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Vendee Globe 2020

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8 minutes ago, staysail said:

Radical greens don't understand anything. That is the problem with them.

Radical greens is just a smear word by people who don't want to be held accountable for the damage they make to our environment.

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18 minutes ago, Laurent said:

YES.

From the different interviews in French, including the one during the daily newscast, I got the following:

He could not take the liferaft inside the boat, already under water.

I wanted to take the liferaft which is secured in the aft/cockpit part of the boat. He also stated that from his past experience with Groupama (or is it Banque Populaire???) he knows that the boat EPIRB, located inside the boat, does not always emit reliably because of all the carbon surounding it; so he was trying to attach it to the outside of the boat (I believe on a stanchion).

I do not know all the technicalities on safety beacon devices, so please forgive me if my words are not 100% accurate, but he also clearly stated that he has his "personal EPIRB" ALWAYS on him; it is in his foulies trousers pocket all the time. So when he had done his survival suit, on top of his foulies, he had that personnal EPIRB with him (I believe this is the one associated with the AIS signal? so shorter range).

He also stated that for safety reason, he does not keep the survival suit packed away; it is always accessible, I assume somewhere near the companionway...

HE DID NOT CHOSE TO JUMP INTO THE LIFE RAFT.

While he was retrieving the aft cockpit liferaft and the boat EPIRB and trying to secure everything on deck, a wave swept him away, with the life raft... So no choice, he inflated the liferaft and climbed into it. He then activated the boat EPIRB (or is it activated automatically if submerged for too long?) and his personal EPIRB.

He also explained that he wanted originally to stay with the boat (before he got thrown overboard)... but he was not sure which part of the boat would sink last, between the front and the rear. He knows that there are compartment and floatability integrated in the design, but the aft part of the boat has the keel attached to it; will it float if the front half is gone??? This dilemna got anwered when he ended up in the water anyway...

added pic to illustrate it.. i think it is placed under the upper deck aft. Not easy to take out in very short time. 

Rereading KE quote

" I wanted to go secure the lifeboat that is normally at the bottom of the cockpit, but the water was already at the level of the boat's deck, the level of back of the boat's deck, so I pulled the liferaft from under the water to put it on the deck of the cockpit, and when I was trying to secure it the boat heeled over, a wave broke over the deck and threw me in the water with the liferaft, so I didn't have a choice in fact between staying on the boat and going in the water, so then I was in the water, I activated the liferaft, I had the grab bag I had managed to get a hold of on my back and a distress case I was keeping with me, that was inside the boat, up high, that's how I had been able to recover it, and at that point I was in the water with all that, I managed to activate the liferaft and climb into it, and then I kept on looking, and during 15 minutes I was still seeing PRB's bow pointed straight up"

2016%2011%2027%20P%205.jpg

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40 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

So having already suited up was washed overboard together with liferaft (while trying to secure it) with one grab bag (backpack), distress case, vessels epirb and AIS PLB (attached to suit).

That could have so gone to shit so easily.

- It all happened exactly as it did BUT he was not suited.

- He got washed overboard AFTER securing raft.  Boat and liferaft go to the bottom. 

 

Amazing seamanship 

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41 minutes ago, Bebmoumoute said:

Also from Hubert Lemonnier, the EPIRB signal they were getting via CROSS Gris-Nez was erratic an inconsistent, which caused some confusion.

They will be looking into this.

Degraded performance would be consistent with an EPIRB close to and even sometimes under water. Aka a liferaft in bad weather.
Bad reception of the GPS signal leading to bad location data. (larger location error) Bad conditions to transmit the signal to the sats, adding even more degradation. (fewer messages received)

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I have been told that even holding the EPIRB close to your body will reduce the signal. Advise has always been to use the lanyard & get the unit away from everything. There is not much transmit power.

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3 hours ago, Miffy said:

In re Romain Grosjean - his survival was a tribute to the self-critical engineering work of multiple generations of engineers and crash experts - the survival cell and halo worked as intended. The crash barrier, fuel containment did not. He was not supposed to split the armco barriers and emerge on the other side. His racesuit, which was just upgraded this year to give him 20 seconds more time getting out of the car saved him. If he had been concussed, suffered a broken ankle or was unable to remove his own seatbelt & foam clips, or his survival cell hadn't gotten as far thru the barrier and he was between two sheets of steel - he would be dead.

