Big year ahead for Spindrift Racing

The maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 reached her home port of La Trinité-sur-Mer in the early hours of Tuesday morning after a week-long crossing from Guadeloupe. Conditions were ideal for Yann Guichard and his eight crew members.

The return trip across the Atlantic concludes an action-packed year for Spindrift racing, which was rewarded with three podium finishes: Yann’s single-handed second-place finish in the Route du Rhum, Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing’s third-place finish in the Vulcain Trophy, and a victory at the Bol d’Or Mirabaud. The maxi-trimaran will today go for its winter refit at the Multiplast boatyard in Vannes.

No sooner has the 2014 chapter come to an end than the 2015 chapter already begins. The new season will focus on crewed sailing, with the crew members participating in three events aboard three different boats: the D35 Championship from May to September on Lake Léman, aboard the D35; the Tour de France à la Voile in July, aboard the new Diam 24 trimaran; and the Jules Verne Trophy next winter, aboard Spindrift 2.

Formed in 2011 by Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard, Spindrift racing is an elite racing team which competes in the biggest international sailing events, adapting to various different boat specifications and types of race or record. The team consists of around 30 people, ranging from sailors, engineers and technicians to logistics, hospitality and communication staff, all of whom are fully focused on performance and willing to take on challenges, from ocean-going records to contact racing.

“2014 was a very positive year for Spindrift racing,” said Dona Bertarelli. “The podium finishes in the D35 circuit and in the Route du Rhum rewarded the hard work put in by the team, who have achieved ambitious technical and sporting goals. I also want to mention our partners – Mirabaud, Genes-x and Zenith – who have believed in our project since the very beginning. Spindrift racing has earned its stripes and has quickly become one of the most prominent teams in professional sailing. Our results inspire us to push even harder. Development continues around a team that will keep growing, and our team base in Saint-Philibert, France, is currently expanding to take on new and exciting challenges in 2015. The highlight of the year will be the Jules Verne Trophy attempt with Spindrift 2, a test that will require a huge commitment from Yann and me, as well as from the team. The team believes we shouldn’t just race against the clock. We should also race against other teams, which is why I will be delighted to race on the D35 circuit for the ninth consecutive year, and the team will also compete in the Tour de France à la Voile, which is now a multihull event.” 

Spindrift 2 refit for the Jules Verne Trophy
This Thursday, the 40-metre trimaran was taken out of the water and placed in the Multiplast yard in the Breton port town of Vannes, where she will remain until April. No major work is planned for the deck, which will be reconfigured for crew racing now that the Route du Rhum programme is over. The winter makeover will add new weight to the boat, improve on-board living conditions and reconfigure the deck layout. The main job remains the new mast, which has been designed specifically for the Jules Verne Trophy.

“After this action-packed year in which we achieved our goals, we are now focusing on this round-the-world record attempt,” explained Yann Guichard. “I can’t wait to take on the record, which, as we all know, will be very tough to beat. It might take several attempts, but we’re going to give ourselves every chance of improving on the 2012 performance.* The new lighter mast, optimised for a different sail plan, is a vital step, which follows on from the developments we made last year for our attempt on the North Atlantic Record. Although the weather conditions prevented us from making that record attempt in the summer, the sailing we did to prepare for the attempt showed us that we were on the right track in terms of performance. With the Jules Verne Trophy, the D35 and the Diam 24 on next year’s calendar, Spindrift racing is broadening its horizons, and we are looking to recruit to strengthen our teams. We now have a competitive structure in place that will allow us to run three simultaneous programmes in 2015. It’s a great and highly stimulating opportunity for the entire team.”

Ladycat’s ninth season in the D35 Championship
Ladycat powered by Spindrift racing will participate in the D35 circuit on Lake Léman for the ninth consecutive season. The commitment of Dona and the team to the circuit is just as high as the ever-improving level of competition aboard these magnificent, ultra-modern, highly demanding catamarans. In late November, Dona was elected “Female Sailor of the Year” at the SUI Sailing Awards, for which she felt extremely honoured. The accolade rewards Dona for her sailing talent and for her role as an international ambassador for Swiss sailing. 

“Spindrift racing is a wonderful showcase for Swiss sailing and I was delighted to receive this prize at the SUI Sailing Awards,” said Dona. “It’s always a pleasure to return to the D35 circuit, which brings together passionate, committed owners racing on their own boats, competing at the highest level alongside professional teams, with these one-design boats which have not aged at all. The D35 Championship is an important event for Spindrift racing and for our partners.” 

Tour de France à la Voile debut
The decision to make the Diam 24 the official boat of the Tour de France à la Voile in 2015 has attracted many of the world’s best sailors and several dozen crews are expected to compete this July. The event, which will follow much of the French coastline, is open to multihulls for the first time.

“The Tour de France à la Voile will bring together the world’s best multihull teams, making it an exciting proposition for Spindrift racing’s sailors. Together, we will discover this new Diam 24, an accessible specification that simplifies logistics. We’ll be able to start training in January in La Trinité-sur-Mer,” explained Yann. “Like the D35 circuit, the Diam regattas will give sailors the opportunity to spend time together and sail competitively, which is essential for team spirit, especially as we prepare for such a huge crewed challenge as the Jules Verne Trophy.”

A larger base for Spindrift racing!
Expansion work is currently taking place at Spindrift racing’s base at the Multipôle in Saint-Philibert (just across the estuary from La Trinité-sur-Mer). Completion is expected in spring 2015. The 2,000 m² modern building will house maintenance areas, several technical workshops, and workspaces for the design, admin, logistics and communication teams. The sailors will also have their very own gym, and the team’s partners will benefit from a dedicated hospitality area. 

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