Vendee Globe 2012

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Doug Lord, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. SteveMellet
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    SteveMellet Senior Member

    I don't think the designers are much to blame here, they get given the class rules and must design a boat capable of winning within the class rules. Design it too strong and it will finish the race in last place, unless it's the only finisher (which is becoming a possibility).
    Perhaps all the designer was implying is that canting keel yachts have a proven track record of shedding weight when they are least required to do so, with some mildly worrying consequences if you're further than swimming distance from shore. Which is why these boats probably shouldn't get permission to leave harbour.
    I'm not sure that this race has been "blighted with a disastrous series of keel and mast failures" as much as it's been blighted with unfortunately-positioned fishing trawlers, which, when bumped into at 18knots, may cause mast problems. It actually shows how strong these boats are, the weak link being the canting keel idea, which have a habit of falling off.
    If we went back to a time when epirbs and satellite communication were unavailable, folks would be setting off in more reliable boats, because not having a panic button changes your attitude a lot as to how unreliable a concept you are prepared to design into an offshore boat.
    Don't blame the designers for baking the cake to a recipe given to them. Just sayin' ...
     
  2. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Hence a ONE Design that can be ruggedized and last more than one race without a total refit.
     
  3. SteveMellet
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    SteveMellet Senior Member

    Has the decision been made to go with a One-Design yet, or not ?
    If what Doug wrote earlier in this thread is correct :
    "Open 60's have always had canting ballast keels. If DSS is retrofitted it would be into a boat that had a canting keel. It could be locked on the center line but would probably be used in combination with DSS until DSS is better understood. The RM from DSS can exceed that from a canting keel when the boat is moving fast enough.
    I doubt anybody will use DSS because the class bigwigs want to move to a one design....."
    I would think that they should seriously look into using DSS and fixed keels, as the biggest problem I see with these boats is the (re)movable keels, which most often remove themselves against the skipper's wishes. If they don't fall off they stop working properly, or prevent the hull from doing it's job, which is that of keeping seawater on the outside.
    There's no need to go one-design to make the boats safer, just change a few things in the rules which will make for safer boats - perhaps a bit slower, but safer.
    Of course the biggest obstacle is that being a solo sailor's race, there has to be times when no-one is on watch, so collisions with other boats remains another big problem to overcome. Having read on SA that Louis Burton has retired after hitting a fishing boat, I was impressed to read that it's his second one so far, which doesn't put a positive light on long-distance solo sailing as being a sensible form of the sport. Perhaps there are a lot more fishing boats further out to sea than in the past due to over-fishing inshore, but I think something needs to be done to prevent further incidents.
     
  4. Tad
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    Tad Boat Designer

    Why? How are a few ultralight racers blowing themselves apart out in the ocean harming you? They aren't hurting the fishing boats, these things explode on contact with anything.......Sure collision with other vessels was a concern back when Alain Colas was racing a 236' steel monster out there, but these newer boats are pretty disposable.......

    The elephant in the room is that ultimate racing must be risky to attract attention.....Make the boats slow and safe and nobody watches, and the reason for these folks being out there is strictly commercial.
     
  5. SteveMellet
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    SteveMellet Senior Member

    Tad, you're absolutely right, safety at sea, what was I thinking ??
    How many sponsors are coming back for the next race when their whole budget gets wiped out less than a week into the race ? Return on investment isn't looking good for them, so perhaps the race will change on it's own if it wants to continue.
    Are you right about the fact that unless it's perceived as highly dangerous, no-one will show an interest ? I hope not. With this in mind, does the other round the world race that signs up ordinary folks to compete fail to attract sponsors because it's too safe, and most of the boats get around without falling apart ? I really hope that is not the state of the sport and the mindset required to attract sponsors. I would think it would acchieve the opposite.

    One thing I agree with you on, is that I don't really care either way. But I'd like for all the competitors to get home safely, if not for me then for their families.
     
  6. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Citation? Evidence? Analogous events?

    They say people watch NASCAR for the crashes too, but the top NASCAR event only ranked 27th in the list of highest-rating sports events for the USA in 2012. The list of top-ranked sports is dominated by football.

