sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Vendee Globe - The fixable, the un-fixable and the avoidable
Vendee Globe - The fixable, the un-fixable and the avoidable

'Safran skippered by Marc Guillemot'    Francois Van Malleghem

Despite having teams of people overseeing every aspect of the preparation, a Vendee Globe Ocean Race is still an undertaking of colossal proportions.

I am not a metallurgist or engineer, but it is a statement of fact that the Titanium used in Safran's Keel is a more brittle material that steel. I am sure that this is the first problem his engineers put their minds to. The problem with parts like the keel, with lots of hidden wields, is that it is difficult to detect fatigue whether in a wield or the unwielded portions of the material itself. Ultrasound and x rays can be used but these techniques are not infallible and the interpretation of the readings and the application of the testing equipment on unusual shapes is somewhat of an art. I have watched it get done and asked the hard questions. Trust me there is some guess work involved. The other question is was it even done or did they simply rely on the fact that the keel had already done 25,000nm? That many miles is a good fact no doubt, but in fact it really just meant that was just enough miles for the fatigue cycle to be completed. Knowing that the testing of just one part like a keel can cost as much as $25,000 US, I have to wonder if it was even done. It's never easy to sell prevention. If this was the case, I can understand how these decisions get made but it sure seems like a significant mistake in retrospect.

The same goes for Jeremie Beyou's keel ram failure. Titanium keel rams were a big problem in the more powered up Volvo 70's - to the point where several teams in the 2005 race replaced them with steel part way through and willingly accepted the extra weight to ensure reliability. Now apparently the one on Beyou's boat had done many miles and even won the Vendee last time around.

Maitre COQ / SKIPPER JEREMY BEYOU (FRA) -  Jean-Marie Liot - DPPI_- Vendée Globe ©   Click Here to view large photo

Again, was this part tested with ultrasound? Some of these metal parts seem so overbuilt that when you look at them it just seems like it will be the last thing on the boat that fails, but when you think about it, all the forces of the entire boat crashing down from a giant wave with 60 knots of wind in the sails get concentrated right at the head of the keel ram. It’s like the 'Jesus bolts' on an airplane wing. The size of these parts is probably not so 'over size' as they seem. You can see the circle in the middle. It’s a different colour because it is covered in grease as that was the inside of the hydraulic tube. The side walls sure look thin to me. The video is taken inside the cabin in the middle of the boat where the top of the keel stick up through the hull and where the hydraulic ram attaches. This is what allows the sailors to swing the keel to windward. It’s a small lever to move a 15 foot blade with 10,000 lbs on the tip.



Really not sure what happened to Sam apart from the knock down story. Hard to believe it was quite that simple. These boats get knocked down and pop back up with everything intact all the time. Of course it could have been a strange set of waves that just put too much load on the wrong thing at the moment. My heart goes out to her. Knowing that she was also on a budget, I have to wonder how new her rigging was.

Saveol’s skipper Samantha Davies - out of the Vendee Globe with a broken mast -  Vendee Globe ©  
It can cost 120,000 US to put new PBO rigging on these boats and it is not uncommon for the rigging to do two times around the world but this is not advisable according to the manufacturers guidelines. It's not like going to sea with freeze dried that is past the 'best before' date - it’s a really big risk. Not saying that was the cause, but it would not be surprising. Sam is on her way back to France with an old Swedish Laser sail as part of her jury rig. Have a look at the photo.

Sam is a real survivor. I hope she has a few of those Laser sails and lots of diesel because I don't think that sail will last long. I know we were all looking forward to watching Sam Davies over the next few months as she was the hands down star of the last race with all her terrific video reports and unbelievable positive outlook. If you feel the need to watch Sam in all her glory from the last race in 2008 check out here to watch the full length documentary about 2008/2009 Vendee Globe.

And then there is the lucky Alex Thomson. He sure deserves some good luck after having to retire from the last two editions of the Vendee Globe. Thomson snapped a tie-bar that controls the steering. It is a long carbon tube runs horizontally along the transom that joins the tiller, which is in the center of the boat, to the rudders which are mounted off to the side. There are two tie-bars. One for each rudder. According to his own report the bar was broken by wire that attaches the hydro generator to the battery.

