@Phil J., I 've been saying for weeks that this race can't be about both speed and endurance. And Don, you're right; this damage started in Leg One, and has just gotten more dangerous. These boats are well-built and I really doubt there's a clear and present threat of one breaking apart; still, you can see the difference two or three years can make when you look at the problems Sanya has had. And it seems like the bulkheads for the MH0's and the forward water tights are getting hammered on every boat. I posted a comment on Abu Dhabi's site sometime ago and said then, that the officials and the race committee need to decide what the VOR is going to be about. IMHO, it's not dropping 15 meters into a trough and either cracking the hull or snapping the mast. I'm all for the carbon fibre technology, but it's not like fibreglass or wood. Seems to me the CF hull is too rigid. If someone can design suspension bridges that flex, certainly they could find a material that would allow the 21 and 22 meter boats that little bit of flex to absorb the beating. Just my two cents.
Surely a boat designed to race around the world should be built to finish the race in first place (this is yacht racing right?). Whats the point building a fragile speed machine which might be fast but will most likely not win the race overall due to problems with the structure? So what if its 1 knot slower due to increased strength....as long as it holds together and finishes without pulling into port for repairs. Seems that would be a winner in this particular race.
The boat that will win is the one designed the best and built to last the distance. In this instance that may not necessarily be by the best crew.I find it strange that it appears these structural failures are accepted...how can that be?? Is that why they introduced the points system instead of just using elapsed time around the world? To make it fair for those that have a weak boat?
I think the whole outlook on this race is a bit odd and it seems designed as a commercial venture rather than a true test to see who is fastest around the world.
Yes the whitbread race was maybe more of an adventure but every race produced a faster time around the world due to design and development from the previous races. In general most of the boats held together which made for great viewing and great racing. Even the V60s were good value..
Everyone is entitled to there own opinion and I'm just stating mine. If this is the direction ocean racing is taking then I will be looking at another sport to follow...
Don't blame the southern ocean slay ride conditions, remember all of the boats were hard on the wind for at least the first 48hrs in big seas when they left Auckland. I believe the damage was already done before they cracked off and headed south. Not many 70 footers would stand up to slamming into big waves and a head wind.
My 'bring back the 80ft maxi ketches' was tongue-in-cheek but at least they offered good racing although at a slower pace...
I wonder how many participants there will be in the next race. These one-off boats are expensive and obviously cost a lot to maintain. Maybe sponsors don't mind the boats breaking as the name of the boat is broadcast in the news more often. Camper Ltd. might be happy there 'product' is going to Chile for a few days..
I agree with another comment made: The designers might get it right if the boats are designed for longer legs. None of these short sprint legs. What about getting rid of the points system and go back to elapsed time for each leg...this race is to prove who is the fastest around the world isn't it??
Anyway, i am quickly losing interest in this race as i'm sure many others are as well. A big shame.
I am relatively new to the VOR as spectator. Anyway, if someone wants to correct my naive opinion, it seems that there are currently two kinds of 70´s dinghies - the ones who had serious troubles and the others which had not yet. I hope to be wrong... And lets wait you all in Itajaí! Neptun and God comes wtih you all!