Extreme Sailing: No Piece of Cake

Author:
Publish date:
Rudder problems doomed Spindrift 2’s latest round-the-world record attempt

Rudder problems doomed Spindrift 2’s latest round-the-world record attempt

It can be easy to take for granted the incredible performance of today’s most cutting-edge grand prix racing boats. The latest crop of full-foiling 75ft America’s Cup monohulls, for example, were all up on their foils and even successfully tacking within hours of their first sail trials. Similarly, the doublehanded crew of Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier made it look almost easy covering over 17,000 miles in just 28 days at an average speed 24.57 knots on their way to victory in the Brest Atlantiques race.

Lest anyone think, though, that this kind of sailing is child’s play, there’s also the case of the fully-crewed maxi-tri Spindrift 2.

Earlier this week, just hours into its latest Jules Verne fully-crewed, round-the-word record attempt, the ill-fated boat (which was dismasted and lost a rudder in two earlier attempts) was forced to abandon due to rudder issues.

Reportedly, the crew lost control of its steering as soon as “its boatspeed went beyond 35-40 knots.” This does not appear to have been a case of hitting an “unidentified floating object,” or UFO, as was the case when Sodebo dropped out of the Brest Atlantiques. Instead, the boat’s basic designed simply failed to be able to stand up to the rigors of extreme sailing.

In skipper Yann Guichard’s words: “We seem to have had rudder issues for a year now. We broke one in the Indian Ocean last February and, as a result, decided to build two new ones. We had delivery of them in late September and have carried out several sea trials with them. We thought we had sorted the issue when we left La Trinité-sur-Mer on Tuesday. However, these rudders are like a sword of Damocles.”

Guichard goes on to say: "We tried a number of times to solve the problem, but it keeps reappearing at high speeds, and we cannot control Spindrift 2, even with two crew on the helm. It is not prudent to continue like this, because there is a risk of a total loss of the trimaran at high speed…though we have managed to regain control of the boat now, we cannot race around the world with this technical problem. "

Something to bear in mind next to you’re watching a video of some raceboat zipping its way across the open ocean! The only reason it can do so is because of a combination of outstanding seamanship and equally outstanding design. And neither of these things comes easy!

For a taste of what it’s like sailing a boat like Spindrift 2, see the video below, which was created while the boat was on standby for its latest record attempt.

December 2019

Related

IMG_6855

Charter: Florida's Gulf Coast

Last summer, I was delighted to be invited to join two of my girlfriends on a sailing trip—my third, no less! This trip would surely herald my promotion from nautical novice to savvy seafaring expert. I was to join them on a charter in Southwest Florida and sail along the ...read more

SF3300-Jean-Marie_LIOT

Boat Review: Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300

Though best known for its cruising boats, Jeanneau has long kept a hand in competitive racing with its Sun Fast line. The newest of these French-built speedsters is the Sun Fast 3300, which takes the place of the long-lived 3200. Design & Construction A collaboration between ...read more

03-200123_PM_MIAMI_31326_3065

U.S. Team Strikes Miami Gold

If there was ever a time for the U.S. Sailing Team, which has been experiencing a serious medal drought of late, to start peaking it would be now, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics set to begin in July. Luckily, it appears the team, which has won only three Olympic medals since 2004, ...read more

shutterstock_1466239997

Charter: the Greek Isles

If there’s one charter destination that’s impossible to tire of, it’s Greece. This Mediterranean jewel is simply so large, so varied and so special it’s impossible to relegate it to just a single checkbox on a list. This past year a group of friends and I chartered from Navigare ...read more

IDECsport_180919_106-2048

IDEC Tri Breaks Tea Route Record

Francis Joyon and his crew aboard the maxi-tri IDEC Sport have set a new record for the “tea route” from Hong Kong to London of just 31 days, 23 hours, 36 minutes. In doing so they bested the previous record set by Italian skipper, Giovanni Soldini aboard the trimaran Maserati ...read more

DawnRileyforSAILmagazine

An Interview with Sailor Dawn Riley

The 2019 sailing documentary Maiden received rave reviews as a human-interest story that featured excellent racing footage and the heartfelt recollections of an all-female team led by then 25-year-old Briton Tracy Edwards. During the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World race, ...read more

IMG_9978

Charter: More for Your Money

Though summer may not be when you typically think of escaping to a tropical island, it could, in fact, be the perfect time for a charter holiday. Despite popular perception, the Caribbean isn’t hot as Hades during summer. In fact, the highs vary by only about 8 degrees F ...read more

Riley-and-Elayna,-Sailing-La-Vagabonde

Sailing in the YouTube Era

At the risk of both dating myself and being accused of gross hyperbole, I will say this: it was a bit like 1964 when the Beatles first landed in New York. What I’m referring to is last fall’s U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis. Playing the role of the Beatles were not one, but two ...read more