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a nightmare on vplp street

We’re extremely pleased to know Alex and Guillermo are safe ashore in Spain after they could presumably no longer keep up with the water ingress on the sinking Hugo Boss after her abandonment of the Transat Jacques Vabre.  The structure on the new Hugo Boss continues to break down while Alex and Guillermo and the shore team are meeting as we speak to figure out if and how a salvage will happen.

While the 6 new VPLP/Verdier boats are the most complicated and technologically advanced ocean racing monos ever created, there are only a couple of really ‘new’ things about their structure: The foils and cases, which look to have been a major problem with one boat, and the ultra-thin rib-and-skin construction of the hull, which took out another.  It’ll be a little bit before we know which problem started Boss down her cascade of failure, but one thing is for sure: With four out of five new boats broken, at least one of them catastrophically, the designers have a lot to answer for – something we look forward to from the typically pretty straightforward folks at both VPLP and Guillaume Verdier Design.  Note that these boats were built at at least three different facilities…

The fact that the fifth of the new foiling boats is streaking away from the rest of the IMOCA fleet at a ridiculous pace doesn’t really help; a small turn of fate and instead of being on shore, Alex and Guillermo are adrift in a raft.  Or lost forever.

Designers are finally starting to get around to accepting the fact that keels should not be ejectable.  Their next challenge?  Hulls need to be built to last past the first delivery.

Talk in the thread here, and track what remains of the fleet here.

If you haven’t seen our one-hour interview with Alex on the deck of the now-sinking HB, get to it!

 

October 31st, 2015

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