Alex Thomson, Hugo Boss - 2012 Vendee Globe -  Gustav Morin  

The hydro generator is a small propeller/generator unit that gets dragged behind the boat to generate power for battery charging. It looks like a small rudder withe propeller on it. It is not new technology but I believe this is the first time it is being used in the Vendee. These devices are not unlike those units we used to have on our bicycles before the advent of the tiny lithium battery. It was a small steel device with a wheel that rubbed on the tire and as you rode your bicycle it would generate enough electricity to lift up your bicycle's head light. One a racing boat these devices have not been popular because of the drag they produce and thus the reduction in speed. The technology has improved to the point that the weight saving of carrying less diesel to run the generator more than compensates for the added drag. The only thing that is not accounted for is operator error.

These hydro generators are not deployed all the time. When they are it consists of lowering the propeller/ generator unit into the water from the back of the boat. Now I was not there, but it sounds like Thomson made a rookie mistake of deploying the unit out the back without making sure the line was not going to catch on anything. It’s like anchoring 101. Don't put the anchor over until you know it’s not wrapped around your leg or some other piece of deck hardware that will get ripped off. Again, I'm not saying that this could not happen to me, just that it sounds like a careless mistake. But maybe he was just unlucky.

Alex Thomson in emergency repairs to broken rudder tie bar - 2012 Vendee Globe -  Alex Thomson Racing - copyright  

The really fortunate thing is that he was able repair it. I was very impressed with the seamanship skills it must have taken to switch out the broken bar for the one connected to the other rudder. What a terrific design that allows for such quick fixes and kudos to Thomson for thinking of it in the heat of the moment.



The amazing thing is that he admits to never having done anything like this before. All he is doing is splinting the broken tube with carbon and epoxy. Frankly it is pathetic that a yachtsman of his calibre has never done this sort of thing before. To me it sounds like Usain Bolt needing help tying his shoe laces. The reality is that this is how the sport is going. It's a symptom of a world where everyone is a specialist and we use computers to do simple addition and check our spelling. I have to hand it to the guy. It looks like he did a great job, but going to sea for three months in a carbon fibre shell without knowing a few basics of working with that material seems unthinkable to me. I remember Roland Jourdain rebuilding the main bulkhead of his boat with carbon battens in the last race without making much fuss and thinking- now there is an old school sailor if there ever was one. Unfortunately his bulkhead repair held but his keel still fell off less than 1000 miles from the finish.

Hang onto your keels - Lots more excitement to come in the next few weeks when the fleet enters the Southern Ocean.

http://www.windathletes.ca/


by John Curtis

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=103958

4:53 PM Tue 20 Nov 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2012 Vendee Globe

Related News Stories:

21 Nov 2012  Vendee Globe - Hugo Boss moves into third place
20 Nov 2012  Vendee Globe - Leaders take on the Doldrums + Video
20 Nov 2012  Vendee Globe - Maître CoQ skipper retires from the race + Video
20 Nov 2012  Vendee Globe - Rudder scare on board Hugo Boss + Video
20 Nov 2012  Vendee Globe - Golding contemplates Doldrums passage
19 Nov 2012  Vendee Globe - Advancements made as skippers' fight continues
19 Nov 2012  Vendee Globe - Enjoyable miles on board Gamesa
18 Nov 2012  Vendee Globe - Battle continues as skippers push on
17 Nov 2012  Vendee Globe: Black Friday - And then they were 16
17 Nov 2012  Vendee Globe - Mike Golding nearing completion of first full week
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World

Volvo Ocean Race: Big spread in fleet as Abu Dhabi leads *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
Abu Dhabi (Ian Walker) continues to lead the Volvo Ocean Race. She is the most westerly of the fleet as they approach the coast of Madagascar. In a video, Abu Dhabi skipper Ian Walker explains the weather hazards of the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. ... [more]  

