Saint Malo – Spindrift 2 arrived in St Malo this evening (Tuesday) having crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a just over 6 days at an average speed of just over 22 knots in the ninth edition of the Transat Quebec-St Malo.
After 3212 miles of racing, Yann Guichard and Dona Bertarelli and the 12-strong crew crossed the finish line in their black and gold boat at 23h17m41s (local time), winning not just line honours but smashing Loïck Peyron’s 1996 race record by just under two days.
The multihull specialists established a new race record of 6 days 1 hour 17 minutes and 41 seconds, beating the previous record set by Peyron in 1996 onboard the trimaran Orma Fujicolor II by 1 day, 19 hours 6 minutes and 19 seconds. Spindrift 2 started the race three days after the monohulls and multihulls in the race, and their line honours and record performance further underlines the potential and performance of this legendary boat.
Led by the multihull specialist Yann Guichard, the crew worked hard to maximise every aspect of the boat’s performance as well as take advantage of the variety of weather conditions.
Act 1 – Negotiating the pitfalls of the St Lawrence
The crew had to be extra vigilant as they sailed down the St Lawrence. From the start the giant trimaran was in a gybing battle with their fellow competitor, the MOD70 Oman Sail. In just 8-10 knots of wind the boats had to negotiate the narrow stretches of the river but also being aware of the sandbanks and small islands that define this spectacular stretch of water. Sailing through squalls the team was able to appreciate the natural wonders of the river as they raced towards Percé, the town situated at the mouth of the river into the St Lawrence Gulf.
Act 2 – Crossing the Atlantic on one tack
After passing Percé full foul weather gear and boots were the order of the day, as the team then found itself plunged into a short choppy sea and thick fog at the Labrador Current where the cold ocean current from the Arctic meets the warmer water of the Gulf Stream.
The giant trimaran swallowed up the miles and averaged speeds of 30-35 knots, regularly peaking over 40knots. The resulting far from comfortable conditions made life onboard difficult but, it was a small price to pay for such a direct route towards the Fastnet Rock.
Act 3 – Rounding the Fastnet and heading to St Malo
The great downwind sailing came to an end as Spindrift 2 approached the Irish Coast. A series of tacks saw the boat round the final mark of the course at the Fastnet Rock. Having spent the majority of the race in thick fog, a ridge of high pressure lay ahead of the timaran’s bows. However, light winds and a strong current left no respite for the 14-strong crew.
Under a full moon Spindrift 2 made its final approach into the port of St Malo and arrived to a crowd of holiday-makers and race fans.
This crewed transatlantic, the first race of the season, has been very positive for the whole team, which has worked hard over the past months to prepare the boat to be as competitive as possible. It was also a good opportunity to trial new team members and maintain the high level of team work necessary for the next Jules Verne Trophy attempt.