Two boats, six hulls, zero fish


The latest from Spindrift 2 and IDEC as they rocket towards the Equator.


Jules Verne Trophy record attempt Day 4

And remember, Spindrift 2 is THE boat that presently holds the 45 day record. 

Position: 18 24.32’ N – 26 46.62’ W
274 miles ahead of the record holder, Banque Populaire V
Distance covered from the start: 2,254 miles
Distance traveled over 24 hours: 736.5 miles
Average speed over 24 hours: 30.7 knots

Sails: Two reefs in the mainsail, and the Solent
Area: Tradewinds of the Northern Hemisphere, Western Cape Verde, latitude of Dakar (Senegal)

 roughly the relative locations of the two tris and Henrik. Seems as though he is safe now

Roughly the relative locations of the two tris and Henrik.  Seems as though he is safe now.Spindrift 2 is to the north, IDEC  is to the south. Spindrift is over three hudred miles ahead of Banque Populaire, (that is her own pace,) for the same number of hours sailed.

Message from Dona Bertarelli:

Chatting over a coffee-grinder

“Isn’t it strange that we still haven’t seen any flying fish?” I ask Seb Audigane, who is at his post at the traveller, ready to ease off the sail immediately if the wind picks up. “It won’t be long,” he replies.

The water temperature indicator shows 22 degrees Celsius. Is it too hot or too cold for these small fish, whose wings allow them to leap out of the crest of the waves and fly several hundred metres on the water’s surface?

We’ve not seen many animals since we set off.

“We’ve not even seen any dolphins, yet we saw some at every training session on Spindrift 2,” I tell Seb.

“We’re going too fast for the dolphins,” he replies. “Only bluefin tuna can swim this fast.”

But unfortunately there aren’t many bluefin tuna, so they are a rare sight indeed. The bluefin tuna are currently listed as endangered species, so protecting them should be everyone’s responsibility. We should stop eating them to help stocks recover so that our grandchildren can see them, and perhaps also eat them.

At the current rate of consumption, there’ll be none left. Not even in aquariums, because these migratory fish travel hundreds of miles, crossing oceans at speeds of 80 km/h (50 mph).

The word tuna is derived from the Greek thuno, meaning to rush.

Image from Spindrift 2 racing, so credit to where/who ever they got it.

Image from Spindrift 2 racing, so credit to where/who ever they got it.

With torpedo-shaped streamlined bodies, Atlantic bluefin tuna are built for speed and endurance. They can even retract their fins to reduce drag, enabling them to swim through the water at incredibly high speeds. They are top ocean predators and voracious feeders, eating herring, mackerel, hake, squid and crustaceans. Unlike most fish they are warm-blooded and can regulate their temperature to keep core muscles warm during ocean crossings.

Their incredibly beautiful metallic blue topside and silver-white bottom help camouflage them from above and below, protecting them from killer whales and sharks, their main predators.

At 2-3 metres long, the Atlantic Bluefin is the largest species of tuna. One was reported to be 6 metres long! It’s incredible to think that they can dive deeper than 1 km.

When Bluefin is prepared as sushi it is one of the most valuable forms of seafood in the world. The species is listed as ‘near threatened’ on the IUCN red list. So let’s all think twice before buying some at our local markets. They might not be as cute as dolphins, but they are worth protecting!​

– See more at:


IDEC SPORT has kept up a very fast pace. Francis Joyon and his men are already off the Cape Verde Islands three days after setting sail from Ushant. The Equator is merely 1000 miles away and the record on this first stretch of the Jules Verne Trophy is set to be broken.


The record for the stretch from Ushant to the Equator

also held by Loïck Peyron and his crew on Banque Populaire V (Now Spindrift 2) since 27th November 2011 – is:

5 days, 14 hours, 55 minutes and 10 seconds.