ISAF Sailing World Cup Final 2014: With a packed crowd of local dignitaries, VIPS and competitors, the ISAF President welcomed the world’s finest Olympic sailors and kiteboarders who will be battling it out on Abu Dhabi's waters. 'It’s a great honour for me to be here today because we have a very important regatta which will be the future of our sport,' explained Croce. ... [more]  

Sir Keith Mills GBE announced that America’s Cup Racing is to return to British waters when the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) takes place in Portsmouth 23-26 July 2015 and 21–24 July 2016. The second European location is expected to be Cagliari in Italy, where Luna Rossa Challenge have their base. ... [more]  

Chairman and founder of the Clipper Race, Sir Robin Knox Johnston said: 'The Clipper Race is very pleased to welcome Hyde Sails back on board as Official Sails Supplier for our fourth consecutive race partnership. Hyde Sails evolved with us when we introduced the new Clipper 70 fleet in the last race and we were very pleased with how well the new sail wardrobes stood up to almost a year' ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race: Welcome to Brian's Gime *Feature by Brian Carlin, Team Vestas Wind, At sea
The irrepressible Brian Carlin, the On Board Reporter for Team Vestas Wind is on fitness program on board, under the watchful eye of race veteran Tony Rae. Today as my personal trainer, friend and fellow shipmate we accomplished a goal, 70 press-ups. I’m sure to some it maybe easy but I ask anyone of you right now sitting at your desk, hit the floor and give me 70 on the spot. ... [more]  

Two of the crew from Overall race leader, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing look at leg 2 and the race overall. Here are the latest blogs (unedited) from On Board Reporter Matt Knighton, along with an onboard video with Simon Fisher (navigator) musing on what is required to win the race, and skipper Ian Walker on how Leg 2 has panned out for them so far. ... [more]  

Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2014 - A new deal for corinthians by Bruce Montgomery – Rolex Sydney Hobart media
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2014: Since 1945 starters in the Sydney-Hobart have raced the equivalent of two circumnavigations of the world, almost 45,000 nautical miles. They have been drawn from the seven seas; they come from all corners of the world; they board boats that range from 100-feet supermaxis to boats littler larger than the Owl and the Pussycat’s. ... [more]  

2016 Hansa Class Combined World and International Championships - The International Hansa Class Association has announced that the 2016 Hansa Class Combined World and International Championships will be held in the Netherlands. ... [more]  

Most of the nearly 300 sailors on 216 boats in 21 classes in Alamitos Bay Yacht Club's 67th Turkey Day Regatta came to enjoy sunny sailing in mild conditions, which the weekend delivered beautifully. By tradition, the winners received turkeys, not trophies, but for a few others it was another important stopover en route to Rio de Janeiro and the 2016 Olympics. They hope. ... [more]  

Everyone was expecting a battle between Besson and Cammas. In the end, Morgan Lagravière took the Champion’s title of the seventh edition of the St-Barth Cata Cup with a near-perfect journey. The Marché U day ended with a friendly race to Public. ... [more]  

Robert Scheidt talks to us just a few days before the Nassau start of the Star Sailors League Final. How do you feel inside? I feel very calm. Myself and Bruno have tons of experience with the Star. We’ve been competing together for 10 years now. ... [more]  

The US Optimist Dinghy Association (USODA) has selected Pensacola Yacht Club (PYC) to host their 2015 National Championships. This championship will be a week-long sailing spectacular on Pensacola Bay sailed by International Optimist Dinghy sailors from eight to 15 years old. ... [more]  

More than forty five years since his historical circumnavigation, legendary Clipper Race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, 75, continues to prove inspirational to adventurers around the globe. Sir Robin, the oldest entrant in the 3,542 mile Route du Rhum, finished third in his Rhum class into La Pointe À Pitre, Guadeloupe. ... [more]  

With Olympic heroes and World Champions in their numbers at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, UAE, local children are being inspired to take up the sport. By utilising the star names on show at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final, the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club, hosts of the regatta, are using the event to promote the sport in the Emirati capital. ... [more]  

