First tentative steps
Led by co-skippers Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard, the crew of the 40m trimaran Spindrift 2 has benefited all week from ideal weather conditions allowing them to carry out first sea trials since the former Banque Populaire was relaunched in her new livery, under new ownership.
Spindrift Racing has not rushed any stage. It has taken advantage of the 10 knot conditions on the Golfe du Morbihan to work meticulously through all the items on the job list as the crew gets to grips with this giant, sophisticated speed machine. The first impressions are that sailing the boat, that is the world's largest and fastest offshore racing trimaran, holded of the outright 24 hour, non-stop round the world and west to east transatlantic records, has been a joy.
Despite her collosal size, Spindrift 2 is a well-conceived trimaran, well-developed and incredibly reactive. Discovering this has been the purporse of this first week, as the team steadily increases its intensity, culminating this first phase of trials with the initially official outing of the maxi trimaran in the Rolex Fastnet Race, starting on 11 August.
"Nothing compares to competition - it's only when you race that you really discover a boat and can develop its user manual," says Yann Guichard. " We look forward to getting into the thick of this, but this week we've had in Lorient was essential." This training off the Ile de Groix has revealed two things clearly, Guichard continues: "The boat is ‘big’, but on board it is remarkably well developed and everything is in the right place. We've really enjoyed these first trials."
Running the campaign Guichard and Bertarelli have been examining each of the sailing positions, procedures, rigging, and the layout of the cockpit methodically, with patience and precision. "We must anticipate everything,” Guichard continunes. "We have been sailing since Tuesday and we have already begun to develop our own methods and settings, including ways to handle the giant sails. We have taken our time and analysed each manoeuvre."
Of their first trials Dona Bertarelli said: "What is surprising is the acceleration of Spindrift 2. You quickly forget its weight as it reacts to the slightest breeze. It was surprisingly reactive to helm in the medium to weak conditions we experienced this week, hitting 30-32 knots.
"The boat is in line with our expectations. It is our unanimous opinion that Spindrift 2 is not only visually stunning, but also technically. The power seems to be tamed easily and we quickly got used to her size. Personally I took my time, I tested myself and I was a little bolder every day, all the time enjoying the excellent atmosphere on board."