At 0600hrs on Wednesday 25th November 2015,

IDEC SPORT was sailing at 32.9 knots at 17°32 North and 26°59 West, 90 miles West of the Cape Verde Islands. Bearing: south (201°). Lead over the record pace: 227 miles.

This long straight run will remain in the history books. The wind shadow of the Canaries is behind them and the steady NE’ly trade winds are blowing allowing IDEC SPORT to speed along at between 30 and 34 knots in the dark of night. This historic pace – two straight tacks down from Ushant –  has given us some figures which are bound to please the six men on board. For example, they have now covered more than 2000 miles since leaving Ushant. You read that right. 2000 miles in just three days and three hours. To give you an idea of what that means, if that pace continues, they would complete the voyage around the world in around thirty days, but we know that getting the time down to less than 45 days is going to be tricky.

ALREADY 2000 miles in their wake

First aerial images of IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon and his crew, training off Belle-Ile, Brittany, on october 19, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

Logically at this very fast pace, the lead over the record time has increased. It was over 220 miles at 0500hrs this morning with IDEC SPORT approaching the Cape Verde Islands, which they will leave to port. Yesterday evening, the big red trimaran sailed by Francis Joyon, Bernard Stamm, Alex Pella, Clément Surtel, Boris Herrmann and Gwénolé Gahinet overtook the point Banque Populaire had reached at the end of her third day of sailing during her record run.

This morning, we can say that IDEC SPORT is 8 or 9 hours ahead of Banque Populaire. That is a lot after just three days of sailing. Remembering that at the moment IDEC SPORT is covering on average 715 miles a day and that there are just 1000 miles left to the Equator, it is likely that the record from Ushant to the line separating the two hemispheres (5 days, 15 hours) will be beaten and with a huge advance.

IDEC position versus Crois du Sud

Croix du Sud to the north EAst, IDEC to the SW, traveling at over three times the pace of the Class 40 of Henrik Masekowitz

Croix du Sud to the north EAst, IDEC to the SW, traveling at over three times the pace of the Class 40 of Henrik Masekowitz

Solo with two boats

Joe Harris and Henrik Masekowitz are closing in on each other.

Joe Harris has been sailing for 10 days, Henrik for 12. They are both in the warmer climes now. Henrik has some fresh trades behind hm, while Joe is trying to get to the east against light headwinds.

It occured to me that they are both aiming for roughly the same crossing spot on the equator. Far enough east to give them some sea room too leeward vis a vie Brazil, yet not so far east as to be in the crummy wind area. For the purposes of this post I have put the crossing point as 30 degrees west, at the equator. The two screen shots below show Henrik has about 1350 miles to go and Joe has 1790. Hummmm

 Track and distance to go, roughly, for Henrik.

Track and distance to go, roughly, for Henrikto the Equator at 30 degrees west.

And for Joe, the angle is tighter and he has to be sailing upwind to get east at the moment. But we still have say 16 weelks to go….

Joe's track and distance to the Equator at 35 degrees West.

Joe’s track and distance to the Equator at 30 degrees west.

This is Joe’s update from 22nd


Status updated: 22 hrs and 52 mins ago (Mon, November 23 @ 20:43:12)

Hi-Not such a great 24 hours for Team Joey and GS2. Last night was a shit show of one major squall after the next, bringing major thunder, lightning, wind gusting up to 30kn and heavy downpours of rain upon your faithful captain. I was OK with the first couple of these, but then I became really wet and cold and the fun kinda went out of it. It was also a bit scary to be perfectly honest, although the lightning was up higher in the sky and not actually landing in the water. I remember once doing a solo delivery back from Bermuda and I got caught in a huge thunder and lightning storm (in the Gulf Stream of course- my nemesis), where I was pretty damn sure my mast was going to get hit by lightning and blow a hole in the bottom of the boat. With no other boats around, if you were a lightning bolt, why wouldn’t you hit the tall shiny metal object all by itself in the middle of the ocean?? Anyway, it missed me then and it missed me last night, thank God.So the rest of the day has been spent sailing in light air, upwind- something that GS2 does not really like to do. This causes me a lot of stress because I think I should be able to solve the problem- except I can’t- because it kinda “is what it is” as they say. The boat will go upwind properly in 12 knots of wind or more, but in 12 knots or less, we get sticky, because the boat is so wide and flat. And tonight we have 7 knots. Awesome.

