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Posts Tagged ‘spindrift 2’

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Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 5.09.42 PMAccording to the sentence handed down yesterday by a Lorient judge, Spindrift Racing co-founder and skipper Yann Guichard will avoid jail time for the accident between the monster Spindrift 2 trimaran and Lorient local Virginia Namouric.  Guichard’s sentence of 6 months is suspended, meaning he won’t have to serve it – though he will be require to pay 25,000 euros in fines and several hundred thousand in restitution and compensation to Namouric for the loss of her leg.

Guichard’s conviction was for a deliberate violation of his duty of safety and prudence, and endangering the lives of others; an American court would probably call it reckless endangerment and would apportion blame according to maritime notions of comparative negligence.  Lorient didn’t, despite the RIB driver’s total obliviousness to the 140-foot trimaran; perhaps because the victim’s husband was the driver.  We hope event organizers don’t see this is a vindication of the insane policies allowing (and relying) on unqualified and untrained volunteer support boat drivers at major events.  It doesn’t matter how many courts go against COLREGS and basic rules of the road; as long as unaware powerboaters are allowed to drive near fast sailboats, injuries – or worse – will continue to happen.  Photo from the Ouest France article.


July 13th, 2016 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.01.54 PMLive view dashboards have been getting a little dull over the past couple of years, so we’re pretty excited to see how the newest toy from Yann and Dona and the Spindrift 2 team works as they get ready for their assault on the outright RTW record.  Aimed at both sailors and the many thousands of school children they’ve recruited as fans and spectators, the new S2 Jules Verne tracker has all sorts of fun things to play with for every level of fan and sailor during a dark winter.  Bookmark it now so you don’t miss any of their assault on the baddest record of them all.

Tanguy and Sam have a decent live dash as well as they mix it up on the way to Brazil for the TJV; every year, we get closer and closer to sitting in their cockpits…and some still insist that ‘sailing ain’t a spectator sport.’

November 5th, 2015 by admin

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The first spectator video is up from the nasty amputating accident in Lorient, and while the foreshortening of a long lens makes it less than ideal for unraveling exactly what happened, it’s obvious that neither Spindrift 2 nor the AFP photographer were accurate in their accounts of what happened.  Reality is, as usual, somewhere in between.  What do you see?

Spindrift was somewhere they shouldn’t have been, and the RIB driver appears to have been engaged with other traffic when the world’s fastest ocean racing boat came screaming in at about 20 knots.  And the VOR’s exclusion zone is about to get a lot more exclusive…


June 22nd, 2015 by admin

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AFP photographer Jean-Sebastien Evard had another view of the Spindrift 2 versus Volvo Ocean Race RIB incident, and it differs from that of the Spindrift in several ways; first, that the RIB was stationary (though the prop wash in several pics calls that into question), and second, that the trimaran was under reduced sail (a photo and caption in his original story show a full main and solent).  Our thoughts go out to everyone effected by this horrific accident, and most especially to the woman fighting for her life in a hospital.  We have little doubt that phone videos and viewer accounts will help pin down the chain of events leading to this one and lay blame where it belongs, but for now, positive thoughts or prayer are in order.

Read the full account in French here.

This is the start of the ninth and final stage of the Volvo Ocean Race, a prestigious sailing race around the world for monohulls. The Spindrift 2 is not among the competitors. But the boat in Lorient as home port, and it is traditional tall ships attend the race starts when they take place at home.

I find myself on a press boats with three other photographers and two pilots. The weather is beautiful, the working conditions are ideal. Before launching out to sea towards Gothenburg, the end point of the race in Sweden, the Volvo Race yachts must carry a small race course near Lorient.

The media boat on which I find myself took position at the limit of the exclusion zone strictly limited by the organizers not to hinder competitors near the starting line. There are always many people on the water on racing days. Several organizer boats are there to prevent boaters and jet skis that swarm around the perimeter to venture into forbidden.

I see the Spindrift 2 going to the starting line. Almost stopped, the boat turns to port and picks up speed. He heads straight for the marshal boats. Immediately, the maneuver seems dangerous. This trimaran is a real Formula 1 of the sea, with great sailing, unheard-of acceleration and tremendous inertia. The helmsman does not have a good view.   The Spindrift 2 is like a big ship, difficult to maneuver down the track towards a stopped marshal boat.  The boat driver knows that if he advances, his boat will pass under the hull of the trimaran. It seems paralyzed, like us, on board the press boat.

The scene lasts only three or four seconds. The shock is inevitable. I see the RIB occupants jump overboard in panic.  Life jackets inflate automatically on contact with water. One of the rudders of the trimaran hits with full force the side of the RIB, making a frightening noise that sounds like “tac”.  A woman is launched violently into the water. I am the only photographer on board the press boat to have the reflex to whip my camera into place and take 15 continuous images.  Why? I do not know … I have not had time to understand what happened.

Immediately, our skipper rushes to the scene of this rare accident, thirty or forty meters from us. But we will not have to intervene: In seconds, two National Rescue Society boats are already there and take things in hand.

A huge bloodstain slowly spreads in the sea near the RIB. After twenty minutes, a helicopter arrives, hoisting the victim aboard.  She looks in very bad shape…

Full google trans here.


June 17th, 2015 by admin

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UPDATE DIRECTLY FROM SPINDRIFT 2: While sailing under reduced sail, the Spindrift 2 trimaran collided with the RIB that crossed her path.  A person who was on board the motor boat was seriously injured before being taken over by the rescue and transported to the hospital Scorff Lorient. “We are primarily concerned about the health of the victim. All our thoughts are with her and her family,” said Spindrift 2 skipper Yann Guichard. “The team is deeply affected by this incident and of course, we are cooperating fully with the ongoing investigations.”

Two photographers were thrown from a Volvo Ocean Race marshal boat and one woman reportedly sliced open by the rudder of the RTW Jules Verne record-owning Spindrift 2 during the Lorient start of the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.  There is precious little actual news about the incident, though one eyewitness told us it was ‘grisly’, and the three shot sequence of the knife-like rudder of the monster trimaran as it passed through the RIB (shot 1, shot 2, shot 3 via Getty/AFP) doesn’t need too much imagination to see just how bad the wounds probably are.

The woman, in her 40s, was airlifted to hospital, and the other three crew were brought in separately.  The VOR has something of a non-statement here, and we’ve been pestering the Spindrift 2 team for something from them as well.

Having seen the lack of awareness from the ‘stake’ or marshal boats at almost every stopover, we’re shocked this hasn’t happened sooner, and the ease with which the inexperienced underestimate the closing speeds of the latest flying and foiling boats makes it inevitable.

This whole thing brings up a much deeper problem that every organizer must now step up and accept; faster sailboats mean support boat drivers MUST BE BETTER TRAINED, and drone operators must be checked out and permitted by each event.  There is no way around it, and the longer we wait, the more people will lose their fingers, their toes, their limbs…or worse.

Photo from AFP via this story in Le Telegramme.

June 17th, 2015 by admin


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