Spindrift racing win MOD70’s debut, the Fast and Furious KRYS OCEAN RACE

Spindrift racing- Marseille City Race 28.07.12

New York to Brest in under five days

After over three years of planning, gestation and a significant financial investment the five strong fleet of MOD70 one design trimarans were rewarded with an exceptional weather pattern to deliver a stunning global debut, the 2950 miles KRYS OCEAN RACE from New York to Brest.

Starting in light winds off Manhattan on July 7th, while New Yorkers sweated through their hottest day of 2012 so far, the 30 MOD70 crews were very quick to hook on to the leading edge of a low pressure system which was to slingshot them all the way across the Atlantic.

It was Yann Guichard and his five crew of Spindrift racing, MOD70 number 5 that was launched only in January, who set the bar at a very high level for the first KRYS OCEAN RACE.

With his hard driving team, strong on multihull experience - notably driver-trimmers- Guichard broke the finish line in Breton rain off Brest’s Petit Minou light just 4 days 21 hours 08 minutes and 37 seconds after leaving New York.

Spindrift racing sailed an actual 3,284 miles on the water at an average of 28.04 knots.

Incredibly it was only at pretty much at the isle of Ushant, the very final approach to Brest that the victors made their first gybe since leaving US waters.

First night drama

The lead was successively swapped through the first 12-24 hours of the race.

During the first night class co-founder Stève Ravussin had a slender lead when he informed Race HQ that his Race for Water had struck a semi-submerged container and had badly damaged their centreboard. Ravussin reported later that they literally went from 21 knots to close to zero in seconds after clattering the container.

With a crack opened in their main hull, Race for Water made some running repairs but were unable to stop the water ingress. In a compromised state, baling every 40 minutes, they dropped off the weather system, had to sail more miles and finished a frustrating fifth.

Musandam-Oman Sail, skippered by Sidney Gavignet, was at the top of the fleet too later the next day when they were forced to slow when their port foil failed. They swapped their reversed starboard foil into the port box and were able to drive on at good speeds, but were not able to match the pace set by the leaders.

But, with two less experienced Omani sailors on board, their primary objective was achieved when they finished fourth in Brest.

Spindrift racing lead, 711.9 miles in 24 hours

Spindrift racing actually overhauled FONCIA then leveraged their initial advantage on a tough, dark, dirty second night when the breeze and seas were on the build.

They held low and fast, staying with their gennaker in SW’ly winds of 30 knots plus whilst their main rivals sailed slightly higher on standard headsails.

Their lead built steadily. From an initial three miles Guichard’s gains climbed to 17, to 26 miles and just over a day later Spindrift had left Groupe Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) and FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux) some 79 miles in their wake.

It being the first trans-ocean race, the chasing duo – though vastly experienced -were not as prepared to risk so much so early. But on an unexpectedly direct track, one which then proved bereft of strategic options, Spindrift racing proved uncatchable.

The pace was well ahead of all expectations.

Official predictions had cited six days, maybe the later hours of day five, to bring the MOD70’s into the heart of the huge Tonnerres de Brest maritime festival. But within 48 hours of the start Spindrift racing had already reeled off 711.9 miles 24 hours, the best of the race. The three top boats all topped 700-mile days for a spell during that first period before the seas built.

That they arrived before the festival doors had even opened, on Friday 13th July, was scarcely of consequence.

In fact it was only on the approach to Ireland and then the tip of England that Spindrift’s speed dropped significantly below 20 knots.

For a few hours they dealt with a temporary ridge off the Azores high and Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and FONCIA compressed into them, the gap narrowed to just less than 30 miles.

But they were quickly all back aboard the same conveyor belt, that benevolent front which they had taken off from New York with and Spindrift racing crossed the finish making more than 30 knots.

The European flagged Spindrift racing crew were widely applauded for their success. As his first lieutenant, Guichard has Pascal Bidégorry, who skippered the crew that set the outright Atlantic record of 3 days 15 hours 25 minutes and 48 second in 2009. Those on this KRYS OCEAN RACE winning team sailing with Bidégorry included Kevin Escoffier and Jean Baptiste Le Vaillant.

Podium secured in under 1h 40mins

That the one design, racing the Atlantic on even terms, concept works is immediately endorsed as all three of the podium finishers arrived on the finish line within 1 hour and 40 minutes.

At 1h 11m 12s behind the winner, Sébastien Josse and the crew of Groupe Edmond de Rothshchild took second place after being pursued vigorously for more than four days by double Vendée Globe winner Michel Desjoyeaux and the crew of FONCIA who finished third only 28 minutes, 8 seconds behind them.

Josse and his young crew are probably the team that has had the most sustained training programme, working through the winter months in Morocco, usually in ideal strong winds to a cohesive, structured plan. Their team is strong on multiple skills from diverse sailing backgrounds, with less pure multihull experience.

So a level is set for the MOD70’s 2012 European Tour that starts in Kiel on Sunday 2nd September. It will be a very different set of challenges. 

For a debut, the MOD70 fleet could have wanted for little more than the KRYS OCEAN RACE. The weather system was ‘to order’, the racing simple, lightning fast and direct and being hosted in the heart of the Tonnerres de Brest – which attracts close to 1million visitors and over 2000 craft, literally from warships and tall ships to coracles and hand built dinghies - to Brest brought this MOD70 class to a huge, interested audience.