I hear that fella Henrik the German is coming down the pike past the Canary and Cape Verde Islands and is enjoying fast trade wind sailing- the bastard. He has a much better downwind sailing angle as he approaches the Doldrums and Equator from Europe vs. the US. Just a fact. I should have a more favorable angle on the return leg from the doldrums to Newport in the Spring.

Break- break- more wind now, although still right on the nose, causing me to aim closer to the “bulge of Brazil” than I would like. Hopefully the wind will come astern more and strengthen tomorrow, so I can aim a little further East. For now, GS2 has undergone a warm weather transformation- with all the cold weather gear stowed away and the food and gear better organized for upwind sailing and life at a 20-degree heel and warmer temps.

Reading “The Martian” and loving it- the perfect book for me right now.

Have a good night-



Jules Verne Trophy, IDEC blasting across the Bay of Biscay

IDEC Sport

Sailing fast across the bay of Biscay, IDEC sport, Francis Joyon and his 5 shipmates are anticipating a fast, perhaps record, run to the Equator. This is their press release.


Thirteen hours after setting off during the night from Ushant, Francis Joyon and his crew of five on the big trimaran IDEC SPORT are approaching Cape Finisterre, the north-western tip of Spain. There has been a huge acceleration since this morning. They can hope for a record run to the Equator.

YELLOW BRICK TRACKER screen shot showin t the positin of GErman sailor Henrik Masekowitz in his Class 40 Croix du Sud. Henrik is bound around the globe also, although at somewhat slower speed.

YELLOW BRICK TRACKER screen shot showing the positin of German sailor Henrik Masekowitz in his Class 40 Croix du Sud. Henrik is bound around the globe also, although at somewhat slower speed. Depending on the track the two big tri’s take, well one hopes they know he is out there. Thirty knots is half a mile a minute…

The NW’ly wind has strengthened again in the Bay of Biscay and as they hoped this morning, IDEC SPORT has stepped up the pace since mid-morning. At 1300hrs UTC on Sunday 22nd November, eleven hours after they got underway (at 02:02:22 last night), the commando brigade on IDEC SPORT is already approaching Spain at the latitude of La Coruna. Anyone, who knows anything about sailing, will understand the extraordinary ability of these huge three-hulled boats to cross the Bay of Biscay in half a day. They can still look forward to reaching the Equator in under five and a half days, remembering that the record for this intermediate stretch is held by Loïck Peyron and his men with a time of 5 days and just under 15 hours.

Marcel Van Triest: “ideal in the North Atlantic”

The router Marcel Van Triest confirmed at 1500hrs this afternoon, “Even if the beam seas are stopping them from going too fast, we can’t grumble. We can sail across the Bay of Biscay on just one tack and only one gybe is likely before the Equator.” For him, there is the possibility of shaving 15 hours off the record for this first stretch, meaning they could move into the Southern Hemisphere in just five days. What happens after that? “Let’s say there is a 75% chance of getting a decent time to the Cape and a 35% chance of doing better than Banque Populaire (the record holder, editor’s note) which was very fast on this stretch between the Equator and the Cape of Good Hope.” On top of that, “tomorrow evening, the lads should be happy, as it will start to warm up, which will change things from what they have seen at the start of this attempt. Advancing at 30 miles per hour on the direct route, you soon make it to warmer climes. To be honest, the weather in the North Atlantic is looking very stable for them and almost perfect. 

