- Maxi Spindrift 2
Exactly one week after the Route du Rhum began in Saint-Malo, the leaders are already preparing for their arrival in Guadeloupe. As the layer of clouds rises following 48 hours of heavy rain, all eyes on the island are turning to the arrival of the first boats. The main city square in Pointe-à-Pitre, Place de la Victoire, is preparing to give the sailors a hero’s welcome. With just 400 nautical miles to go, Yann Guichard, still in second position behind Loïck Peyron, is sailing at an average speed of 27 knots and could reach the course marker at Tête à l’Anglais, to the north of Basse-Terre, on Monday morning local time (around lunchtime in Europe). He will then begin the famous tour around the island, which is always complex and full of uncertainty.
“Last night, after the squalls, Spindrift 2 slowed down in an area of low wind, with the trade winds calming to speeds of around 10 knots for several hours,” explained Erwan Israël, from the team’s routing centre near La Trinité-sur-Mer. “Yann didn’t sleep much, but successfully negotiated another unstable situation, maintaining his lead over his two chasers, Lionel Lemonchois and Sébastien Josse. Spindrift 2 recovered speed when the wind picked back up to around 17-18 knots.”
A complex final stretch
The skipper will use this sprint in stable conditions to get some precious minutes of sleep and to stock up on food, ready to face the final stages of the race. The final lap of the island will surely require a huge physial investment, with several maneouvres and sail changes to complete. Out in the lead, Banque Populaire VII is expected to reach Guadeloupe in a matter of hours and is preparing to complete the tour around the island during the night. Yann will do the tour during the daytime, which should slightly facilitate the task, enabling him to better monitor the wind and avoid the numerous fishing nets.
“We’ll ask Yann to gybe before he reaches Tête à l’Anglais at dawn on Monday around midday French time,” explained Erwan. “After that, Richard Silvani (Météo France) and I will take a back seat, because the best way for Yann to adapt to the conditions will be based on his observations from the boat. One piece of good news is that the trade winds are likely to be blowing at around 15 knots in the Canal des Saintes channel, which would be favourable for Spindrift 2.”
Despite all the forecasts, it is very hard to accurately predict what time Yann will reach Pointe-à-Pitre. The last 50-mile stretch between Tête à l’Anglais and the finish line in front of Pointe de la Verdure in the town of Gosier, is one of the most unpredictable parts of the course.
Ultimes class standings at 7pm CET:
Position / distance / current speed
1. Loïck Peyron / Banque Populaire VII, 134,3 nm to the finish
2. Yann Guichard / Spindrift 2, 377,8 nm to the finish
3. Sébastien Josse / Edmond de Rothschild, 551,7 nm to the finish
4. Lionel Lemonchois / Prince de Bretagne, 619,1 nm to the finish
5. Sidnez Gavignet / Musandam - Oman Sail, 635,3 nm to the finish
6. Francis Joyon / Idec Sport, 824,3 nm to the finish
7. Yann Eliès / Paprec Recyclage, 968,6 to the finish
8. Sodebo Ultim’, Thomas Coville, Abandon
>> SPINDRIFT 2 ARRIVAL INFORMATION Monday 10th November at Pointe-à-Pitre:
-A map showing the positions of Spindrift 2 within a 30-mile radius of Tête à l’Anglais will be available on Spindrift racing’s website (adapted for tablets and smartphones), updated every 6 minutes.
-A newsflash with the key race stats for Yann Guichard and Spindrift 2 will be published as soon as Yann crosses the finish line.
-A few minutes later, a news will report on Yann’s first thoughts after he reaches the dock, accompanied by photos of the arrival.
-Follow Yann Guichard’s arrival live on Twitter: @spindriftracing