The last day of the Airwaves Noumea PWA Dream Cup saw a grandstand finale to the 2014 PWA World Tour as the morning showers finally cleared to allow the wind to fill in and the respective titles to be decided. With the racing beginning later than scheduled the title race came down to one final race, which would ultimately decide the title. ... [more]  

Sometime during last night’s moonless gloom in the Volvo Ocean Race, the masthead lights of Dongfeng and Mapfre appeared to the west, maybe right where they would have been if we had jibed with the fleet the previous day. To say that was a relief is an understatement-that we are back in touch, back in the fray near the front, it keeps everyone motivated and pushing a little bit harder. ... [more]  

Olympic medal-winning skipper Ian Walker, from Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (ADOR) – the emirate’s Volvo Ocean Race contesting squad – recently took time out of his hectic schedule while he was in Cape Town, as the team prepared for Leg 2 of the race to catch-up with students at The British School Al Khubairat via a video call. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 – Corinna Halloran reports on day five of leg 2 for Team SCA. Team SCA has a super fan. She’s seven and, at home, she has posters of Team SCA on her wall. As a member of the team, and as a woman in 2014, this is extremely cool. ... [more]  

The Sailing Instructions for the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final that will be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from 26-30 November have been published. All ten Olympic events and an Open Kiteboarding event will be contested in the Emirati capital off of the stunning Corniche. ... [more]  

Italy's Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich have been one of the leading teams in the Women's Skiff, the 49erFX, and head to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates ready for the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final. ... [more]  

St Barth Cata Cup day 3 by Dominique Ladouceur
Day three’s race was a lot more difficult than yesterday’s at the St-Barth Cata Cup due to b winds. After pushing back the morning race to 2p.m. due to 30 knots winds at the tip of Colombier, the race committee decided to stick to only one race in the afternoon. ... [more]  

Team Alivimedica skipper Charlie Enright and navigator Will Oxley sat with Andy Rice to assess Leg 2 before the start in Cape Town. Here is the second part of the Leg Two analysis. ... [more]  

Position report for the Volvo Ocean Race boats as of 24th November 0700 UTC. It's been a fairly quiet night out there - and the biggest change is that the boats are beginning to close up, and become more compact. ADOR, who gybed north first, around six hours before the rest of the fleet on Saturday night, have moved south a little, whereas the rest of the boats have remained in the same line. ... [more]  

The 10 competing teams at the RC44 Oman Cup enjoyed a great sailing day on the Gulf of Oman for the penultimate day of the 2014 Championship Tour. Terry Hutchinson continued to guide Vladimir Prosihkin’s Team Nika the right way around the course, extending their lead in the overall standings, adding another race win to their scoreline, Team Aqua stay second with Charisma hanging onto third. ... [more]  

Position report for the Volvo Ocean Race fleet as of 23 November, 1900 UTC. Four days into the Leg 2, and the fleet is finally making progress towards Abu Dhabi. The seven boats are now south of Madagascar, and they’ve been heading north since last night. ... [more]  

Position report for the Volvo Ocean Race boats as of 0748 UTC, November 23rd. So what happened overnight? Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were the first to head north and then progressively the other boats in the fleet decided to follow their lead. The fleet is really close together. ... [more]  

Gladwell's Line: The America's Cup is now Bermuda's Cup? *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
The America's Cup roared into life on Friday with the publication of a story out of San Diego, saying that the Californian venue had missed getting the nod as the venue for the next America's Cup. And that being the case, then the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda seems to have got the nod. ... [more]  

VX ONE Winter Series 2014: It was a family affair at the top of the leaderboard for the opening weekend of the VX One Winter Series. Michael, Christina, Robert and Phillip Norris bested 21 other teams at Sarasota Sailing Squadron to take the advantage in the three-weekend series, which continues through March 2015. ... [more]  

