Tuesday 27 May 2014

Spindrift 2 en route to Newport; D35 Ladycat leads Vulcain Trophy overall

Spindrift 2 leaves Brittany for the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Image copyright E. Allaire/Spindrift Racing

by Spindrift Racing media

After a D35 podium finish this weekend, which put Ladycat top of the Vulcain Trophy 2014 rankings after two rounds, the Spindrift racing team are switching to offshore mode. Spindrift racing’s maxi-trimaran, Spindrift 2, left La Trinité-sur-Mer at 1400hrs (French time) on Monday, heading to Newport, Rhode Island in the United States. They will be on standby from the start of June, waiting for a favourable weather window to attempt to break the crewed North Atlantic record.

Gold symbolises winning, as Dona Bertarelli says, and the new colours of the D35 Ladycat this year are matched by her leading the Vulcain Trophy overall after two events. Image copyright Chris Schmid/Spindrift Racing

With eight days at sea in the programme, the team will obviously take advantage of this transatlantic delivery, as skipper Yann Guichard explained. “The shortest route would be upwind, into the wind and the lows, which is not very smart when we’re preparing for a record that will be downwind,” Guichard said. “We will tailor our best route to have the most time downwind and reaching. The aim is to get as close as possible to the sailing conditions we need for the record, so that everyone gets their bearings, especially at the helm. I cannot wait. Although we have had ​​several long voyages from La Trinité, there’s no substitute for ocean mode, both on the technical and human side.”

The dress rehearsal

On board, the set up is the same as it will be for the record. Two five-strong watches will take turns on deck, while Guichard and Erwan Israel, the navigator, stay outside the watch system. “The weather looks very varied and even more unstable at the end of the delivery,” Israel said. “We will go south in medium conditions down along the coast of Portugal, before circling underneath the Azores anticyclone. Then we will climb back up to to Newport in a low pressure system and wind should strengthen at the end.”

Therefore, the crew are preparing to make a lot of manoeuvres to keep getting the best out of the boat, while at the same time maintaining it and taking all due care not to break anything. “We will face a wide range of wind strengths which is great to continue the calibration of our navigational aids,” Guichard said. “The important thing is that everyone gets the measure of this trimaran on a transat and feels good on board.”

Improved menus

Xavier Revil is responsible for feeding the Spindrift 2 crew. Eating well is always important for both the physical energy needed day and night and to keep mentally sharp. When conditions are difficult, sharing a good time with the sailors on your shift is one of the things that keeps you going. “Like on land, we have a breakfast and two hot meals,” Revil said. “On the record, we only have freeze-dried food. Here, for the delivery, we have mixed them with ready meals, which allows me to slightly vary the menus more. It’s a choice of porridge or cereal in the morning. Then we have the choice between risotto, paella, couscous and petit salé aux lentilles (cured pork belly and lentils) – all the classics. We also added some charcuterie, cheese, cereal bars and enough fresh fruit for the first four days. I know they also love Chinese soups to warm up and as a change from the traditional coffee, tea and hot chocolate. In general, the dishes are prepared in one go for everyone, usually before the 0130hrs watch change, like that you don’t lose any time. At midnight, you have to heat up five to six litres of water. That is then used to fill the insulated bowls that keep portions warm for three hours. Like that those finishing their watch eat when they come down while the others go up on deck with a full stomach.”

Spindrift Racing