Photo: Chris Schmidt / Spindrift Racing

Spindrift heads for Valencia

As Yann Guichard announces his crew for the Transat Jacques Vabre

Tuesday May 28th 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Tomorrow the Yann Guichard skippered MOD70 Spindrift will leave her base at La Trinité-sur-Mer bound for Valencia, for the start of the clockwise lap of the European coastline in the Route des Princes.

On the 1,400 mile delivery Guichard intends to use every mile to improve the cohesion of a crew that is slightly changed from the one which won the first MOD70 championship last year. To the regulars - Jacques Guichard, Pascal Bidégorry and Erwan Tabarly - have been added two multihull specialists, Christophe Espagnon and Xavier Revil. Both have accumulated considerable experience on two or three hull and one, Xavier Revil, a fellow former Tornado sailor, has been chosen to be co-skipper with Yann Guichard for this autumn's Transat Jacques Vabre, running on this occasion from Le Havre to Itajai.

The Route des Princes begins on 7 June with an inshore race before the first offshore leg bound for Lisbon. Last year, victory in the MOD70's European Tour narrowly escaped the Spindrift crew, by just a few seconds. This year Guichard and his team intends to take their performance to another level, aspiring for nothing but victory by the time the fleet reaches the Bay of Morlaix on 30 June after four legs.

"This great passage to Valencia and the start of the Route des Princes is not simple," Guichard said. "We have done a lot of day sailing and close to shore lately. This delivery gives us the opportunity to go offshore, spend several days at sea living together. It means we will have warmed up nicely when we arrive in Valencia. This is important for binding the crew, which is a bit different than last year. Xavier Revil is going to benefit from this time to find his feet, as it is he who will be my substitute for the inshore races in Valencia and Lisbon. For those I will be returning to our D35, Ladycat. I have every confidence in his ability in the inshore racing as that's his speciality.

“Our MOD70, Spindrift, was completely revised this winter. The one-design rule limits the technical interventions on the boat. This class is well conceived, and apart from the review of the hardware and work on the hull, there was no fundamental construction work to be done. We start this year with new sails that we will have to look after because the class limits the number.

"The Route des Princes is the equivalent of the Course de l'Europe in which the MOD70s competed last year. This year the race will go in the opposite direction, from the Mediterranean to northern Europe.

"We know what to expect now in this MOD one-design class; there is no room for error. It will be immediately on the pace. It will be relentless. There are four boats on the start line, all very close to each other, which leaves little chance to rebuild after a bad performance.

"Our crew is very consistent, and especially full of strong individuals who will live well at sea together. The course is great, very interesting. There will be a big chunk between Lisbon and Dublin with all kinds of conditions. It will be very open, very competitive. The course is varied and finishes will be measured like last year, by seconds. Our goal is clearly to win the Route des Princes.”

Xavier Revil, the Obvious Choice

"I chose Xavier as my partner in the next Transat Jacques Vabre. He has huge experience of multihulls. I think he’s someone who resembles me, at least in his path. Xavier knows the MOD70 having raced on Foncia last year. He was onboard the Maxi trimaran that won the Jules Verne trophy and like me, he comes from the Olympic Tornado program. On a human level, he is a man of quality and I'm sure we will get on well together at sea.

"Going for the double-(-handed TJV) not scare me. The physical side is extreme on lightweight multis. It will take more on a one-design than on an ORMA 60. Everyone will be attacking constantly. It requires maximum concentration, alertness and anticipation.”

Meanwhile the team has also announced that they will be relaunching Spindrift 2, the Jules Verne Trophy conquering former Banque Populaire maxi, on 2 July.

The crew of the MOD70 Spindrift on offshore legs

Yann Guichard, skipper
Xavier Revil, trimmer
Jacques Guichard, trimmer
Pascal Bidégorry, trimmer
Erwan Tabarly, trimmer
Christophe Espagnon, trimmer

Crew of the MOD70 Spindrift on inshore races

Yann Guichard (Dublin, Plymouth)
Xavier Revil, trimmer
Jacques Guichard, trimmer
Erwan Tabarly, trimmer
Christophe Espagnon, trimmer
Seb Marsset, No. 1 (all inshore)
Nicolas Charbonnier, tactician (Dublin, Plymouth)
Chris Andre, grinder (Lisbon, Dublin)
Fred Brousse, grinder (Valencia, Plymouth)
Nicolas Texier, grinder (Valencia, Lisbon)
Jean-Baptiste Levaillant, trimmer (Valencia) 

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