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Damage to the Port Foil of Thomas Ruyant’s LinkedOut!

25th November 2020
LinkedOut! has damaged port foil overnight - skipper Thomas Ruyant says one option open to him is to cut the foil away LinkedOut! has damaged port foil overnight - skipper Thomas Ruyant says one option open to him is to cut the foil away

While lying in second place in the South Atlantic in the Vendee Globe Race, some 72 nautical miles behind leader Charlie Dalin (Apivia), Thomas Ruyant last night sustained damage to the port foil of his IMOCA LinkedOut. He had to stop for a short period to assess and says he will now be unable to use the foil on the port (left) side of his boat for the remainder of the race.

Thomas Ruyant is managed by Irish man Marcus Hutchinson as Afloat's WM Nixon describes here.

Ruyant told his team that it was around 0200hrs UTC this morning while he was resting inside his boat LinkedOut, that he was awoken by a loud noise outside the boat. He did not, however, feel any shock to the boat. But on inspecting the boat with his headtorch he immediately noticed major cracks in the "shaft" of his port foil. Ruyant immediately stopped the boat and sailed downwind to further inspect the damage.

Thomas RuyantThomas Ruyant - massively disappointed the port foil (visible on the left behind the skipper) is now unusable

"I was about 120° to the wind, I was sailing at about 20 knots when I heard this loud noise" reported Ruyant this morning. "I don't really have an explanation. I have brought the foil in all the way so that it doesn't drag in the water. In daylight, I was able to inspect the foil and it's OK at the top and speaking with my team and the architects it seems safe. There is no water coming in and the foil well itself is undamaged. But the foil itself is cracked in a number of places. The structure of the foil is compromised. I am waiting for the designers' analysis to see if I should cut it."

Ruyant is massively disappointed. He was close to the leader Dalin and having a great race so far. Although shocked, the LinkedOut skipper is staying positive:

"I am second in the Vendée Globe. Since Sunday small problems have built up which I managed to deal with, but which really are topped by this damage. I carry on racing nonetheless even if I am a bit handicapped with only one foil. But I am comforting myself in the knowledge I still have my starboard foil, which is statistically the most important for a round-the-world race. The course is still very long. I'm continuing, I’ll hang on in there!”

Published in Vendee Globe
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The 2020/2021 Vendée Globe Race

A record-sized fleet of 33 skippers will start the ninth edition of the Vendée Globe: the 24,296 nautical miles solo non-stop round-the-world race from Les Sables d’Olonne in France, on Sunday, November 8 at 1302hrs French time/1202hrs TU and will be expected back in mid-January 2021.

Vendée Globe Race FAQs

Six women (Alexia Barrier, Clarisse Cremer, Isabelle Joschke, Sam Davies, Miranda Merron, Pip Hare).

Nine nations (France, Germany, Japan, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, and Great Britain)

After much speculation following Galway man Enda O’Coineen’s 2016 race debut for Ireland, there were as many as four campaigns proposed at one point, but unfortunately, none have reached the start line.

The Vendée Globe is a sailing race round the world, solo, non-stop and without assistance. It takes place every four years and it is regarded as the Everest of sailing. The event followed in the wake of the Golden Globe which had initiated the first circumnavigation of this type via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn) in 1968.

The record to beat is Armel Le Cléac’h 74 days 3h 35 minutes 46s set in 2017. Some pundits are saying the boats could beat a sub-60 day time.

The number of theoretical miles to cover is 24,296 miles (45,000 km).

The IMOCA 60 ("Open 60"), is a development class monohull sailing yacht run by the International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA). The class pinnacle events are single or two-person ocean races, such as the Route du Rhum and the Vendée Globe.

Zero past winners are competing but two podiums 2017: Alex Thomson second, Jérémie Beyou third. It is also the fifth participation for Jean Le Cam and Alex Thomson, fourth for Arnaud Boissières and Jérémie Beyou.

The youngest on this ninth edition of the race is Alan Roura, 27 years old.

The oldest on this ninth edition is Jean Le Cam, 61 years old.

Over half the fleet are debutantes, totalling 18 first-timers.

The start procedure begins 8 minutes before the gun fires with the warning signal. At 4 minutes before, for the preparatory signal, the skipper must be alone on board, follow the countdown and take the line at the start signal at 13:02hrs local time. If an IMOCA crosses the line too early, it incurs a penalty of 5 hours which they will have to complete on the course before the latitude 38 ° 40 N (just north of Lisbon latitude). For safety reasons, there is no opportunity to turn back and recross the line. A competitor who has not crossed the starting line 60 minutes after the signal will be considered as not starting. They will have to wait until a time indicated by the race committee to start again. No departure will be given after November 18, 2020, at 1:02 p.m when the line closes.

The first boat could be home in sixty days. Expect the leaders from January 7th 2021 but to beat the 2017 race record they need to finish by January 19 2021.

Today, building a brand new IMOCA generally costs between 4.2 and €4.7million, without the sails but second-hand boats that are in short supply can be got for around €1m.

©Afloat 2020

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