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, 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


Gryphon Solo 2: sailing solo, with two

Apparently Joe  Harris was not fully briefed on the presence on the North Atlantic of, would you believe another sailor in a Class 40 making an attempt on the 137 day record Gryphon Solo 2 is working on.

This report and challenge arrived from Gryphon Solo 2 earlier today. This is a cut and paste in italics


Joe aboard GS2- 28’21 N X 56′ 14 W on 11/20/15
Hello folks-

Today I became aware of a new competitor out here on the great Atlantic race course and that is a gentleman named Henrik Masekowitz. Henrik is from Germany and is attempting to break the same record as I am- 137 days around the world, solo, non-stop, unassisted for a monohull boat 40′ or less. Henrik started from France two days before I did and is sailing a Class 40 Akilaria RC 1 named “Croix du Sud”, whereas as I am sailing an Akilaria RC2. Both boats were designed by naval architect Marc Lombard in France and built in Tunisia by MC-Tech- Henrik’s in 2007 and GS2 in 2011. Pretty darn similar boats. I believe Henrik’s web site is: and he is also on YB tracker at

(Cooper inserts YB tracker for HM-my comments at end)

Yellow Brick tracking position for Henrik Masekowitz, Croix du Sud, at 0500z Sat 21-11-15

Yellow Brick tracking position for Henrik Masekowitz, Croix du Sud, at 0500z Sat 21-11-15

So it is “Game On” sports fans… we have a race on our hands, which is I think is what both Henrik and I were hoping for in both originally trying to do the Global Ocean Race, which is no longer happening.

So here we are- completely unexpectedly- joined on the race course around the world- but he coming from France and me coming from Newport. I think the mileages are pretty similar and we will meet up at the equator and then sail the same course around the bottom of the globe- leaving the five great capes to port and Antarctica to starboard- and ultimately around Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America and then back up to the equator and then splitting paths, with Henrik back to France and me to Newport.

Henrik's weather for 0900z on Sat.

Henrik’s weather for 0900z on Sat.

Wx chart from Passage Weather for Henrik’s area for 0900z Sat. 221-11-15. Henrik is at 33 degrees 46 mins north and 16 degrees 21 minutes west.

Henrik’s record attempt is also being reviewed by the World Speed Sailing Records Council in England as my attempt is. It’s quite ironic, isn’t it?

Upon reflection, I do think it’s pretty cool… as long as I win smile emoticon However, if I break the old record but lose to Henrik, that could potentially suck… but let’s not go there girlfriend.


Henrik 1200z Sat

The Wx chart from Passage Weather for Henrik’s area for 1200z Sat. 221-11-15

I know for a fact that this will sharpen my competitive instincts and cause me to push even harder, while remembering that you can’t win unless you finish safely.

So, Henrik- I wish you safe and fast passage… just not too fast pal… and for the first leg… I’ll wager you a bottle of fine French champagne I get to the Equator first- even with your two-day head start!

Best to all-


Henrik is, as of 0400 Saturday, 21-11-15 about 60 miles north of Maderia in modest trades making 7 knots. In 2 hours he will have been going for 8 days . His DMG from last Friday at 0600z to present is on the order of 1100 miles. Based on eight days, his average speed has been around 5.7 Kts.

Next up, the two maxi tris on standby for a shot at the Jules Vern Trophy. That is apart from the boats returning from the TYJV and the Mini Transat…(well those not going by ship anyway). Sheesh going to need a traffic cop out there pretty soon.






Solo sailing, with two

Solo circumnavigations in a crowded Atlantic

The are perhaps a couple of hundred people following Joe Harris aboard Gryphon Solo 2 after his departure from Newport last week outbound on his circumnavigation. For those of us watching Joe sail off towards the sparking blue, distant S.E. horizon on Sunday it is unlikely anyone was thinking that the North Atlantic could, in late November, be a somewhat crowded place. Relatively speaking.

Joe Harris "started" and underway, next stop, Newport RI.

I discovered a few days later via a comment on Scuttlebutt (small world eh?) that there is in fact a German fellow outbound, presently off Portugal attempting precisely the same voyage. What do you think would be the odds of two guys taking off within 27 hours of each other in the same (class of) boats on a solo, non-stop circumnavigation via The Great Capes? Slim would be an understatement I reckon.

A Yellow Brick Tracker screen  shot of Gryphon Solo 2's position taken at 1915 EST Wednesday Nov 15.

A Yellow Brick Tracker screen shot of Gryphon Solo 2’s position taken at 1915 EST Wednesday Nov 18.

Based on my very rough interpretation of a piece on a Yacht magazine, in Germany, one Henrik Masekowitz, a 49 year old German, departed at 0600 GMT on Friday 13 (yup) November, crossing a “starting line” between The Lizard and le d’Ouessant, at the SW corner of Brittany. This historic transit is the favored start/finish line for all manner of circumnavigations, in particular those of the French maxi multihulls engaging on the same voyage, commonly the Trophy Jules Verne. Henrik’s avowed plan is, like Joe Harris’s an attempt on the present 137 day’s and change record for 40 footers..

