(November 26, 2015; Day 5) – Tonight, Spindrift 2 and her crew will cross the equator, the first symbolic milestone on the circumnavigation for the fourteen sailors. Thanks to an effective route since their departure last Sunday at 05:01:58 GMT, the crew could cross the equator well up on the split time set by Loïck Peyron on Banque Populaire V in November 2011 (5 days, 14 hours, 55 minutes and 10 seconds). However, exiting the doldrums will not be easy.
“We’re really in the doldrums,” reports Dona Bertarelli. “That’s been our only concern for the past few hours on board. Erwan, our navigator, told us about a time in the Volvo Ocean Race when his team were cruising at 30 knots as they approached the doldrums, then suddenly they ground to a halt. Nothing. Not even a slight breeze!
“So we’re keeping a close eye on every cloud in the sky, any breeze that blows, and any change in the sea colour or wave intensity. It’s not too bad right now. We’re making progress, albeit slowly, and we haven’t yet ground to a complete standstill. The hardest thing is having to change sails each time the wind speed fluctuates between 5 and 25 knots. The important instruction from the watch captains is not to drop our guard, and to anticipate what lies ahead.”
As of 2000 UTC
Distance to finish: 20454.9 nm
Distance for 24 hours: 494.3 nm
Distance ahead of record: 238.12 nm
Source: Spindrift 2
Background: On Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 at 4:01:58 GMT, the trimaran Spindrift 2, led by Yann Guichard, crossed the start line that runs from Créac’h lighthouse (Ushant island, France) to Lizard Point (England) for the start of her crewed non-stop circumnavigation. The 40m VPLP-designed Spindrift 2 was originally launched in 2008 as Banque Populaire 5, the boat that Loïck Peyron set the record on in 2012. To beat the record, Spindrift 2 must return to Ushant before 17:43:51 GMT on January 6th, 2016.
MORE: Also starting on November 22 (at 02:02:22 GMT) for an attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy was Francis Joyon (FRA), skippering the 31.5m VPLP-designed trimaran IDEC SPORT. The 6-person team must return by 15:44:15 GMT on January 6, 2016 to beat the record. Here’s a tracker showing both teams: http://volodiaja.net/Tracking/
Jules Verne Trophy:
Start and finish: a line between Créac’h lighthouse (Ushant island) and Lizard Point (England)
Course: crewed circumnavigation via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn).
Minimum distance: 21,600 miles (40,000 km)
Ratification: World Sailing Speed Record Council
Time to beat: 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds
Average speed: 19.75 knots on the theoretical 21,600 nautical mile route, but 26.5 knots on the actual 28,965 nautical mile route.
Date of current record: January 2012
Holder: Banque Populaire V, Loïck Peyron and a 13-man crew
SPINDRIFT 2 CREW:
Yann Guichard, skipper
Dona Bertarelli, helmsman-trimmer
Sébastien Audigane, helmsman-trimmer
Antoine Carraz, helmsman-trimmer
Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, helmsman-trimmer
Christophe Espagnon, helmsman-bowman
Jacques Guichard, helmsman-trimmer
Erwan Israël, navigator
Loïc Le Mignon, helmsman-trimmer
Sébastien Marsset, bowman
François Morvan, helmsman-trimmer
Xavier Revil, helmsman-trimmer
Yann Riou, media reporter
Thomas Rouxel, helmsman-bowman
Jean-Yves Bernot, onshore router