Published: Tuesday, 05 January 2016

Situated just 2,600 nautical miles away from the finish line off Ushant Island, France and about to start her 43rd day at sea (on Jan 3), Spindrift 2 has decided it will no longer be able to improve on the Jules Verne Trophy record time of 45 days 13 hours 42 minutes 53 seconds, set in 2012 by Loïck Pevron and his crew on Banque Populaire V.

Spindrift 2 Halts Jules Verne Trophy Record Attempt

(Photo: Eloi Stichelbaut)

Although the crew has battled incessantly, closing the gap by more than 700 miles in three days, the weather has sealed their fate. Violent storm and weather conditions in the Atlantic make it impossible for the crew to finish the circumnavigation on time. Spindrift 2's crew has been forced to halt their record attempt.

To beat the record, the trimaran would need to average 26 knots all the way to the finish line, with compliant weather. Until January 3, there was still a slim chance of crossing the finish line next to Créac'h lighthouse on Ushant on time, with just a few minutes to spare. Unfortunately, later in the day weather conditions changed and blocked all possible routes to the line before the cut-off point on January 6 at 5:43 UTC.

“We'll have to be very careful sailing back in to Brittany, as we’re expecting strong winds and heavy seas,” says Spindrift 2 Skipper Yann Guichard. “All this means we're no longer in record-attempt mode, as we can no longer claim the Jules Verne Trophy. Our aim now is to cross the finish line safely in Ushant and then return to the home port in La Trinité-sur-Mer.”

Spindrift 2 Halts Jules Verne Trophy Record Attempt 1

(Photo: Yann Riou) 

The Spindrift 2 crew departed for their journey on November 22, from Ushant Island. The 14 sailors were expected to sail around the world via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn).

"Obviously it's disappointing to come so close without being able to finish off the job,” says helmsman-trimmer Dona Bertarelli. “It has been and will remain a wonderful adventure. Long before our departure we knew the situation, and we knew the weather would be the arbiter. You just have to accept how things turn out. The aim now is to complete the circumnavigation and see all the people who have been encouraging us throughout this Jules Verne Trophy."