Masekowitz seems to be lacking his own web site although he has a face book page that connects back to Yacht magazine. His Linkedin page shows him as having since 2000 moved on from being a freelance IT computer guy to professional sailor . This might be the mid-life crisis more of us wished we had acted on…… In the intervening years he sailed in two Mini Transats-2007 and 2013 and the British based Azores and back, aka, AZAB.

Screen shot taken at 1930 EST of Henrik Masekowitz's position. The date on the tracker indicates that it is about 25 minutes old, now.

Screen shot taken at 1930 EST of Henrik Masekowitz’s position. The date on the tracker indicates that it is about 25 minutes old at 1930 EST

The boat of choice for HIS circumnavigation is a first generation Akilaria. Henrik’s Akilaria is of the same class & make of boat that the Chinese sailor Guo Chuan used to establish the present record (137 days and change) in 2013. Akilaria is also the builder of the boat under Joe Harris although Gryphon Solo 2 is the Mk.2 version. Masekowitz’s boat “Croix du Sud” is number 64 (Vs. #106 for Joe) built in 2008.

A third Akilaria has made this voyage albeit double handed with stops. Italian Marco Nannini circumnavigated in the Global Ocean Race in 2011/12

The North Atlantic has indeed been an even more crowded place in the past month or so. Excluding the “run of the mill” vessels making the voyage from Europe to the Caribbean and beyond, there have been two major short-handed races, both of which are just wrapping up. (And just think, a Trans-Atlantic passage used to be such an achievement too…Think Sopranino….)

Screen shot of the Class 40 tracking as they close in on the finish of the Transat Jacque Vabre

Screen shot of the Class 40 fleet tracking as they close in on the finish of the Transat Jacque Vabre.

The Transat Jacque Vabre, a double-handed race from Le Harve, France to Itajai in Brazil, over a course of some 5500 miles is close to being complete. FOURTY boats were entered including: 20 IMOCA 60’s and in what must be a record rate of attrition, 11 abandoned the race, 4 fifty foot multihulls plus two of the Maxi tris., and 14 Class 40’s. The tail-enders of whom are still 1800 miles out.

Metaphorically speaking there has been a crossing the “T” of the TJV (a north-south race) by the Mini Transat, sailing east to west. The Mini Class chose to stay in the Northern Hemisphere for this year’s event and so the Mini 650’s are flooding into Guadeloupe having sailed across the mid-latitudes from the Canaries starting 18 days ago.

The remains of the Mini Transat fleet heading for the finish at Guadeloupe, ideally in time for the party….

The remains of the Mini Transat fleet, largely the production “series” boats heading for the finish at Guadeloupe, ideally in time for the party….

Not to be left out of a nice mid-fall lap of the planet are two Maxi Trimarians, Spindrift 2 and IDEC Sport.

Maxi Trimarian Spindrift 2 in Newport preparing for an attempt on the West to East Trans-Atlantic record in 2014

Maxi Trimarian Spindrift 2 in Newport preparing for an attempt on the West to East Trans-Atlantic record in 2014. They were very gracious in hosting members of the Prout School Sailing Team

These two behemoths are in the starting blocks in Brest warming up for a departure, possibly this weekend, for the latest crack at winning the Trophy Jules Verne. The current record is 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds established in fact by Spindrift 2 sailing as Groupama under the command of French sailing legend, Loick Peyron. This pace indicates then that one or the other or perhaps even both monster tri’s are going to have to sail around the world averaging over 20 knots. It is rather intimidating to consider that if these guys and one woman depart in the next day or so they may well be back for New Years Eve celebrations. Think about THAT for a minute.

This is a tad more then the 8.0 kts. Joe and Henrik need to average for them to claim the new record for the 40 foot class.

Spindrift traking page showing her in Brest with the engine ticking over waiing for othe green light….

Spindrift tracking page showing her in Brest with the engine ticking over waiting for the green light….

Screen shot of the tracking page for IDEC and Francis Joyon

And a screen shot of the tracking page for IDEC and Francis Joyon, showing them also on stand by in Brest. The blue boat is Loic Peyrons boat, as a reference I think. This traking seervicec can show the tracks of both boats so you can easily tell who is ahead.

Lastly, one hope’s that the tri’s, and probably the 40’s too, do not simply run over Bristol RI sailor Donna Lange as she, comparatively speaking, crawls along in her Southern Cross 28.  And while not exacly in the North Atlantic rignt now, she was  a bit earlier on in the season. Her position, on Tuesday 17 November in the middle of the Indian Ocean at 41 30’s x 68.00e.

For those of us who grew up watching long distance offshore solo sailing, all this is somewhat mind boggling. Reading about the exploits of the pioneers of the genre  is a more accurate statement. At very long intervals their reports wafted in from static laden short wave conversations and were molded into newspaper stories devoured by the lilkes of the 12,13,14 year old me. Those stories of especially of Sir Robin Knox Johnson, Sir Francis Chichester and the rest of the pioneering solo circumnavigators were the stories of my youth and have shaped my own seamanship. These men might well be impressed: Ms. Lange is on her second lap in a “small boat”.

One last thought: Ms. Lange is one of ony 4 sailors from the US in this entire squadron of solo or otherewise remakable sailors and boats out sailing on the waters of the world.

She is joined by: Joe Harris, Andy Able, sailing a mini and Ryan Breyaimer who had to abandon the TJV.

Regardless, Bon Courage all.