After four long months poised to spring into action at the first sign of the right weather window, Spindrift has announced that its record-breaking circumnavigation attempt won’t be possible this year. Headed by Dona Bertarelli, the Spindrift team has been on a mission to set a new fastest global circumnavigation record—known as the Jules Verne Trophy—for several years.
The current record, held by Francis Joyon aboard IDEC Sport, was set in 2017 at 40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes, and 30 seconds. In the past 30 years, The Jules Verne Trophy record—named for the author’s novel Around the World in 80 Days—has been halved from its original pace set at 79 days, 6 hours, 15 minutes, and 56 seconds.
Joyon’s 2017 record was made possible in part by fortunate conditions that allowed him to cross through the Indian Ocean in essentially one weather system. To make their own luck, so to speak, Bertarelli and her crew needed to monitor the weather closely and set off when conditions in the Southern Ocean looked precisely right to give them an advantage.
Unfortunately, for a second year in a row, the necessary conditions didn’t materialize. And as austral autumn dawns, the low-pressure systems become faster and more severe, nights are longer, and the seas higher, making it impossible to maintain high enough average speeds to break the record. On March 1, the team’s leaders announced that they would be calling off their attempt for the season.
“We have been preparing for this Jules Verne Trophy for 10 years now, and at the end of each attempt or standby period, you have to know how to turn the page. The emotion remains and it is always tough! What we have built with a whole team around us cannot be allowed to dissipate,” said Bertarelli.
“We’ll return the maxi-trimaran to our base in La Trinité-sur-Mer today. Although we extended our standby period, there were no weather windows,” added skipper Yann Guichard. “We have pushed the deadline as late as possible, but nothing is presenting over the next few days…It’s a difficult decision, but you have to stop sometime. Of course, it is disappointing, and we have to consider what comes next.”
The team has now set its sights on preparing for a new season of TF35 racing that kicks off in mid-May on Lake Geneva.
For more, click here.