Philippe Elies Interviews Yann Guichard on the status of the Spindrift Sailing Jules Verne Record Attempt for le Telegramme:


One year after the maxi-trimaran was dismasted in the Iroise Sea, Yann Guichard and the crew of Spindrift wait for a good weather window to come back to the starting line of the Jules Verne Trophy.




What have you done since one and this dismasting before even cutting the starting line?

We put the original mast, the one that was cut for the Route du Rhum 2014. It is smaller than the previous mast, we had to redo a set of sails, namely a mainsail, a J1 and a geenaker .


To leave with the original mast, smaller, what changes what?

We have already made a return to the Atlantic to sail with this mast to train and find another way to navigate. Here, it's different, below 15 knots of wind, we have a deficit. Above, we no longer, or we are better. A world tour is not necessarily played in transitions, it is precisely that these transitions are as few as possible. I'm not sure that a big mast allows you to go around the world in less than 40 days. When I see the time achieved by Francis Joyon and his crew, they did not have many transitions. Our boat, with this configuration, really has the potential to break the record and do less than 40 days. If the weather is with us ....


Do you know more about the reasons for dismasting?

We did not get all the pieces even though we did everything we could to do it. So it was difficult to do an analysis on the ends of the mast. In 2015, we had a problem, we had to repair the mast during the world tour, it was in the lower part. We had strengthened that part. I imagine there was a weakness there.





Has the platform evolved since?

No, we just added a cell of life, a kind of cap that is closed. We are all completely safe, except the helmsman. We must know that we do not have an autopilot on the boat so we always have a helmsman, whose position is a bit out of the way. This cap adds 50 kg but it protects us and it is not a detail when we see the speeds that we reach today. This allows us to work dry, less in the cold, it removes fatigue.


Is Spindrift too heavy to fly?

We did a lot of work on the appendages but the platform is too heavy to fly. We are talking about 21-22 tons, where the recent Ultimates weigh between 14 and 15 tons. It would be necessary to put gigantic appendages, so it means to add even more weight on the boat. It would have been quite complicated to fly, quite expensive so we made the choice not to go that route. Sprindrift is out of the ordinary so as soon as you start modifying a part, it's expensive, it takes time, development and reliability behind. We just checked with the Ultimate on the Route du Rhum. Today, this trimaran, when there is sea and wind, remains a very fast boat. On the other hand, below 20 knots of wind with flat seas, the Ultimes are faster.





You talk about the costs. How is your project funded?

It is a shipowner project. Behind, we do not have private partners.


What weather does your router, Jean-Yves Bernot, need to give you the start?

There, we had a lot of wind southwest, the competitors of the Route du Rhum know something ... We expect the wind to turn northwest or east-northeast to leave. There, if you leave, with this complicated sea, it gives passage times to the equator of 7 days. We have already taken less than 5 days but we must especially look lower, the South Atlantic. Almost to the Cape of Good Hope, where, ideally, you have to arrive in less than 12 days to try to get a little ahead of Francis Joyon because we know he has crossed the Indian Ocean at an incredible speed . But since early November, we have not had the slightest opportunity.



From what date do you consider it more reasonable to go sailing in the South Seas?

Our end of stand-by is set at the end of January. I hope we will leave before ...


Has your crew changed?

We had Erwan Le Roux competing the Route du Rhum so we had to replace him if we left before his arrival in Guadeloupe. Morgan Lagravičre sailed with us. There was also Sam Goodchild who made the Rum in Class40 but he stopped prematurely (note: he dismasted). It was necessary to replace these pairs. For the rest, it's the same hard core. Only Jack Bouttell returned after a Dongfeng campaign at the Volvo Ocean Race. There is Benjamin Swartz, who takes care of the electronic and technical part on board. He was a seafaring alternate and he will be on board with us. Duncan, it's my son-in-law. He is 21 years old and has already played the Transat Quebec - Saint-Malo with us. He already has three chairs with us, he likes it. He is a good helmsman. We go to twelve, it's part of a quarter, it will be a great adventure for him.


40 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes is the time to beat: what is the margin on such a time?

Francis Joyon and his teammates were not far from perfection. They were exceptional in the Indian and the whole ascent of the Atlantic. They almost went as fast up and down as they did not sail upwind and managed to catch a depression off Cape Verde. Now, I think that if we add all the best times on all sections since the origin of the Jules Verne Trophy, we are a little over 38 days. So yes, there is a small margin to improve the reference time. A few years ago, it was said that it would be very difficult to go below 45 days. There, with 40 days and 23 hours, they took a big step forward. But when we see that François Gabart has spent 42 days alone with a difficult end ... It could have been in the record times crewed. For us, all stars must be aligned.


As long as this record will resist you, you go back there?

For me, it's the best record. It exists alone but it is a different exercise where you go looking for something else. It remains an adventure, it is not trivial to go around the planet, especially on a boat like ours with these speeds. Typing this record would be fantastic. We went around once and realized that it took three attempts to bring him back. Well, we did not really leave the second time (note: they dismasted before cutting the starting line) but we attack for the third time. This adventure really fascinates me. The Atlantic record? Yes, but it's a sprint. The Jules-Verne Trophy is 40 days at sea, you live things strong team. Humanly, it's strong. And since I have the chance to choose my crew,


The Ultims suffered during the Route du Rhum. What is your view on this case?

There were six Ultimate at the start, there are four at the finish. Either a third of dropouts ... I think it's pretty much the same in all classes. So it's not exceptional. There were few new boats. I'm not in the secret of the gods because we do not know what broke on Banque Populaire. The trimaran had already undergone a capsize, everything was appraised but perhaps there were other problems. After, Banque Populaire is not very different from Macif at the construction level and Macif is past. That said, it's sad to lose a boat, it's hard for Banque Populaire. As for Gitana, they lost a float but they will analyze all that, repair and leave. It's a new class with very technological boats but it's clear that flying over the water at 40 knots, when it falls, the impacts are more violent. More violent than 30 knots. We will have to try to understand what happened. Do not question everything, it was a Route du Rhum very muscular but very beautiful.

The crew: Yann Guichard (skipper); Benjamin Schwartz, Christophe Espagnon, Duncan Späth, Erwan Israel, Erwan Le Roux, Francois Morvan, Jackson Boutell, Jacques Guichard, Sam Goodchild, Thierry Chabagny, Thierry Duprey of Vorsent, Xavier Revil




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