(COOP-edit) GFS Wx map from Passage Weather dot com for 2100z Sunday 22 Nov. Looks to be fast and straightforward for the next 48 hours. Just remember, 48 hours at 25 knots is 1200 miles though…

GFS Wx map from Passage Weather dot com for 2100z Sunday 22 Nov. Looks to be fast and straightforward for the next 48 hours. 48 hours at 25 knots is 1200 miles though

Francis Joyon and his men could not be contacted today, which is completely understandable: in the rush that you can expect at the start of such a record attempt, which is as prestigious as this Jules Verne Trophy, the sailors have to find their footing and often have more important things to deal with than communications. Particularly when you set off and immediately hit nasty seas, even before you have got to the start line.

Averaging 30 knots

Apart from the heavy seas, everything is going smoothly for the men on IDEC SPORT, sailing slightly to the east of the direct route. After a cautious start, partly due to the light winds in the first three hours of the attempt when the seas were nevertheless high, when the priority was to ensure the safety of the boat, the crew on IDEC SPORT put their foot down, helped by a NW’ly air stream that is shifting to the NE and strengthening. That is why since 0800hrs this morning, the average speed has been around thirty knots or more, as opposed to 15-25 in the first few hours after crossing the line. Mathematically, the slight loss in comparison to the reference time has been significantly reduced going from around 40 miles this morning at 0800hrs to 15 miles seven hours later. Getting back on equal footing is a possibility tonight in the first part of this record, and any gap is in any case insignificant at this stage. Indeed, we can see that they have managed to sail 336 miles in the first thirteen hours of this attempt.

For the moment, IDEC SPORT has avoided all the hurdles in the Bay of Biscay. They have pulled this off bobbing around on cross seas. On board, everyone is settling in and the six sailors are fully concentrated on what they are doing: avoiding breakages / sailing quickly without taking too many unnecessary risks / sailing downwind to try to get a remarkable record time to the Equator / then continuing on their way like this in the South Atlantic. So far, it’s been going incredibly well.

In short

. IDEC SPORT set off at 02:02:22 UTC on Sunday 22nd November 2015.
. The time to beat
Loïck Peyron and his crew (Banque Populaire) with a time of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds.
. Deadline
To smash the Jules Verne Trophy record, IDEC SPORT has to be back across the line before 1544hrs on Wednesday 6thJanuary.
. The crew
The international crew on IDEC SPORT includes just six men: Francis Joyon (FRA), Bernard Stamm (SUI), Gwénolé Gahinet (FRA), Alex Pella (ESP), Clément Surtel (FRA) and Boris Herrmann (GER)

Jules Verne Trophy, Spindrift 2 racing and IDEC sport underway

The first of the two maxi tris challenging for the Jules Verna trophy crossed the starting ine of Ushant early this morning local (Brest) time.Let the Adventure begin. read on

Press release from Searclear Communications, France

Sunday, November 22, 20


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 boat crossed the line in a north wind of around 10 knots, under a full mainsail and a solent.
MAXI " SPINDRIFT 2" Jules Verne trophy attempt. MAXI " SPINDRIFT 2" Jules Verne trophy attempt.
The record attempt by Dona Bertarelli and Yann Guichard and their crew began four years to the day since the current record-holder, Loïck Peyron, began his attempt (see previous news item). Banque Populaire V set that record at an average speed of 19.75 knots (36.58 km/h) for the theoretical shortest route of 21,600 nautical miles, but they actually travelled 28,965 miles, averaging 26.5 knots (49.08 km/h) over the six weeks. The time set in that impressive performance was 45d 13h 42m 53s, a tough time to beat.Yann Guichard spoke on the radio during the night, just after crossing the line:We don’t have much wind at the moment – 8 to 10 knots. The sea conditions are not easy because there is a strong current, but the wind will pick up strength, reaching around 30 knots in the Bay of Biscay. So, it’s a steady start at 15-18 knots. We’re delighted to have crossed the line on November 22nd, the same date that Loïck Peyron and his crew started their record, so I hope it’s a good omen for us. Right now, we’re all out on deck, manoeuvring the boat to get away from Ushant island as quickly as possible so we can pick up some stronger, more consistent winds.Spindrift stb tackTo beat the record, Spindrift 2 must return to Ushant before 17:43:51 GMT on January 6th, 2016, i.e. 1 minute quicker than the previous time, as per the WSSRC rules. Between now and then, the 14 sailors must sail around the world via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn) on the world’s largest racing trimaran. They will be supported by their onshore router Jean-Yves Bernot, who will operate from his headquarters near La Rochelle (France). Day and night, Jean-Yves will keep a close eye on the boat and on the latest weather updates, which will allow him to work with Yann Guichard and onboard navigator Erwan Israel to identify the best route to follow.

