Bahamas arrival tomorrow
Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard’s maxi trimaran Spindrift 2 last night endured the slowest, most complicated and stressful phase of their Route of Discovery record attempt since leaving Cadiz last Thursday.
In its sixth day of the race, and following the planned course, the world’s largest racing trimaran had to deal with rough seas between the two weather systems. All the crew had a rough ride with often violent storms bringing exhausting wind conditions. The squalls meant the wind would leave them flying or at a complete standstill. Finding the right sail plan in these brutally changing conditions proved to be a real conundrum that had the entire crew focused and responsive all night.
Dona’s description perfectly illustrates the atmosphere and circumstances of the night: “Spindrift 2 seemed more like an old banger that had run out of fuel than a Formula 1 of the seas. We remained becalmed in the storms, with the wind going from 2 to 25 knots, with no way of getting out of them.
An to further complicate an already tricky situation, the first serious mechanical failure occurred at the same time: "For some added setbacks, and to keep the crew awake all night, the medium sized gennaker fell down on the net, fortunately causing no damage. Thomas (Rouxel) climbed almost 40m up the mast to retrieve the halyard. This is no easy task that was successfully carried out in a calm and speedy manner."
Just 175 mile was gained on the past 12 hours at an average 14.5 knots. The lead over Groupama 3 has dropped to 60 miles from 333 last night to 270 this morning. Such was the price to pay reach the stronger northerly breeze that is coming down the North American coastline to the Bahamas.
"We are now on starboard tack," Bertarelli confided this morning. "We have 35 knots of wind and went from full sail to two reefs and staysail."
The last 600 miles of the race should see Spindrift 2 sail to its potential and join San Salvador in record time. "There will be one or two gybes to negotiate strong winds," she continues. "On the radar we can see that there are storms on the finish area. This last phase of the course looks like is going to be tough."
The crew has managed to get through the tense moment last night, which deprived the team of any rest and are now just focused on making the boat sail fast. "Spindrift 2 is a beast of a machine, her strength in the strong wind is phenomenal. Handled well, she is a fantastic machine", concludes Dona as she continues to enjoy her first transatlantic race.
"The team spirit and the support we all give each other on board is just fantastic and gives you an idea of just a very strong human dimension to our adventure." Since being stalled last night, Spindrift 2 should benefit from the good conveyor belt and sail fast towards the Bahamas and finish line in San Salvador.
Spindrift 2 is expected to arrive in San Salvador tomorrow at approximately 0500 UTC.
At 10hrs GMT (11hrs french time) this morning, Spindrift had a 308.91 miles of advantage on the reference time.