Something uniquely different from other events, F1 actually has a driver union & the sport itself recognizes casualties are bad for business. Whereas in sailing - you still have a lot of dockside event managers whose concern for the well being of sailors is about as much as saying "if they crash coming into a busy port at night unescorted at 20 knots because the race is close, they crash it is their own fault"

You can always tell how a sport or event is managed by how much pat on the back they give themselves after an event that could have become tragic. Notice how the sailors involved talk vs. event managers/ppl further removed from the jeopardy.

The owners/skippers of the Imocas are in charge of their own fleet and rules and well represented.

https://www.imoca.org/en/imoca/about

BOARD

Antoine MERMOD, president
Jérémie BEYOU
Arnaud BOISSIERES
Louis BURTON
Kevin ESCOFFIER
Charles EUVERTE, treasurer
Boris HERRMANN
Paul MEILHAT

TECHNICAL COMMITTEE

Antoine MERMOD, president
René BOULAIRE
Laurent BOURGUÈS
Joff BROWN
Antoine CARRAZ
Pierre-François DARGNIES
Alex THOMSON
Thomas GAVERIAUX
Luc GELLUSSEAU
Anne-Claire LE BERRE
Stéphane LE DIRAISON
Quentin LUCET
Sam MANUARD
Clément RIVE

 

continues......

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Amazing stuff, the night must have been so tense for Kevin (and family friends JLC etc).

On the race subject Thomas appears to do quite well on his shortened foil (he is on it right now, on starboard tack)

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8 minutes ago, mad said:

owners/skippers of the Imocas are in charge of their own fleet and rules and well represented.

Yup and notice how the brief moment peek inside their cross dialogue shows the concern for the fleet and competitions. Then the harrowing experience for the VG director and ppl coordinating. 
 

Then contrast with other events where the stakeholders aren’t the ppl with jeopardy. 

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23 minutes ago, longy said:

I have been told that even holding the EPIRB close to your body will reduce the signal. Advise has always been to use the lanyard & get the unit away from everything. There is not much transmit power.

Large and small EPIRB's same power. Antenna, floating EPIRB versus EPIRB PLB shielding by body as you point out is the difference.

He had a AIS PLB and ships EPIRB   

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58 minutes ago, TPG said:

ask someone who was in a car crash or in a high stress incident for a timeline. it'll be wrong almost 100% of the time. but the boat is gone, and he is fine, we can move along back to racing.

THIS^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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42 minutes ago, Chasm said:
1 hour ago, Bebmoumoute said:

Also from Hubert Lemonnier, the EPIRB signal they were getting via CROSS Gris-Nez was erratic an inconsistent, which caused some confusion.

They will be looking into this.

Degraded performance would be consistent with an EPIRB close to and even sometimes under water. Aka a liferaft in bad weather.
Bad reception of the GPS signal leading to bad location data. (larger location error) Bad conditions to transmit the signal to the sats, adding even more degradation. (fewer messages received)

Yes normal EPIRB performance you would expect in those circumstances. 

Get distress signal out first and don't just rely on EPIRB.

He had a AIS PLB.

In SO a EPIRB PLB usefull for redundancy in raft and body recovery not much else.

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21 minutes ago, Miffy said:

Yup and notice how the brief moment peek inside their cross dialogue shows the concern for the fleet and competitions. Then the harrowing experience for the VG director and ppl coordinating. 
 

Then contrast with other events where the stakeholders aren’t the ppl with jeopardy. 

That's for another day and another thread

 

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1 hour ago, jamhass said:

Some months ago there was a very interesting article about the designer of the original drift model.  Sorry, I can't find it right now, but ...

I believe the article was in the New Yorker.  The guy worked at the national weather service and on his own began working out a drift model, which he spent many years refining, begging people for data, not only for current, weather etc, but also for real world drifts so he could estimate drag coefficients for various boats, life rafts, etc.

I will continue to look for the article, it is a really good read.

Bloomberg, behind a paywall

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So after we learned what an "Alex" meant for french sailors, the question is what will we call a complete structural desintegration of a boat while sailing??

"Young American"

"Artemis"

or a

"PRB"

Or do you shiver the next time when it comes to the call we have a "Kevin"  from the on watch crew??

guess I forgot about the "Philips" from Pete Goss

 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, jack_sparrow said:

Yes normal EPIRB performance you would expect in those circumstances. 

Get distress signal out first and don't just rely on EPIRB.

He had a AIS PLB.

In SO a EPIRB PLB usefull for body recovery not much else.

Yep. I was an early adopter of AIS PLBs. provided somebody is in range (including the boat you just fell off if crewed) it is your best chance of a quick pickup. EPIRB of course alerts the the rescue authorities of the planet but they most likely can't get to you before you sucumb. 

