After a long stand-by, in the main due to a very active North Atlantic, Spindrift racing is planning to start their Jules Verne Trophy attempt late tonight (Monday). The crew has all now arrived in Brest to make the final preparations ahead of leaving for the start line late this afternoon.
This more favourable weather window comes after a series of depressions and extreme conditions similar to those seen with Carmen and Eleanor in Western Europe at the start of this year. While the North Atlantic still remains complicated, a more favourable weather window is emerging with the arrival of a succession of fronts off the Azores: after an upwind start, a wind shift in the Northwest will allow the team to quickly join the trade winds at the Canaries.
A challenging start
"We have not had an opening since the start of our stand-by mid-November! This is the first opportunity that is emerging but we will start by joining the front to the West that will then allow us to go downwind from Northwest to the Canaries. With the exception of this start, the route looks pretty classic towards rounding the Azores. " says the skipper of Spindrift 2, Yann Guichard.
It is anticipated that the team will cross the equator in a little over five days, slightly longer than the time achieved by Spindrift 2 during its first attempt in November 2015 (4d 21h 29 '), but it should set a good benchmark against the current crewed record (IDEC Sport 2017: 5d 18h 59 '). The aim is to enter the Indian Ocean with a small margin compared to the current Jules Verne Trophy, but also to pull together a favorable meteorological configuration in the Southern Ocean.
Yan Guichard: “It does not look as if the St. Helena High in the South Atlantic will block us, but let's face it: we planned a stand-by until the end of January and starting at the beginning of this week, we no longer have a joker to play! Whether it is a successful attempt or not, there will be no more this winter ... So we must make good time (around 12 days) to reach the longitude of Cape Agulhas. IDEC reached this point in 12d 21h 22s but then had a remarkable section across the Indian Ocean.
"Spindrift 2 is ready, the crew is ready, we are happy to leave! The only thing left is to pick up the fresh food this morning and we anticipate leaving the dock at about 1700h and crossing the line late tonight (Monday).
2017 JULES VERNE TROPHY CREW:
Yann Guichard (skipper)
Erwan Israël (navigator)
Jacques Guichard (watch captain / helm / trimmer)
Christophe Espagnon (watch captain / helm / bow)
Xavier Revil (watch captain / helm / trimmer)
François Morvan (helm / trimmer)
Antoine Carraz (helm / trimmer)
Thierry Chabagny (helm / bow)
Ewen Le Clech (helm / trimmer)
Sam Goodchild (helm / bow)
Thomas Le Breton (helm / trimmer)
Erwan Le Roux (helm / trimmer)
Router: Jean-Yves Bernot