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Jules Verne Trophy: Spindrift 2 Tries It Again

Spindrift 2 is preparing for a new attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy, the round the world record that starts and finishes in Ushant, leaving the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin, Horn) to port.

The reference time is the current record set by Francis Joyon and his crew in 2017, of 40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds. With their optimised maxi trimaran and a crew of eleven, skipper Yann Guichard is aiming to start this new attempt on the night of Tuesday 3 to Wednesday, 4 December.

Yann Guichard and crew will cross the line during the night of December 4th,  in front of the Créac’h lighthouse (Ushant) to begin the 21,600 mile route (following the Great Circle, which is the direct route chosen by the WSSRC, the international organisation that ratifies sailing records), with the aim of beating the record of 40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds.

Based on its performance on a previous attempt, the black and gold trimaran could have the record on target, especially given recent technical improvements to the trimaran, including setting rudder fins to better sustain the Spindrift 2 at high speed.

A third attempt

Yann Guichard and his crew have tried to beat the record on two previous occasions: in 2015 (47d 10h 59′) with Dona Bertarelli, who became the fastest woman around the world, and in 2018 (where the team was forced to abandon their attempt following rudder failure close to the Kergulen Islands). However now, once again, the North Atlantic has a favourable weather window that could allow a passage to the equator in about five days.

We will start from La Trinité on Tuesday morning to cross the starting line of the Jules Verne Trophy at Ushant between 18:00 on Tuesday and 6:00 on Wednesday: once we see how the weather is evolving, we will be able to refine this window. The conditions are quite good, with a time at the equator of around five days.  We should be able to leave the eastern sector in the Bay of Biscay with a moderate breeze and then we will benefit from trade winds that ill strengthen to the north of Portugal. We will have make some gybes to get to Madeira before performing our swoop down into the doldrums.” Says Yann Guichard.

But if the descent to the Equator looks favourable, the round the world record can still be lost at the Cape of Good Hope. Spindrift 2 already holds the fastest time between Ushant and the Equator made during the second attempt in early 2019 (4d 20h 07 ‘), but it is the ability to improve the reference time to the Cape of Good Hope and arrive at the Indian Ocean with time in hand that is critical.

Francis Joyon had an extremely fast crossing of this second ocean in 2017 (5d 21h 07 ‘). Spindrift 2 must therefore keep to an average speed of about 23 knots to South Africa, to ensure that there is enough margin on the reference time to start the next section.

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