Day 1 : The Start
  • Maxi Spindrift 2
July 14, 2016

Transat Quebec Saint Malo

Video from the start

Onboard blog from Dona Bertarelli
2300h GMT Weds - Day 1

It is great to be back with Spindrift 2 again!  I have not been onboard since 8 January when we finished the Jules Verne and it is just like being back with an old friend that I have not seen for a long time - a loved one who I know really well and holds no secrets from me.  Nothing has changed and it seems as if it was yesterday that we returned from our world tour.

My companions are also all here, other than a few exceptions.  For this legendary race from Quebec to St Malo that takes place every four years, we also have onboard Erwan Leroux, himself a successful skipper in many races with his Multi 50, including the Route du Rhum;   two young English sailors bursting with talent - Sam Goodchild and Jack Bouttel.  There is Simone Gaeta, who works at the heart of the technical team at Spindrift and was onboard when we won the Discovery Route record in 2013.  We also have our devoted mediaman and team webmaster, Chris Schmid.  And finally, my son Duncan Spath, a passionate sportsman who was onboard when we won the Rolex Fastnet Race last year, but this will be his first Atlantic crossing.

We crossed the start line in Quebec at 1600h local time. The city is known for its incredible scenery as well as its very welcoming local population.  The diversity of the waters of the St Lawrence, the biggest fjord in the world covering more than 100,000 nautical miles, attract a host of marine animals including three types of whale, including the beluga. And not forgetting the many seals that can be seen the length of the coastline.  There are also a large number of birds, including an important gannet colony on the small island of Bonaventure, with over 121,000 birds.

The start is now done and we are bearing away in 8-10 knots of wind.  We have to keep gybing as the river is very narrow here so we have to be extra vigilant of the small islands, rocks and sandbanks as we make our way out into open sea.  Most of the crew will be on watch over the next 24 hours so no-one will get much sleep but once we are through we will begin the watch system of five pairs of two crew rotating every hour and a half.  The same  onboard routine as the Jules Verne Trophy, with four crew on deck, two on standby and four on off-watch.

At the time of writing, the wind has completely disappeared.  There is not a breath and the water is as flat as glass.  We are by the shore the Iles of Oies and if that we were not frustrating enough, we are being bitten by a determined army of mosquitoes that are relishing this opportunity of fresh blood!  We hope that, as it gets dark, the wind will fill back in  and we can escape their feast.

07:30 GMT - Spindrift 2 position:

Speed : 24,2 knt
DTL : 3,5 nm
Speed (last four hours): 12,2 knt
Cap: 37°