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 10.55.37 AM


Having also been on stand-by in Brest, Francis Joyon’s trimaran left Ushant for her record attempt in the very early hours of this morning, at 2:02:22 GMT, i.e. 1h 59m 36s before Spindrift 2. The two boats are therefore making their descent of the Atlantic at the same time, and should cross the equator in around five days’ time. The record time across the Equator set by Banque Populaire V was 5d 14h 55m. Over the next few hours, the wind will strengthen to around 30 knots in the Bay of Biscay. Sea conditions should also gradually improve, allowing the crew to dash through the Azores High.

Fair winds and following seas to the entire Spindrift crew!” said Antonio Palma, CEO of Mirabaud & Cie SA. “By seeking to push back some of the boundaries in sailing and beat some of the toughest records, Spindrift racing is aligning itself with Mirabaud’s pioneering spirit and capacity for innovation. Everyone around the world at Mirabaud will be passionately following this record attempt.”

We are enthralled by what Spindrift racing has achieved through the young, modern, competitive mindset of Dona, Yann and the entire team,” said Fabio Cavalli, CEO and founder of Genes-x. “We’re right behind them and we hope they make the most of this unique challenge.

Aldo Magada, CEO & President of Zenith: “Zenith is delighted to join forces with Spindrift racing as its official timekeeper for the Jules Verne Trophy. We admire your audacity and competitive spirit, and wish you fair winds and every success in your epic maritime voyage. As usual, your endeavour combines authenticity, audacity and pleasure, making it a thrilling, high-tech adventure.”

Official website:
Twitter: @spindriftracing


Start and finish: a line between Créac’h lighthouse (Ushant island) and Lizard Point (England)
Course: non-stop around-the-world tour travelling without outside assistance via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn)
Minimum distance: 21,600 nautical miles (40,000 kilometres)
Ratification: World Sailing Speed Record Council,
Time to beat: 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds
Average speed: 19.75 knots
Date of current record: January 2012
Holder: Banque Populaire V, Loïck Peyron and a 13-man crew
Stand-by start date for Spindrift 2: October 19th, 2015


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, onboard reporter
Thomas Rouxel, helmsman-bowman
Jean-Yves Bernot, onshore router

Photos © Eloi Stichelbaut – Spindrift racing et Thierry Martinez I Spindrift racing


Solo sailing with 2 (more boats)

And yes I understand these are “fully crewed” boats but I am fascinated by the level of seamanship professionalism and prepareadness of these sailors. I will be doing more posts on this aspect of these adventures as we progress watching these men, and one woman on these voyages                                                             

Two other boats that is, albeit not solo but shanded none the less. The two Maxi Tri’s Spindrift 2 and IDEC are on green alert as of this morning, 1000z.

Both boats are loaded with the necessaries for the next 40 days or so at sea in a high-speed lap of the planet. The time to beat is 43 days and change and so they need to average over 20 knots. Both boats are in Brest close to the stating line off Ushant. As the following press release and interview reports it will be a windy start for the 105-foot tri and her 6-man (yes ladies in fact 6 guys) crew.

