- Maxi Spindrift 2
Tuesday 18th August - 8:30 pm: message from Dona Bertarelli
Third and final day at sea.
This third day of racing has been marked by the lack of wind. All day the sea has been clock calm, the water an unusual colour for this area - emerald green, like a mountain lake.
Dolphins were always with us, coming to play around the bow at will. At one point an ocean sunfish swam between two of the hulls, rocking in the small wake of Spindrift 2.
Yet despite the breathtaking seascape, there is no respite.
In the distance – and sometimes perilously closer – the trimaran Prince de Bretagne’s silhouette looms large, chasing us down.
It’s a game of cat and mouse as one gust blows after another. Sometimes we maintain the lead; sometimes they catch up. We’re still ahead at the moment, but the race is far from over.
With 70 nautical miles still to go, night is falling, which makes things harder for the two teams, but also provides an opportunity to escape from one another’s sight.
A dark, moonless night will throw up some surprises all the way to the finish line in Plymouth.
Tuesday 18th August - 11:00 am: message from Yann Riou, mediaman on Spindrift 2
A windless Celtic Sea
Since we rounded Fastnet Rock yesterday afternoon, Spindrift 2 has been trying to make headway in the Celtic Sea, grabbing hold of the slightest gust in the unreliable, light winds.
Only occasionally has she reached speeds of more than 10 knots, which is quite unusual for this boat. Crossing paths with Rambler – the leading monohull – early last night was a reminder that we’re not the only ones struggling in the calm conditions.
We just need to be patient and do what we can in the current conditions. A gentle, fleeting breeze has increased our cushion over our rivals, but the slightest bit of wind could allow them to catch us or even move ahead.
Setting an ETA is difficult in these conditions, but we expect the pace to pick up during the day, allowing us to reach the finish line overnight.
Monday 17th August - 11:30 pm: message from Dona Bertarelli
Fastnet Rock rounded, halfway home.
As expected, the rounding of Fastnet has marked the start of a new race. In the late afternoon, our one-hour lead over MOD70 Phaedo and the 80-foot trimaran Prince de Bretagne has been vanishing like mountain snow in spring. The two boats are in sight, downwind, a few miles behind us. We are suffering from the light 6 knot wind. These conditions don't suit Spindrift2 which was built for stronger winds. Once again the crew can expect a hard, tactical night. However, the experience is living up to our expectations.
We approached the mythical rock and lighthouse under a grey, cloudy sky. As the silhouette rose eerily up from the horizon, a whale joined us, as if to congratulate us for our efforts.
We were then joined by some spectators who had come out in their boats, braving the conditions so they could cheer on the crews as we round the famous stones in the ocean.
The view is quite breathtaking. The lighthouse stands majestically on a hostile but uniquely beautiful rock. The islet’s only residents, the cormorants, seem unperturbed by events on the water.
As we leave behind the magical surroundings of Fastnet Rock, the calm winds remind us that the chasing pack is in hot pursuit. Meanwhile, around a dozen dolphins swim alongside us until sunset.
It’s time to boil some water and cook our freeze-dried food. Tonight it’s paella. Not your typical meal in the Irish Sea! Olé!
Monday 17th August - 10:30 am: overnight update from Yann Riou, mediaman on Spindrift 2
Lizard Point in the early hours,
It was a hard night’s work. The light winds are not exactly what you normally encounter when circumnavigating the globe, but they still shed light on our strengths and weaknesses against the Mod70s, which are particularly quick in those kind of conditions. The weather allowed us to measure ourselves against Oman Sail in the hours after sunset. It was neck and neck between us until the wind picked up, which allowed us to raise our gennaker and put some distance between us and the other multihulls.
The Fastnet Race has come after a busy winter refit and is an excellent opportunity to test the changes made to Spindrift 2 in her Jules Verne set-up. There have been no bad surprises so far, and the crew are delighted to have been able to come together for what will probably be their only race of the season before they race against the clock.
Have a good day,
Sunday 16th August: message from Dona Bertarelli
Arrival in the early morning light at The Needles for Spindrift2 and its crew. No boats here yet for this 90th edition of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2015 with a record 356 participants.
Spindrift racing’s support team welcomes us with croissants: a treat after 2 days sailing from our home port of La Trinité-sur-Mer in Brittany.
Very quickly a parade of boats fills the Solent with bright orange for the presentation of storm sails and crew safety equipment at the Identity Gate.
The wind, nonexistent. The current against us.
Our main focus is to set Spindrift2 in the right place at the right angle and with enough wind in our sails to manoeuvre our 23 tonnes in the tight Solent Channel.
At noon sharp the traditional start is given by the cannon of the Royal Ocean Racing Club in Cowes .
MOD70 Phaedo takes the lead closely followed by our gold and black crew. We will have to wait until past The Needles where the wind gradually gets stronger before we take the lead.
Now heading to Lizard Point in 8 knots Northwesterly wind, we are battling with MOD70 Oman Sails as our closest opponents.
The night is dark with no moon. The air is cool. The crew on shift are constantly at the look out. It will be a long night.