Sur­vival of the fittest

Yachting World - - Vendee Globe -

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

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