Skip to main content

2 Global Match Races

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:
The four speedsters looking to set records included (clockwise from left) GryphonSolo 2, IDEC Sport, Spindrift 2 and Croix du Sud. Photos courtesy of (clockwise from left) Billy Black, JM LIOT/DPPI/IDEC; Yann Riou/Spindrift Racing; by yacht/n Gunter

The four speedsters looking to set records included (clockwise from left) GryphonSolo2, IDEC Sport, Spindrift 2 and Croix du Sud. Photos courtesy of (clockwise from left) Billy Black, JM LIOT/DPPI/IDEC; Yann Riou/Spindrift Racing; by yacht/n Gunter

When the weather starts growing chilly in the Northern Hemisphere that can mean only one thing: time for the offshore racing community to start eyeing round-the-world record attempts.

At press time this meant no less than four different campaigns at sea constituting two distinct match-races reminiscent of the clipper ship races of old, in which two or more captains would set out with the same goal in mind at roughly the same time.

The first of these, between the maxi-trimarans Spindrift 2 and IDEC Sport, came as no surprise to anyone. The Sprindrift 2 effort, led by Swiss sailor Dona Bertarelli, has been working its way toward a well-publicized 2015-16 Jules Verne Trophy for years: same thing with IDEC Sport, led by French solo-sailing legend Francis Joyon.

The second round-the-world match race, though, between American Class 40 solo sailor Joe Harris and German sailor Henrik Masekowitz, came as a bit of a surprise. In fact, Harris, whose attempt to set a new solo round-the-word 40ft-and-under record has been well documented by SAIL, only discovered he had company out on the briny after he was already at sea.

“Yesterday I became aware of a new competitor out here on the great Atlantic racecourse,” Harris reported from his boat GryphonSolo2 a full two weeks after he departed Newport, Rhode Island, on November 15. “Upon reflection, I do think it’s pretty cool…as long as I win…I know for a fact that this will sharpen my competitive instincts and cause me to push even harder, while remembering that you can’t win unless you finish safely.”

Harris bids farewell shortly after setting out from Newport last November on his round-the-world bid. Photo courtesy of Billy Black

Harris bids farewell shortly after setting out from Newport last November on his round-the-world bid. Photo courtesy of Billy Black

As for Masekowitz, who set sail on November 17 from Douarnenez, France, aboard the Class 40 Croix du Sud, some problems with his generator and a frustrating time in the Doldrums served as a bit of a setback early on, but at press time he remained undaunted—no surprise, given his background as a Mini-Transat veteran.

Both boats were designed by French naval architect Marc Lombard and built in Tunisia by MC-Tech, with Croix du Sud launching in 2007 and GryphonSolo2 launching in 2011, so you couldn’t ask for a more closely matched pair. The time to beat is 137 days, set back in 2013 by Chinese sailor Guo Chaun, also aboard a Class 40, so with luck we’ll be seeing both sailors returning home sometime next month. Who gets there first, though, is anyone’s guess!

As for Joyon and Bertarelli, the time to beat was 45 days 13 hours, a mark that was set in 2012 by Loïck Peyron and his crew aboard the 130ft maxi-tri Banque Populaire V, which means they will have either made it back home or packed it in about three weeks before this issue hits newsstands.

Despite the fact that both boats were regularly hitting 30 knots in the first half of their two attempts, success for either was far from certain given how high the bar has been set. One the one hand, vital to success in this kind of sailing is minimizing breakdowns; on the other you need to find a way to navigate from weather system to weather system, linking them up so that you spend as much time in strong winds as possible. Of course, both these things require great skill and more than a bit of good luck. To find out how Bertarelli and Joyon did, and how Harris and Masekowitz are faring, go to sailmagazine.com/racing.

Related

AdobeStock_15671180

Orca Encounters in Spain

The waters off the Atlantic coast of the southern Iberian Peninsula can be tough enough as it is, but in recent months resident pods of orcas have created a whole new kind of challenge, ramming boats and chewing off rudders. Though initially confined to smaller vessels, larger ...read more

Screen-Shot-2022-01-13-at-9.26.59-AM2048x

Video: Celestial Navigation Pt3

. In episode three of the Practical Celestial Navigation course, Andy Howe examines the theory behind celestial navigation, the celestial triangle and the celestial sphere, and why it is important to have a basic understanding of each. Topics introduced include zenith position, ...read more

01-LEAD-6.-After-2-years-ashore,-Nada-headsto-the-water-(3)

Sailing in the Time of Covid

In mid-August 2019, my wife, Terrie, and I laid up our Malö 46, Nada, in Falmouth, England, and flew home to Maine. We booked flights back to the UK for May 2020, anticipating a summer of cruising the Atlantic coasts of France and Spain. Then Covid struck. Remember that first ...read more

Ulysse Nardin promo photo

The Ocean Race Names Official Timekeeper

With just under one year before the start of The 2022-23 Ocean Race, Swiss watch manufacturer Ulysse Nardin has been named the official timekeeper of the race. The Ocean Race, formerly known as the Volvo Ocean Race and before that the Whitbread Round the World Race, announced ...read more

Arthur Daniel_RORC Maserati - RORC Transatlantic 2022 - Jan 15th -Social Media-4

Fast Finishes for the RORC Leaders

Over the weekend, the first finishers of the 2022 RORC Transat made landfall in Grenada, led by Giovanni Soldini’s Multi70 Maserati, which was awarded line honors with a corrected time of six days, 18 hours and 51 minutes. Maserati finished ahead of Peter Cunningham’s MOD70 ...read more

Background-02

Notice to Mariners: A Blog from the SAIL Editors

As a teenager, I stumbled across a copy of Derek Lundy’s Godforsaken Sea in the back room of a used bookshop. I had never heard of the Vendée Globe and frankly found all the boat-speak in the first 50 pages a little difficult to get through. But Lundy’s storytelling and the draw ...read more

Screen-Shot-2022-01-13-at-9.26.59-AM2048x

VIDEO: Celestial Navigation Episode 2

Celestial navigation is an invaluable tool for all kinds of sailors. In episode two of the celestial navigation series, learn the basic elements of navigation and the sight reduction process using declination and GHA to determine the Geographic Position and navigate using a ...read more

Film-poster-EP-2048

Cruising: Year of the Sea Shanty

Along with other timeless pursuits, like baking sourdough and gardening, singing sea shanties surged back into popularity during the recent lockdown, thanks, in part, to the app TikTok and its “duet” feature, which allows singers from around the world create music together. By ...read more