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With Vincent Riou limping off to safety after cracking his keel, Seb Josse losing hours to repair UFO-damaged rudder linkage last night, and Alex Thomson somehow holding on to a 100+ mile lead with just a stub of a starboard foil, it’s clear that the biggest hurdle to winning the 2016 Vendee Globe may very well be floating – or swimming – in the water. With PRB down it’s also clear that it ain’t just a foil thing, and don’t forget the famous secrecy of some teams; we may only be hearing a portion of the actual damage reports.
With Thomson seeming to easily hold off Banque Populaire at sustained speeds of 20+ knots, we asked his team for a photo of the Hugo Boss damage to address some of the speculation that Alex is playing head games with other teams and that there was no collision. We were told there were no pics yet because the stump is under water and spray at 20 knots, and said we’d all see pics and video of Thomson’s foilectomy when the weather moderated. We’ve also just learned exclusively that the non-French ocean racing world’s biggest hope may not be over at all, thanks to a spare starboard foil aboard the Boss! Alex will attempt to cut away and jettison the remaining stub and insert the spare downward from the deck openings ; it is a very tricky operation but they’ve practiced it at least once, and it’s the reason for their unique deck/foil exit configuration.
The reality of the situation is dramatic enough, but we loved SA’er ‘nedev’s explanation of Thomson’s problem way more.
To be honest, structural failure and hitting stuff in the open ocean both seem quite unlikely to me… After all, the engineers know what they are doing right? And in that vast ocean, what is the chance to hit a teeny tiny floating object?
If you ask me, I think the most likely thing that has happened is that aliens visited AT and try to abduct him and perform scientific experiments on him. In his blind panic, AT ripped off his own foil with his bare hands and used it as a blade to fight off the extraterrestrial intruders. Stunned by this display of will power and strength, the aliens didn’t know what to do and decided that there would probably be easier test subjects to be found elsewhere on this weird planet. What they didn’t know was that during their stay on the big black boat, one of the landing lines of the UFO got wrapped around the rudder. So when they tried to fly away, the rudder got pulled up and the UFO got destabilised mid flight, causing it to crash into the ocean and sink into the depths.
So I think we should all be grateful for Alex’s heroic actions, saving humanity from the alien invasion. Quite possibly, humanity would have been wiped off the planet if AT hadn’t sacrificed his own foil to save us all!
Talk about these discoveries and more in the Vendee Globe thread.