Spindrift’s MOD70 capsized spectacularly Saturday during the Route des Princes offshore race, shattering the mast and sending skipper Yann Guichard’s brother Jacques to the hospital with a broken pelvis.
Ironically, Guichard recently made a name for himself as a helmsman by knowing when and how to push Team Energy’s AC45 without capsizing during the America’s Cup World Series. But everything went wrong very fast as Guichard was unable to keep Spindrift from crashing when a 25-knot wind gusted to over 30 knots and knocked the monster-sized multihull over.
In the video, Jacques falls several feet from the capsized boat, while onlookers can be heard screaming to him to get out of the way fast, just before the boat crashed down on him in the water after the mast broke. He was later airlifted to a Dublin hospital.
The boat is out of commission until further notice, thus dashing Spindrift’s hope of winning the offshore Routes des Princes challenge.
In a press release, Guichard said, “It is primarily a relief to know that all the crew is safe and sound even if my brother was injured. We are very disappointed to have to stop when doing so well. We were on form and on a path to a potential victory on this first edition of the Route des Princes. There was not that many points left to get …
“We will all be itching to go when we see the other teams leave this morning for the offshore leg, but that is life … It is a mechanical sport, and we know that this can happen. I really wish them good luck for the end of the race, and of course we will follow it closely on the web. I would also like to recognize the true sense of solidarity demonstrated by all on the water. All competing teams rallied yesterday to assist us, be it in those minutes after the capsize or during the operations to secure the boat. So I would really like to say a big thank you to my team firstly, all the other teams, and the organization.”
The crash is also a setback for the MOD70 circuit. Despite the one-design boat’s capacity to easily sail at cruising speeds of 30 knots with less risk of capsizing compared to its ORMA 60 predecessor, the MOD70 class continues to struggle from lack of sponsorships. The circuit also no longer has a title sponsor and was forced to shutter what was supposed to be the second European Tour this year. Without Spindrift, the remaining boats in the Route de Princes MOD70 fleet are now limited to Edmond de Rothschild, Virbac Paprec, and Oman.