It was a highly motivated and surprisingly rested Yann Guichard who joined the crew of the MOD70, Spindrift racing, in Valencia this morning for the start of the first stage of the offshore racing in the Route des Princes. After an intense weekend of racing in Switzerland aboard the D35 Ladycat Powered by Spindrift, Guichard exchanged his ride and has taken the helm of the large black and white trimaran given to Xavier Revil to take care of the inshore races in Valencia. Fully satisfied with the form of his crew during his absence, Guichard knows the importance of the coming stage between Spain and Lisbon. Second in the overall standings, Spindrift racing needs to make an impression and from these first 805 miles of racing around the Iberian Peninsula, garner maximum points, confidence and be on top of their game.
All the dangers of the Alboran Sea
Straight off the plane from Geneva early this morning, Guichard threw his kitbag aboard the MOD70, Spindrift racing, which was already in the starting blocks in Valencia, waiting for 1400hrs on Sunday and the canon to start the first leg of the Route des Princes towards Lisbon.
The positives and negatives from the races contested in his absence have been comprehensively analysed, together with the crew who will contest the offshore leg;
Xavier Revil, of course, Pascal Bidégorry, Erwan Tabarly, Jacques Guichard, and Christophe Espagnon. The performance at the weekend put the team in an excellent position behind the leader Edmond de Rothschild skippered by Sébastien Josse. “The team has managed the first few races well,” Guichard said, quick to praise his “substitute” Revil. “Taking the helm of a MOD70 like that for close contact racing around cans is a real challenge that Xavier has successfully met.”
The 805-mile theoretical and difficult road across where the Mediterranean and Atlantic meet represents an opportunity not to be missed for Guichard and his men. “As usual in this season, the Mediterranean has many pitfalls, with small anticyclonic holes where we could be glued a long time,” Guichard said. “The Alboran Sea could have faint winds for our arrival, and we’ll have to fight to keep the pressure as long as possible to Gibraltar and beware the traps along the way.
Three days of food …
After winning last year on a similar leg around Europe; Spindrift racing intends to capitalise fully on its experience of the Iberian coastline to impose themselves at Lisbon and show their ambition for the rest of the competition. It will require deft navigation, close to the often enchanting coastline, which Guichard never tires of admiring. “Despite its inconsistencies, we can not help loving the Mediterranean,” he admits. “The sea and landscapes are beautiful. We will also navigate through the waters of the Tagus to reach Lisbon, it’s a great moment and view.”
Spindrift racing have three days of provisions on board. “Fresh, freeze-dried and good things will keep us going for the long sail upwind, and the weight is not a factor,” Guichard said. It should be a Wednesday arrival, when we will know the order of eight multihulls who embarked on this journey.