Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Route du Rhum : Spindrift 2 in her new configuration...

Spindrift 2 and team. Image copyright Eloi Stichelbaut/Spindrift Racing

- An optimised Spindrift 2 relaunches for crewed records and for the solo Route du Rhum
- The maxi trimaran on standby from the start of June in Newport for the North Atlantic and 24-hour team records
- After Mirabaud (Gold Sponsor) and Zenith (Official timekeeper), Genes-x joins the Spindrift racing team for three years as a Gold Sponsor

by Spindrift Racing media

After 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.

Yann Guichard. Image copyright Eloi Stichelbaut/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." 

Spindrift 2 in the shed. Image copyright Eloi Stichelbaut/Spindrift Racing
8,000 hours of work 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." 

Spindrift 2 emerges from the shed. Image copyright Eloi Stichelbaut/Spindrift Racing
Development: Getting to the point

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." 

Launch of Spindrift 2 in Lorient, 2014. Image copyright Eloi Stichelbaut/Spindrift Racing
Crew and solo preparation, the right mix

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.” 

Dona Bertarelli. Image copyright Eloi Stichelbaut/Spindrift Racing
Genes-x, a new Gold Sponsor for Spindrift racing

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.” 

Dona Bertarelli on board Spindrift 2. Image copyright Eloi Stichelbaut/Spindrift Racing
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 everyday. 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 charges across the Bay of Biscay. Image copyright Eloi Stichelbaut/Spindrift Racing
Spindrift 2 technical file
Launched: 26 August 2008
Architects: VPLP & 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) 

Yann Guichard helms Spindrift 2 in her Route du Rhum configuration. Image copyright Eloi Stichelbaut/Spindrift Racing

The first sail and success on Spindrift 2

- Conclusive technical tests on board the maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2
- Start of training on board the D35 Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing

Spindrift 2 in the Bay of Biscay. Image copyright Eloi Stichelbaut/Spindrift Racing

Spindrift 2 has had its first sail after the winter optimisation, spending a night at sea criss-crossing the Bay of Biscay. The control was there straight away and the boat ran like clockwork. The 2014 season has begun and it has started well for Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard’s team. 

With 15-25 knots of wind and a full moon in a cloudless sky, the weather rolled out the red carpet for the maxi-trimaran during its first offshore trial run from La Trinité-sur-Mer. "The season has started and it's great,” Guichard said. “What a pleasure to be sailing again and rediscovering this boat. Things felt really good out there and the technical assessment has been very positive too. After the changes we made, Spindrift 2 is behaving as expected. With the crew, we feel that the boat is still safe and sound, but lighter and more responsive. We also really improved the speed of the manoeuvres. Overall, although we still have work to do calibrating all the sailing instruments, to match the numbers to these feelings, the team can be proud of what they’ve done."

Hard at work on Spindrift 2. Image copyright Eloi Stichelbaut/Spindrift Racing

Dona Bertarelli was equally happy on the trimaran on which she will attempt to beat the North Atlantic record this summer. "After the long winter and the considerable amount of work needed in the boatyard, it was a real pleasure to be back on board with the whole team for the first sail,” an enthusiastic Bertarelli said. “Spindrift 2 has lost nothing of its aura or its dynamism, quite the contrary. Shining with the colours of our new partners, she looked better than ever on the water. You should’ve seen the smiles on everyone’s faces when we did the first unfurl (of the headsail)…we were quickly up to 35 knots."

Spindrift 2. Image copyright Eloi Stichelbaut/Spindrift Racing

A giant step in the Bay

The area covered by the 40-metre trimaran in the 30 hours of this first offshore trip in the Bay of Biscay show just how much a boat like this compresses distances. "We headed out due west, to the limits of the European continental shelf before descending below Arcachon and then returning via l’Ile d'Oléron, so we could check everything on board,” Bertarelli said. “The new rig had 25 knots of wind and passed the tests. That is a crucial point for this year because we’ve adapted the mast for the twin programme of records: the crewed ones and the solo Route du Rhum. The sail plan was also fully tested at all points of sail and I take my hat off to North Sails, they’ve done a very good job. So, we have taken one big step successfully. The performance work can start now.

Spindrift 2. Image copyright Eloi Stichelbaut/Spindrift Racing

Lake Geneva and New York to follow

The crew of the D35 catamaran Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing, skippered by Yann Guichard on this occasion, finished second overall in the first of the Vulcain Trophy regattas, the Grand Prix des Ambassadeurs (Société Nautique de Genève), last weekend. They had earlier had a weekend of training from Versoix for this.

Between Lake Geneva and the Atlantic coast, the women and men of Spindrift are engaged on all fronts. The sporting deadlines are approaching and race against the clock continues. After a few days of work for the technicians at the team base in La Trinité-sur-Mer, on April 28 the sailors will be back on board the maxi trimaran Spindrift 2. On the horizon is the delivery to New York and then Newport, where the boat will begin, from the start of June, its official stand-by period, waiting for a good weather window in order to attempt to break the supersonic North Atlantic and 24-hour records.

Spindrift 2. Image copyright Eloi Stichelbaut/Spindrift Racing
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