- Maxi Spindrift 2
On 6th January 2012, just over three years ago, the Jules Verne Trophy record was beaten for the seventh time in its history. A new record for sailing around the world without stopping via the three capes was beaten by 14 sailors aboard the largest trimaran ever to be built. The crew travelled 40,000 km around the world in 45 ½ days, just over half the time that Jules Verne famously gave to Phileas Fogg.
Spindrift racing is planning to use the same boat to shave more time off what is considered to be the most extreme record against the clock for crewed sailing boats. The team has been working meticulously and creatively to achieve this goal for several months. Now, as 2015 gets underway, this monumental challenge is taking shape every day.
From the workshops to the computer screens, the team has been optimising the maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 for her first around the world record attempt, which should take place next winter. The refit at the boatyard in Brittany will continue through to May, at which point preparation at sea and training will commence.
The technical side is crucial, but a challenge of this scale is all about the dedication of the men and women involved. Spindrift racing has recruited some of the best engineers, technicians and sailors, all of whom are fully focused on their mission. They are working to break this record, which more often than not refuses to be beaten.
Enjoy a selection of images that illustrate some of these highly precise operations, including the new mast being built in Port-la-Forêt and the sails in Vannes.
Discover the first photos taken of the Spindrift 2 during its refit.
The CDK yard in Port-la-Forêt has acquired an autoclave (a huge cylindrical pressure chamber) that is long enough to cure the 42m mast. Design began almost a year ago in February 2014, with construction taking 10 months. The optimisation level is quite exceptional - the new state-of-the-art mast will be half a tonne lighter (a quarter of the total weight) than the one used by Banque Populaire for the Jules Verne Trophy in 2012. Olivier Bordeau of Spindrift racing is keeping a close eye on the mast at the CDK yard, with around a dozen people involved in the operations.
North Sails sailmaker Jacques Guichard is also a member of the Spindrift racing sailing team, placing him in an ideal position to oversee the production of the sails for the maxi-trimaran.
The design of the new mainsail for Spindrift 2 to be used for the Jules Vernes Trophy was approved in November 2014…before the Route du Rhum had even started! Thanks to this forward planning, the production phase does not have to be rushed.
The carbon skins of the mainsail and headsails were manufactured at the North Sails 3Di plant in Nevada, USA and finished in Vannes, France. Even for non-standard offshore racing prototypes, the finishing is always done with a needle and thread, a true hands-on job. The sails are black when they leave the factory so they do not need to be painted, significantly reducing the boat’s overall weight. At the Multiplast yard in Vannes, the technicians painstakingly check over every last piece and every last corner of the boat, leaving no stone unturned. Scheduling is one of the keys to success.
Spindrift 2 will receive maximum shore support through to May. The Jules Verne Trophy campaign is thus already in full swing for everyone at Spindrift racing!
Photos © Eloi Stichelbaut / Spindrift racing