The TPS (survival suit) must be given credit too. They are thick, circa 8mm, neoprene with hood and gloves. With practice they can be donned in about 20 seconds, provide warmth and floatation, and will definitely keep you alive for a long time. 

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8 minutes ago, mad said:

That's for another day and another thread

 

I agree. Comparisons are just not valid in these cases. Obviously everyone involved in all these competitions are taking a lot of risk, and hopefully finding fame, money, or both in return. The details of the involved incidents are not to be taken as an indictment. Instead they should be used to improve the situation for all involved in these ventures. 

There was, and is still a big chance of tragedy in this Vendee. Through design failure, human error, and chance. What has just occurred is an opportunity to learn from a non-fatal accident. And to celebrate all involved. Not an opportunity to grind an axe, or justify an argument. 

Stuff happens. learn from your own, and other's experiences.

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7 hours ago, dmjburrows said:

How much food does Jean le Cam have on board?  If Kevin is lifted or transferred off, but stays on for a few days, will Jean end up hungry on the way North?

Ditto!

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7 hours ago, k-f-u said:

@astro was a bit imprecise with his words and understanding of what was written before. Kevin never said he did everything and got off the boat in 4 seconds. It's more like just under 2 minutes, as stated in the PRB article. 4 seconds for the bow to fold 90° up and the cabin being flooded. 

From the french live I understood that until he was in his TPS (approx. 2 minutes after breakage), the cabin / boat was flooded about 3/4. (happy to be corrected on that as my french is far from perfect)

Not me being imprecise, it is those who continue to refer to the now famous 4 seconds as the time it took to crack and sink.

As some one who has been on a sailing boat going down, it was obvious that he needed more time than that to organise himself and send a message.

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1 hour ago, jsaronson said:

Is Le Cam allowed to complete the race with a passenger aboard?

Probably not, but the bigger issue is food; Le Cam probably has food for himself for ~90 days, not food for two for the next 70 or so, and by the sounds of it Kevin didn't have time to grab any. When AT was rescued by Mike Golding, he specifically brought food off HB, which was probably critical as they subsequently lost the rig, hence a longer journey than originally planned. The next question is does Le Cam have enough fuel on board for the rest of the journey (to charge batteries etc.)

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Wow, I am caught up on the interviews, I think. What a team work! Amazing effort on all sides! 

I will be accused of armchair speculation, which is fine, but with the boat sunken we will never find out what happened, so I think we can and should speculate a bit based on what we know at this point. If you  don't want to speculate, or have anyone speculate, just skip to the next post.

I don't know how this boat was internally constructed in comparison to HB (besides that it was apparently light and was reinforced) but it seems to me that without discovering the cracks a similar thing could have happened to HB with the kind of damage she sustained. Although it seems that the damage in HB was perhaps a bit more forward?

From the description by KE it sounds like he was nosediving when the boat folded in two. That is quite a massive failure, unbelievable actually, so what can possibly explain this? Here is a thought: When a boat pushes down, the bow wants to go up (because of the buoyancy) and if I understood this correctly from the interviews, the boat snapped in two just in front of the mast. In comparison to HB PBR had a very differently shaped bow, which I would expect to cut more through waves than the HB bow would. Nevertheless, there is a lot of buoyancy in the bow, pushing it back up while the rear end (and loaded rig) drives the boat down. I assume it was not one wave that did the damage. Prolonged repeated exposure to these forces must have stressed the hull to failure. A few structural parts were already broken, and this nosedive broke the last one(s) and the boat collapsed... 

Of course this is speculation based on limited info. The architects/engineers who designed the boat will know more, but they will also have to speculate about what happened. In any case, flame away.

I am most of all happy everyone is alive and well! 

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33 minutes ago, WALPER said:

Apivia (17UTC) routing @ 95-100-105-110-115% of Imoca 2018.pol

1.png

 

Nice routing. Which software? Adrena?

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1 minute ago, samc99us said:

Probably not, but the bigger issue is food; Le Cam probably has food for himself for ~90 days, not food for two for the next 70 or so.

He is not a passenger and he will get off at Kerguelen in a week. I assume that the race will allow some food to be brought during the transfer.

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Watching this footage again, allways wondered what the Heli crew were saying in background while filming Alex smokin in his old wounded HB... (around mid video 01.50sg) Could anyone help to translate ? ? (thanks in advance much appreciated)

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22 minutes ago, astro said:

Not me being imprecise, it is those who continue to refer to the now famous 4 seconds as the time it took to crack and sink.

You do make shit up Randumb. 

4 seconds was "foldaboat".

