A revolution has gradually been gathering pace in sailing. We have seen it with the migration of the America’s Cup to foiling catamarans, then with the ‘moustache’ appendages on the newest generation of Vendée Globe monohulls and now on the new Infiniti 46, which uses the retractable DSS foil system.
While a question mark hangs over the durability of foils during this Vendée Globe, make no mistake: the genie is out of the bottle. In one shape or another, foils for monohulls and multihulls alike are here to stay, and one day soon will touch amateur sailing too.
A different kind of transformation is happening in the Volvo Ocean Race. The new CEO, Mark Turner, has made potentially farreaching decisions, among them a rule change to nudge teams to include women sailors (see page 8). For too long, professional sailing has been well adrift of changes in society and the workplace. Turner sees that such a situation can sit ill with the public and sponsors.
This should influence other races to modernise – or gradually render them archaic if they don’t. This is a prime area where pro racing should learn from what has been happening naturally in amateur sailing, including the successful Clipper Race. A more equal balance is exactly what is needed to help reinvigorate the popularity of the sport. Twitter @elainebunting Ever sailed round the wrong mark? Many have made this mistake, but it’s rare when the mark is actually an island. Yet crew of MOD70 Phaedo3 did exactly this while leading the Rolex Middle Sea Race, mistaking Linosa for Lampedusa. “An own goal”, they said of this uncomfortably high-profile blunder The new AC50 America’s Cup class boats launch after Christmas. Although designed to a box rule, there are expected to be significant differences in wing controls and foils, notably variable bend foils. The turkey will barely be cold before the real race begins to be the team that best masters all these controls