way to Jules Verne start
Sailing just off Point St Matthieu and Camaret in Brittany As the giant trimaran made its way to the Créac'h lighthouse (Isle of Ouessant) for a second attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy, Spindrift 2 dismasted at about 1615h today. Posted on 15 Jan 2018
Attempt on the fastest RTW record begins and ends
Spindrift Racing, skippered by Yann Guichard is planning to start their Jules Verne Trophy attempt Spindrift Racing, skippered by Yann Guichard started their Jules Verne Trophy attempt late tonight (Monday). Posted on 8 Jan 2018
RS Sailing 2019 - FooterAOWBS 2019 BottomNaiad 660x82px_Tourist