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…