Remarkably this VPLP designed boat is pushing 10 years old having been launched as Groupama in 2006. Since then she has a checkered albeit fast career. As Groupama it took Franck Cammas and his crew three tries to set a record in the Jules Verne Trophy.

First a capsize of NZL, then a broken beam slowed them up, Third times a charm though

In last years Route du Rhumb sailing as Banque Populaire and in the very capable hand of Loic Peyron she won the Maxi class in this solo race. Yup, solo transatlantic in a 103 foot tri AND beating Yann Guichard on Spindrift which is 132 feet….

1400 z. CODE GREEN




This time, it’s certain. IDEC SPORT will be tackling the Jules Verne Trophy from today, Saturday 21st November. Francis Joyon has just given the green light, meaning the start is imminent. The big red trimaran will be leaving the port of Brest this afternoon to cross the start line off Ushant this evening. A few hours before the start, which looks like being very rough, Francis Joyon explained the situation.

Francis, this time it’s a green light? Will IDEC SPORT be setting off around the world today?

“Yes! We just decided to set off, as we could see there was the possibility of taking advantage of an area of low pressure in the South Atlantic, so we’ll be setting off today with that in mind. We shall be setting off on a very windy day: 30 to 35 knots of wind in Brest, a lot more over Ushant. The conditions at the start aren’t going to be easy…”

No time to sit back and look at the situation, you’re diving straight in?

WX for  UShant and the Bay of Biscay for 1800 z on Saturday 21 11 15. Breeze on. Equator in 5.5 days, or less.

WX forecast from Passage Weather (dot com) for Ushant and the Bay of Biscay for 1800 z on Saturday 21 11 15. Breeze on. Equator in 5.5 days, or less.

“Yes, we’ll be setting off with one or two reefs. We are going to have to be cautious in the Bay of Biscay where the seas is very rough with a 4-5m swell forecast and the sea may remain cross, because we had a SW’ly gale the day before yesterday and now we are in a northerly air flow. We will immediately be into the heart of the action.”

The record to the Equator is possible, does that mean you are hoping for a good time to the Equator?

“Yes indeed. We hope to beat the reference time to the Equator and it could take us fewer then five and a half days, if everything fits into place.”

How do you feel with just a few hours to go?

“We’re giving the boat one final check-up. To ensure we haven’t forgotten anything and that all the supplies are in place, that everyone has put their passport in the safety locker, lots of little details like that. The crew is happy. They are all used to such starts and are happy when they are at sea…”

Can you tell us about the weather situation?

“The trip to the Equator looks relatively simple. The weather seems settled and we don’t have any questions, apart from what happens tonight with a small area of low pressure, which could cause the wind to drop off in the Bay of Biscay. We mustn’t get caught up in that. But more importantly, we are looking further ahead down to the position of the St Helena High, the pattern of low pressure areas leaving Brazil for the Cape of Good Hope. It’s a mixture of all that that led us to take the decision to set off today.”

Are the doubts you had over the past few days, in particular concerning the situation in the South Atlantic now behind you?

“50% of the doubts have gone, and it’s still a bit of a gamble. We can’t be certain of everything, but we are gambling on a very strong likelihood. In the past, some projects had to wait for months and months to find the right weather opportunity. We have said we have to grab this opportunity.

At what time will you be casting off on IDEC SPORT to head for the start line off Ushant?

“Mid or late afternoon…”

The crew of IDEC SPORT

Francis Joyon (FRA)- Bernard Stamm (SUI)- Gwénolé Gahinet (FRA)- Alex Pella (ESP)- Clément Surtel (FRA)- Borris Herrmann (GER)

The Jules Verne Trophy in short:

The crewed voyage around the world via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin, Horn). 26,400 miles on the theoretical route. The time to beat (Loïck Peyron’s crew: 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds). Average speed required: 20 knots on the Great Circle Route.