Pause for thought

Many expected the 2020-2021 Vendée Globe to be a full-on foil fest. Enough well-prepared foilers started the 28,000nm course to suggest one or two at least would disappear over the horizon. It didn’t turn out that way. While rough weather boat preservation is a widely cited reason, once out on the ocean the science of Imoca’s two-legged stool configuration performed even worse than anticipated. Dr Robert Lainé, former chief technical officer for the Ariane space launch programme, explains one idea to improve the current situation

There has been a lot of debate about foils on monohulls and their use in offshore sailing, but rarely have we seen a fair comparison of the real performance on a course that offers a wide range of sailing conditions. The Vendée Globe is one of these opportunities not to be missed as the boats have very similar hull, rig and keel dimensions and their crew are competitive.

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