Yann Guichard To Sail The Route Du Rum on The Zenith Spindrift 2
The Route du Rhum has become one of sailing’s most coveted trophies and has been fiercely sought after since its first edition in 1978. It is a transatlantic single-handed yacht race, which takes place every 4 years in November. The 3,542 mile race starts in Saint Malo, Brittany and finishes in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe. Subject to weather conditions the race can take up to seven days, a true test of boat and sailor ability.
Zenith looks to take the challenge by the horns in 2014 and will be represented by Spindrift 2, the largest trimaran on the start line. Spindrift 2 has been specially adapted for the challenging Race. Originally designed to be manned by a crew of 14, the boat has been carefully adapted for this race by Spindrift racing’s design team. The mast has been shortened by 6 metres, reducing the sail area by a fifth to make it more manoeuvrable. The cockpit, meanwhile, has been condensed so it can be used by a single-handed sailor. A bicycle has also been attached to the deck so that Yann can operate the winches with either his arms or his legs. Finally, an autopilot system was installed as an essential feature for single-handed ocean racing.
Skipper Yann Guichard is only too aware of the difficulties that lie ahead: ‘On a boat the size of Spindrift 2, the slightest manoeuvre requires an hour’s work’, he explains. ’You can’t simply make one move after another, or waste all of your energy at once, because you have to remain clearheaded, and ready for the next challenge that awaits.’ Yann knows that the weather will be a key factor, as depressions are notorious for giving competitors a rough ride during these autumnal transatlantic crossings. He knows that with a boat this size, he must get his tactics right and anticipate the conditions to avoid performing manoeuvres that will slow him down and get him caught in unstable winds.During the race, Yann will spend most of his time outside, under the canopy, in a special pilot’s unit which will host his computer, his bunk and all other necessary equipment. He will have to be ready to act at any time, for example, in order to alter course or trim a sail.
We wish Yann and the Zenith Spindrift 2 the best of luck in the race and look forward to watching the action unfold.