With no team able to discard the last event of the season, the podium positions were by no means secure as last day of racing got underway at the RC44 Oman Cup, in a sedate seven-knot breeze. Going into the final day Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika, with tactician Terry Hutchinson calling the shots, sat at the top of the leader board having shown an unmatched level of consistency in Muscat. ... [more]  

Usual skipper Seve Jarvin and for’ard hand Sam Newton were joined in the team by James Wierzbowski for today’s race and led from shortly after the to defeat defending champion Thurlow Fisher Lawyers (Michael Coxon, Dave O’Connor, Dave Ewings) by 38s. Coopers 62-Rag and Famish Hotel (Jack Macartney, Mark Kennedy, Peter Harris) was a further 21s back in third place. ... [more]  

Overall race leader, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker) has had an eventful few days since the start in Cape Town on Wednesday. Their goal is to be first home in their home port of Abu Dhabi - six other boats willing. ... [more]  

2014 Argo Group Gold Cup - Take time to remember. It was mid-October, one week before the brilliant Sunday Finals of the Argo Group Gold Cup and Bermuda was slammed by the second major storm in a week. Tropical Storm Fay - or was it Hurricane Fay by then— had hit Bermuda with a sneaky left jab only five days earlier. ... [more]  

2014 Turkey Day Regatta - The largest of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club's popular holiday sailing competitions the 67th Turkey Day Regatta has nearly 300 sailors on 216 boats in 21 classes, several of them world champions taking the weekend seriously. ... [more]  

Airwaves Noumea PWA Dream Cup - Delphine Cousin officially world champ
Volvo Ocean Race: A man's got to do what a man's got to do
RC44 Championship Tour - A great sailing day on the Gulf of Oman
Sail-World Team holds first Continental Conference at METS
ISAF Sailing World Cup Final - Open Formula Kiteboarding event preview
Volvo Ocean Race: Fleet heads into the Southern Ocean + Videos *Feature
ISAF Sailing World Cup Final - Set to be an 'experience of a lifetime'
America's Cup: Source named in Bermuda venue leak *Feature
2014 RC44 Oman Cup - Challenging day + Videos
Volvo Ocean Race: A bumpy, hard driving ride in the Southern Ocean
EPA punts on renewable fuel standard
Yates Cup: US supermaxi Rio100 wins first offshore race + Video *Feature
Airwaves Noumea PWA Dream Cup - Men’s title race takes a twist
RC44 Oman Cup - Consistency hard to come by
Volvo Ocean Race - Discomfort takes over for Team Alvimedica
Volvo Ocean Race - Rapid change for Team SCA
Viper 640 event at Lake Garda - 22-26th June 2015
British Cycling grows by over 500%, can sailing do the same?
GC32 Racing Tour 2015 - Dates and venues
Class 40-footers to be featured in 2015 Annapolis-to-Newport Race
Spectacular performance by Bakewell-White maxi early in first race *Feature   
Airwaves Noumea PWA Dream Cup - Big strides for Cousin and Moussilmani   
America's Cup: Team New Zealand responds to Venue rumours *Feature   
ORC reveals rule improvements for 2015   
Volvo Ocean Race - Hammer down for Team Alvimedica   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA heads for unknown territory   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Final set to be 'an experience of a lifetime'   
RC44 Oman Cup - Team Nika gets a taste for the podium + Video   
St Barth Cata Cup 2014 - Game on!   
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2014 - Wild Oats XI reveals new livery   
Rolex Sydney Hobart 2014 - Wild Oats XI and Audi ready: photos   
Volvo Ocean Race: Meek's tips pay dividend in Leg 2 squalls and calms *Feature   
Volvo Ocean Race - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in search of hometown glory   
Airwaves Noumea PWA Dream Cup - Waiting game continues on day 2   
Barcelona World Race skippers named as scientific agents   
Volvo Ocean Race: Stop-start battle to the Cape of Good Hope   
Volvo Ocean Race: Leg 2 starts at high speed in 35kt winds   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team SCA off to gutsy leg 2 start   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Final - Heroes and champions in Nacra 17 fleet   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Final - Talented Finn pack all set   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT