Photo: Chris Schmid / Spindrift racing

Spindrift racing in 2016

Three inshore circuits and a maxi-multihull program for Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard's team

Friday January 22nd 2016, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Having just returned from a Jules Verne Trophy record attempt, the Spindrift team will be back on the sea this season with Yann Guichard, Dona Bertarelli and their teammates tackling three different circuits. Together with their partners, Mirabaud, Genes-X and Zenith, they will still be competing in multihulls, but this time it will be aboard catamarans - on the World Match Racing Tour in a M32, aboard GC32 foilers on the GC32 Racing Tour and the Lake Geneva races in their D35.

Spindrift 2 will also be at the heart of the sailing season, with participation in the Quebec-Saint-Malo transatlantic race and with another Jules Verne Trophy record attempt planned for the winter of 2016-7.

This season will see teams training for the 2017 America's Cup, match-racing specialists moving onto catamarans, and those coming from the Rio 2016 Olympics learning to fly... It was therefore logical for the Spindrift racing team, which has a mixture of offshore, foiling and match racing specialists, to join the European and international circuits, also enabling them to make further progress and preparation for a new attempt on the round-the-world record.

“I’m honoured to be the only Frenchman invited onto the World Match Racing Tour,” Yann Guichard said. “This is the first time I will participate in the World Match Racing Tour, which has five events, and then finishes with its World Championship in Marstrand (Sweden) in early July.

"From the end of January, the team will start training in Lanzarote on a [M32] catamaran fitted with curved daggerboards and outboard racks, which can be handled by four. The first event will be in Fremantle (Australia) from 2 to 7 March. I’m looking forward to seeing where we are against the best in the world in this specific discipline, especially since there are elimination rounds. The only French sailor to have been champion is Bertrand Pacé in 1994. It’ll be very rewarding to compete against specialists in close-quarter racing such as Taylor Canfield, Ian Williams and Björn Hansen. It’s a very international circuit.” 

Having already competed last season, the Spindrift team is back for a second season on the GC32 Racing Tour. These extremely fast and challenging foiling catamarans are handled by a crew of five and although there were only five teams on the water in 2015, as many as ten international crews are expected this year. The first event is planned at the end of May with four other ones in Southern Europe through until September. 

“We started on this tour last year: the GC32 is a particularly demanding foiling catamaran,” Guichard continues. “It's an easy boat to fly, but still very technical to go really fast. The races are always closely contested and this season, the fleet will be expanding again, which promises to be a great show. Flying has become a necessity for high-level sailing and these catamarans take off in 8 knots of true wind and can do more than 30 knots.”

Having competed on the D35 catamaran circuit on Lake Geneva since 2007, Dona Bertarelli's team will be present for this season's seven events comprising four in May and June and three in September-October. A two-time winner of the Bol d'Or Mirabaud and on the podium for the last two years, Ladycat powered by Spindrift Racing is aiming to climb up one or two steps this season.

“This flagship event in the Lake Geneva calendar represents continuity in high-level one-design multihull racing, as it is now entering its twelfth year,” Bertarelli said. “It’s still a hard fought circuit, combining skill and technology, and the Spindrift team will defend its colours again this year.”

The central objective of the Spindrift team remains firmly anchored in multihulls, both inshore and offshore. The trimaran Spindrift 2, currently in the boatyard in Lorient for a full check-up and some optimisation of the platform and interior spaces, will be back on the water from mid-April. Training sessions will be organised accordingly, with a view to preparing for the Transat Québec-Saint Malo starting on 10 July, and making a second attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy this autumn.

“The Spindrift team is going to diversify disciplines with these worldwide competitions,” Guichard said. “This will mean we can improve ourselves in all areas of the racing game and continue to develop before going back around the world with the maxi trimaran. We have to constantly challenge ourselves if we want to progress: in total, we’ll spend more than 250 days on the water.”


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