    Or let's use a different event, the Olympicsm, to see how spectacular crash and burn sports rate. Simple truth is, they don't. People turn on to watch the opening and closing ceremonies, gymnastics, swimming and running, plus whatever team sport their country does well in. Risky racing doesn't rate, even when comparing the risky version of a sport (whitewater kayaks v flatwater kayaks, BMX and MTB v road cycling, ski jumping v XC skiing, etc) to the "sedate" version. The popular, sedate events rate better.

    Round the world racing is in a different market, but there is no evidence that risky sports really rate and therefore why make it riskier than it has to be?
     
  7. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    ===============
    I'm sure Hugh Welbourn would like to see DSS used on a boat designed specifically for it-retro fitting is probably a bad idea(learned through experience-I was wrong to suggest it). Hugh designed a Mini for DSS-it should be sailing before long.
     
  8. Stephen Ditmore
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    Stephen Ditmore Senior Member

    I'd be interested in hearing why you think retrofitting DSS is a bad idea.
     
  9. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    You must be kidding.

    The fishermen are out there trying to earn their living. When some idiot without right-of-way comes out of the night and smashes the rigging of the fishing boat it is ruining the ability for that man to feed his children.

    It can ruin his current catch at the time of the incident, his entire trip, an entire window of opportunity to earn his yearly salary.

    It has happened far too often in these singlehanded races over the years.
     
  10. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    ---------------------
    Because if a boat isn't designed for DSS it becomes difficult to accentuate the advantages of the system-advantages intrinsic to any boat designed for DSS-like larger sailarea for a given displacement. And Hugh Welbourn told me it was counterproductive.
     
  11. Tad
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    Tad Boat Designer

    Over on Sailing Anarchy they posted lists and lay bets on who would break first....I think that indicates a certain mindset....a lot of the coverage is about the carnage(guys showing great grit and determination), a little is about the great sailing(which was why Sam was so refreshing)...but that's purely an impression.

    Up against something nice and safe like say the Clipper Race? Well, for me it's no contest, I check on the Vendee most days, on the Clipper almost never......so perhaps I'm just shallow? ;)

    Why indeed? Why not race for the America's cup in 12 metres instead of fragile multihulls.......because the arms race engages eyeballs and minds. Do you really think the Vendee would be as popular if in 1989 Philippe had said, "we're all racing in identical Credit Agricole's, forever".
     
  12. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

  13. CT249
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    CT249 Senior Member

    Identical Credit Agricoles may or may not have kept interest in the race alive, but that is a different question to asking whether some restrictions to increase durability of current box-rule boats are sensible. A rule that required Credit Agricole-type restricted development boats could well have made for great racing in cheaper boats, and perhaps kept the development class alive rather than a shift to OD.

    Development classes are great (until we decided to move cities I was going to mount another campaign to do the worlds in one of the ones I sail, so I'm in no way against them) but when the Volvo, Open 60s, ORMA 60s, GP42, Tour etc all shift to ODs surely we have to recognise that there is currently a problem with the way that the development classes are being organised. Perhaps the problem is that people who resist restrictions are killing the development classes by making them too expensive and fragile? It's surely no coincidence that in dinghies, the most influential development classes are either tightly restricted, or very short which inherently reduces cost. The same lesson seems to be being repeated in Class 40 (seen the Open 40s around lately btw...thought not) and Mini 650s.

    Basically history says, either keep reasonable restrictions on development classes, or see those classes die. Of course, the definition of "reasonable" is open to discussion, but the current failure rate may not be sustainable.

    And is there any proof that the "fragile multis" are actually engaging eyeballs and minds? We have had the AC World Series scaled back. We have the smallest number of syndicates since around 1935 (four, compared to around 10 in the major recession of the 1983 series). We have vastly less interest than the hype said, no entries from the four oldest challenging countries, no TV deal, sponsorship issues, and a top-ranked challenger allegedly largely kept alive by the defender's funding IIRC.

    To me, that doesn't sound like an enormous success worth emulating.
     
  14. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Vendee

    Sam sailing home with her Laser main:

    click for better view-
     

    Attached Files:


  15. SteveMellet
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    SteveMellet Senior Member

    That'll take her a while !
    One might wonder why she even has that sail on board ....
    Nice advert for Laser though ! :D
     
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