Before the start of the Vendée Globe, on November 8 from Les Sables-d’Olonne (Vendée), a little refrain came up regularly: the fleet of the most recent monohulls in their design, that is to say equipped with foils (these appendages which make it possible to almost fly over water), was presented as fragile, it had sailed little and, therefore, it was not going to hold the constraints imposed by the race of the world alone. “The question is how to hold on without breaking everything, knowing that we will go faster with less sail area”, summarized Louis Burton (Office-Valley II).
As we approach three weeks of racing, there are already some answers. After the setbacks of Jérémie Beyou (forced to return to the starting point before leaving), Nicolas Troussel (dismasting synonymous with abandonment with his Corum-L’Epargne) or Alex Thomson (cracks to repair on Hugo boss), it was the turn of another of the favorites to show severe damage: Wednesday, November 25, when he was in second place behind Charlie Dalin (Apivia), Thomas Rettant suffered a damage to the port foil of his boat, LinkedOut.
“I was walking at 20 knots when I heard this loud noise”, explained the skipper, quoted in a press release from the organizers. “I don’t really have an explanation. I retracted the foil fully so that it does not drag in the water. There is no waterway and the foil well is healthy. But the foil is really cracked in many places ”, he said.
If this damage forced him to stop momentarily, Thomas Rutant however still remains in the race, said the organizers. But, deprived for the rest of his round-the-world trip of this important appendage on the left side of the boat, he should no longer be able to run at very high speed.