Is anyone watching the Vendee Globe

After sailing 26,000 miles and in sight of the finish line…
with 2000 miles to the finish there is less than 200 miles between the top seven

In terms of sports, were this a 100m sprint, it would need super high speed cameras to differentiate between first and second who are only 26 miles apart at the moment (Friday morning UK time)

(It is professional seamanship as all the competitors are professional sailors.)…

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I’m only tracking the Finnish guy. While he never had a serious chance against other participants with an order of magnitude higher budget, he’s living his lifelong dream and enjoying every moment of the race. It’s actually quite motivating to watch.

After Alex Thompson broke his boat by pushing too hard, we in the UK have not had a serious contender… Then Samantha Davies had to retire with damage so the UK flag is down to Pip Hare somewhere in the middle of the fleet… In reality there is no chance of any UK glory.

But regardless of that I am still watching the race and rankings every day. To see sportsmen (and women) racing to this level of competition day in day out 24 hours out of 24 is incredible…

I worked w/ Kevin S. to rewrite his Windy plugin: Windy: Wind map & weather forecast - most find it a useful addition to the official tracker site.

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Well done you…
It does make the tracking graphic a lot more informative…
One can see why Louis is taking the course he is at present to stay in higher winds and go faster over a longer distance. It is going to be a photo finish… Except one should never predict anything when the Vendee is concerned.

I am not convinced whether these sophisticated sail boats will persist in single-handed oceanic races; it seems to be rather ‘sing on the line, or sink before’, a highly fortuitous thing.
A little bit more electronic sophistication and one can send the boats ‘zero-handed’ around the world; floating containers or other debris just below the surface will decide on the outcome.

A regatta with boats ‘flying’ above the water surface is curious and interesting (e.g. America’s Cup). There, the crew is always hand-steering and ready at the winches. If it does not work as expected, help is always nearby.

This cannot work in a single-handed oceanic race. The person only exceptionally takes the helm; one racer said in the South Atlantic, northbound, that today it was the first time he personally steered the boat since the start (beside short times during sail changes or jibes in strong winds).

Random incidents decimated the field; contacts with floating objects or technical failures.
Even among the leading boats, ‘Apivia’ and ‘Linked Out’ can only use their starboard hydrofoil.

Alan Roura (‘La Fabrique’) lost the hydraulics of his canting keel; he could block it in the neutral position and finally lost only in performance. The same for Isabelle Joschke (‘MACSF’), but she could not block the keel; it is wandering from port to starboard… She abandoned and is now at Salvador (Brazil).

An interesting thing is the loss of the boat ‘PRB’ (Escoffier) in the southern Indian Ocean. The bow part was bent 90° upwards, just in front of the hydrofoils. They are speaking now of ‘reverse load’, something that nobody imagined before.

From the French ‘Voile Magazine’:

Riding down a huge and steep wave, the bow is lifted while entering the next wave. The foils inverse their force, because their angle of attack inversed, instead of lifting the boat, they press its center down into the wave trough… and Boum.
This may not be the final word…

That boat was the lightest in the fleet and was originally built without foils.