Survival of the fittest
As in any race, the trick will be to strike the balance between hard racing and preservation. “We will have to do some conservative sailing. We won’t be using foils all the time. When I have two reefs and a J3 doing 30 knots, I’m pulling that foil in. I wouldn’t want to be averaging 30 knots in the ocean,” Thomson says.
“The wind speed you want these boats to be fast in has been reduced now anyway and it’s reduced even further for me – 25 knots [of wind] would be lovely, but 30 knots is time to survive. From a foiling point of view that’s surviving, absolutely.
“But it will be interesting to see what the pace of the Vendée is actually like. Everybody says the pace will be different to the transatlantic races but I think once the ten minute gun goes it’s not going to be like that.”
So there are unquantifiable risks for foil-borne boats and their skippers, but on the flip side we are in for one