Originally Posted by Corley
I tend to think a fair few people pop in to look at the updates even if they don't comment. I was doubtful about the smaller rig on the boat but who knows maybe it's spot on hard to argue with that many successive days with an average of 36 knots. As always they are going to have to keep their lead through the return trip in the South and North Atlantic where most records seem to slip away. All the signs are good for now they have managed to pull out a lead of over 1000nm and maintained a much more Southerly track than the BPV team with a far superior VMG.
A nice article by Brian Hancock over at Sailfeed: http://www.sailfeed.com/2017/01/idec...outhern-ocean/
I was one of the few who thought that the small rig was an excellent idea. You have to analyse the parts of the circumnavigation. With a big rig in all the south part the tri is overpowered.
A big rig has numerous parasitic effects, lots of windage, weight placed high thus less stability, time lost in reefing, and often you have to depower the main sail by twisting the upper part.
In a regatta you need all the poneys and you can take risks, in low wind zones you need some cloth on the mast. But the strategy of a circumnavigation over 45 days is pretty different; it's preferable to get better mean speeds by being "smooth" and easy.
The tri suffers less and make the diagrams of the vectors, the center of the sails is lower -it's an evidence- but also you can use sails very slightly fuller, a bit more powerful by square meter with maybe one degree better orientation.
The degree forward is nothing in a regatta, useless un a zone without wind, but in a zone with lots of wind, with strong seas, over thousands of miles, you have made the good choice. The amas have less pressure, the drag is less, the amount of power is practically the same but slightly better oriented...That the analysis I made when Joyon talked about the small rig.
Now you have to balance the gains in high winds and the losses in low wind zones. One strategy is to have bigger gennakers, and also if possible a "square" mainsail. The other is to navigate a bit closer to the wind, and optimize the ratio speed/distance, the good ole VMG.
I learned that when the boats of the formula 40 were sold very cheaply after the death of the formula 40 around 1991. The cats with the high masts were frankly dangerous specially for amateurs, but with "small" rigs they became sweet babies with a very interesting thing, the obtainable mean speeds on 50 miles were better; less mistakes, no scary situations, less spray.
With the right conditions 20 knots of mean speed on 100 miles was not an exploit, any guy able to sail cleanly a Tornado was able to do it without being at the verge of the catastrophe. For sure in a 5 knots wind you were crying for the big mast, but with a 25 knots wind you were making miles over miles safely with speed.