Franck David, CEO of Multi One Design concluded

“We feel very happy to have the race finished. It was a big challenge for the organisation and for the teams as well. We spoke with each of the skippers as they arrived at the finish and they tell us the boats are very good boats, with good reliability and good performance.”

“And we have 100% of the boats which started here at the finish, it a good race and a good start for us. And 711 miles for Spindrift racing in 24 hours is a really good level for the Multi One Design.”

“Of course we were a little bit caught by surprise how fast they went. Four days and 21 hours is something quite amazing. We were prepared for a six day crossing, so it was tough on the organisational front for the finish when they arrived in Brest.”

“Everybody on board is happy and we are happy with the organisation. It is a good day for us and now we look forwards to the European Tour in one month.”

Finish of the KRYS OCEAN RACE (UTC +2hrs)

1-Spindrift-racing  (Yann Guichard) finished July 12 at 12h 08 '37 at 25.3 knots average (theoretical route) in 4d 21h 08' 37

2-Groupe Edmond de Rothschild  (Sébastien Josse) at 13h 19 '49 at 25.06 knots average (theoretical route) in 4d 22h 19' 49

3-FONCIA (Michel Desjoyeaux) at 13h 47 '57 in 24.96 knots average (theoretical route) in 4d 22h 47' 57

4-Musandam-Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) July 12 at 22h 05 '38 at 23.3 knots average (theoretical route) in 5d 07h 05' 38

5-Race For Water (Steve Ravussin) July 13 at 07h 32 '32 to 18.47 knots average (theoretical route) in 6d 16h 32' 32

Quotes, best of:

Yann Guichard, skipper Spindrift racing: “It actually all comes down to our ability to stay longer than anyone under gennaker on the second night of the race. Winds were really blowing hard as we entered the low pressure system and we were picking up speed, close to 35 knots. The sea was still very calm and flat so we pushed a little bit harder than any of our competitors. We were able to combine great boat speed and a better wind angle. We slid downwind the entire night and in the next morning, we were in command, on a better course with greater speed. It was then all a matter of keeping that advantage, which we did as we were, day after day, the fastest boat in the race. We only slowed down as we reached the Scilly Islands with the low pressure dying out on us. But we had a small edge over our opponents that proved sufficient to secure victory”

Sébastien Josse, skipper Groupe Edmond de Rothschild: “Being so close is a good sign for the boats competing together. The first 48 hours we broke the 700 miles barrier and that is good for the future. I don’t think it can go much higher than that, maybe 10 miles, because we really did have the perfect conditions. The tour of Europe will be a different game, shorter two days legs, maybe some upwind in the north of Scotland…we spoke a bit about Shetland – that is really north.”

Michel Desjoyeaux, skipper FONCIA: “I think they are a very good team and pushed the boat very hard downwind. You need to be very precise driving the boat and trimming the sails, maybe we have to work hard. For sure it was our first Transatlantic race downwind and the first objective was to finish the race and not capsize. So if you do not want to take risks then you lose places. That is the game. But we were happy to finish three boats in less than two hours after five days racing after a very, very fast race”

Sidney Gavignet, skipper Musandam-Oman Sail: “Breaking the foil there was no way to come back, but we reacted well. Next time we would react quicker. But we fell out of the system, one step back and there as no chance to get back on terms. We validated out learning. Our goal was to arrive here, we did that well but we really learned a little as well, but we keep that to ourselves. I am pretty confident we can be in the game in the next race. Leading out of New York, we had some good luck, but it was delicious at the time!”   

Brian Thompson, Musandam-Oman Sail: “It is amazing, there are probably only three multihulls which have gone quicker than us MOD70’s. We left on a random day that was decided about a year ago, one day when the weather was just perfect.  We were just ahead of the cold front all the way, just going at our speed and so we were averaging 25knots most of the way. I’ve waited in New York for six months of my life waiting for weather as good as that and never got it, and here, leaving on that arbitrary day, we had this amazing weather. It was a dream run.”

Stève Ravussin, skipper Race for Water: “When you hit a floating object like this in the first seconds you are not sure what happened. Then in the next minutes you analyse what the situation is with the boat, wondering at the same time what the options are -New York, and the Azores. But what happened was not too bad, so we decided to finish the race. But in fact we were lucky to have such great conditions to sail downwind with no daggerboard. We are pleased to bring the boat to Brest: we can say that the MOD70 is a solid boat considering the shock that we took at about twenty knots.

" Our boat Race for Water, is about preserving our oceans, and I think it is not good for ships to dump containers in the water, the deal is to take them from port to port."

“Politicians need to work on this, just as they do fuel in the water and plastic on the water. It should be forbidden.”

Atlantic records – for comparative purposes,

WSSR course is Ambrose Light NY to Lizard, Cornwall UK  is 2910 miles

KRYS OCEAN RACE course is New York to Brest 2950 miles

2001 Steve Fossett, PlayStation, 125 feet catamaran, crew of 11  4 days 17hours  28mins  6secs 

2006 Bruno Peyron,  Orange II, 120 ft catamaran, crew of 12, 4 days 8 hours 23 mins 54 secs

2007 Franck Cammas, Groupama 3, 103ft Trimaran crew of 12, 4 days 3 hours 57mins 52 secs

2009 Pascal Bidégorry, Banque Populaire V, 103 ft trimaran, crew of 14. 3 days 15 hours 25 mins 48 secs




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