As Spindrift Approaches its Fifth Anniversary: A Chat With Yann Guichard
  • Team
October 5, 2016

This weekend saw the Spindrift racing team crowned overall winners of the Grand Prix de Clôture in Versoix, Switzerland, the closing event in the D35 Trophy. This impressive victory marks the end of a busy season and comes at the start of the fifth anniversary for the French-based team.

Yann Guichard, who co-founded Spindrift racing in 2011 with Dona Bertarelli, is justifiably proud of the team’s achievements:

“For the whole team this has been an incredible five years and I feel very privileged to be part of such a committed group of people. I never imagined we would be able to achieve so much in such a short time,”comments Guichard from the team’s base in St Philibert, Brittany.

Five years of shared sporting success

Not only did the 42-year old Breton lead his team in a Jules Verne Trophy Challenge in the winter of 2015/16, missing out on the Holy Grail of sailing by just under two days, but 12 months earlier he finished second in the Route du Rhum, sailing the gigantic 40m gold and black trimaran single-handed from St Malo, to Guadalupe.

The first five years has also seen the team achieve five records in addition to establishing the second fastest time to sail around the world, as well as numerous other accomplishments, both on and off the water.

More recently, the team has expanded into smaller catamaran sailing, making its mark in the challenging M32 and GC32 classes. The team’s commitment to the D35 class in Switzerland, initiated by Dona Bertarelli at the helm of Ladycat in 2007, was again further underlined with the Championship victory at the weekend and winning the Bol d’Or Mirabaud for the third time in June this year.

Whether Spindrift racing is winning inshore, offshore races or beating records, few other teams have managed to excel in all three disciplines, and the French-based team will be continuing this ambitious programme.

Spindrift 2: Built to break records

After the around the world, the Quebec-St Malo and an intense training programme, the team’s ‘jewel in the crown’, the maxi trimaran Spindrift 2, is now out of the water to begin its optimisation programme. It is no mean feat to find a boat yard that is capable of taking the world’s largest trimaran, and once space became available, the team moved the boat from its berth in La Trinité-sur-Mer upriver to the Multiplast yard in Vannes.

From here the Spindrift racing technical and boat building team will make further modifications to the boat before she returns to the water to prepare for a season of records and a future Jules Verne Challenge.

The ultimate challenge

“The Jules Verne Trophy is an enormous undertaking. Historically it takes three attempts to beat the record. There have been 23 challenges but the record has only been broken eight times. In our first attempt we were two days ahead of the record until the weather window closed, but we learnt a huge amount during that first attempt and have continued to learn a lot since. We used the Transat Quebec St Malo to test a few ideas that we had for the boat, and succeeded in beating that race record in the process,” comments Guichard.

“Our strategy of mixing our offshore sailing with the smaller inshore catamaran sailing is proving to be a huge advantage to our overall performance, and we are keen to continue this in the lead up to a second Jules Verne Trophy attempt. In the short term we will be using the World Match Racing Tour and the M32 Series to continue this learning curve."

“The Jules Verne Trophy is an ambition that we wish to accomplish - it is the ultimate achievement in competitive sailing, and for Spindrift racing.

Dona and I are fully committed to beating this record with the team that we have put together over the past five years. It is a record that demands ultimate and total commitment. From a sports and professional perspective, I believe that it is not the right time for us to start our second challenge this winter, and we have therefore decided to postpone our attempt. We are currently in the process of finalising our ongoing sailing programme, which will be announced in due course.

I have been sailing multihulls all of my career: they are the DNA of Spindrift racing. We are now privileged to see how multihulls have become the class of reference for most of the prestigious sailing events in the world. Our ambition as a team is to be the best that we can be in this area of our sport and to continue to grow and develop the group of talented sailors that we are fortunate to have as part of our team,” he concludes.