• Maxi Spindrift 2
July 17, 2016

On board blog from Dona Bertarelli
16th July
20:23 GMT

Last night we left the St Lawrence seaway and sailed along the Newfoundland coast.  At the extreme east of Canada, the area of Newfoundland has the air of an abandoned country: hostile vegetation, barren land and a harsh climate… Despite this, Newfoundland has a number of areas classified as world heritage sites by Unesco.

The Grand Banks of Newfoundland have kept their promise. Known for areas of thick fog, we were not disappointed.  I have never helmed in such conditions, where to simply see the bow of the boat was a relief.  The thick fog, humid, grey sea and the few birds following in the wake of Spindrift 2 remind me of the Indian Ocean.  The icebergs are not far away and the Race Committee does not allow us to sail beyond 47° so that we avoid the ice zone.

When the Labrador Current, the cold current from the Artic Ocean, meets the warmer water of the Gulf Stream it forms the famous mists that are found at the Grand Banks close to Newfoundland.  This area of shallows is also recognised as one of the richest fishing areas in the world, and it is not unusual to see fishing trawlers here.  Because of the difference in temperatures, it is also here, between Newfoundland and Greenland, that there are deep depressions and areas of strong and violent winds.

We are sailing, according to the instruments, at a little less than 30 knots, and once we past the ice gate we hoisted our gennaker and sailed downwind at 30-35 knots towards the famous Fastnet Rock.

The Class 40 fleet is now behind us.  Seen on the radar 2000 miles ahead of us, we passed downwind of the Multi 50 Olmix skippered by  Pierre Antoine.  Coming out of the fog like ghost, it is great to come across our competitors.  The next ones will not be for a few days.


Under grey skies and powered by a following wind of about 20kts, we are making our way towards the Fastnet on starboard tack.
The wind has eased slightly and conditions are much calmer than yesterday ...
The gennaker is out, our goal is to move away as much as possible from the low pressure area to the South, which would deprive us of wind.  But in the meantime we continue to sail downwind taking advantage reaping the advantages of the last 24 hours before having to sail close to the wind once again.


Speed: 26.4 kts
DTF: 1,143.6 nm
Speed (last four hours): 28.3 kts
Cap: 72°