Why would anyone say that was sinking time when he wasn't even suited and from the raft he was still looking at the bow pointing skyward.

  

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...and that Cam is still in the race. 
when PRB rescued Cam near Cabo de Hornos, the mast strut was damaged, and eventually caused dismasting. An amazing series of events, and a life saved none the less. 
there should be several options available to Jean, and a way to go foreword, without having to abandon his race. 

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2 hours ago, Buck Turgidson said:

As others have stated, you can't get into a survival suit in 4 seconds. We practiced this often in my previous life and it is always a faf. Getting into a life raft from the water, in a survival suit is not straight forwards but adrenaline helps. 

TPS is a bit more comfortable then most industrial survival suites , I have some unflattering photos of me entering a liferaft which I am reluctant to publish. Not difficult et all.
Search for Guy Cotton TPS.

From Figaro sailors they came up with this;
10803_3_FR_original.jpg

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26 minutes ago, Rafael said:

Watching this footage again, allways wondered what the Heli crew were saying in background while filming Alex smokin in his old wounded HB... (around mid video 01.50sg) Could anyone help to translate ? (thanks in advance much appreciated)

At 2:20 the guys are saying "goddam the boat's really on it's edge" a little latter they comment when his bow dives in the water. They seem pretty impressed by what they're seeing. Throughout, what I guess are the pilots, are calling out wind directions and speed or altitudes from time to time but it's really hard to really hear what they're saying, very much in the background.

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9 minutes ago, Rafael said:

Watching this footage again, allways wondered what the Heli crew were saying in background while filming Alex smokin in his old wounded HB... (around mid video 01.50sg) Could anyone help to translate ? ? (thanks in advance much appreciated)

 

Just now, ant1 said:

At 2:25 the guys are saying "goddam the boat's really on it's edge" a little latter they comment when his bow dives in the water. They seem pretty impressed by what they're seeing. Throughout, what I guess are the pilots, are calling out wind directions and speed from time to time but it's really hard to really hear what they're saying, very much in the background.

Merci, we the sound is not clear w/bad quality noise... thanks! ok.png.0c68afc92ad7add173fd2e8df4ee3123.png

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58 minutes ago, patrese said:

So after we learned what an "Alex" meant for french sailors, the question is what will we call a complete structural desintegration of a boat while sailing??

"Young American"

"Artemis"

or a

"PRB"

Or do you shiver the next time when it comes to the call we have a "Kevin"  from the on watch crew??

guess I forgot about the "Philips" from Pete Goss

 

 

 

The others maybe, but not Artemis or had you forgotten a man lost his life in that one? Hmm? Very bad taste if not.

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1 hour ago, jack_sparrow said:

Yes normal EPIRB performance you would expect in those circumstances. 

Get distress signal out first and don't just rely on EPIRB.

He had a AIS PLB.

In SO a EPIRB PLB usefull for redundancy in raft and body recovery not much else.

Jack, I sure hope you are wrong about that PLB. I have an EPRIB attached to my boat outside on a hydrostatic release so it signals if the boat sinks, and one at the the companionway to take with me into the liferaft, but I also have a PLB in my lifejacket pocket that is always with me sailing or kitesurfing, and trust that the PLB will also be useful, not just for recovering my body!

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16 minutes ago, Rafael said:

Watching this footage again, allways wondered what the Heli crew were saying in background while filming Alex smokin in his old wounded HB... (around mid video 01.50sg) Could anyone help to translate ? (thanks in advance much appreciated)

Tough to understand sometimes, but bascally impressed, at one time saying "il enfourne", so like "the bow is getting burried"

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3 minutes ago, yl75 said:

Tough to understand sometimes, but bascally impressed, at one time saying "il enfourne", so like "the bow is getting burried"

Anybody watching that had to be impressed!

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Kevin: "Hey Jean, that heady needs a trim, see the luff is puckering again!"

Jean: "Grrrrr ..."

Kevin: "And this cabin is a fucking mess Jean, clean up your shit, you know I would help if I could.  When are you making coffee again?  I could do with a cup."

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1 hour ago, troll99 said:

JLC mentioned life ring "banana" . I think it is same as the one used in mini transat. The brand is Silzig

Calaméo - Boue CC 81e 20Prompt 20Secours

 

Mini Transat 6.50 2015 – Sailing to the Extreme

Good find. Like most, I have an old-fashioned horseshoe on a line on the pushpit. I recall Web Chiles joking about getting checked for one by the Coast Guard, as he was sailing solo and would have nobody to thow it to him. But it could be useful for rescuing someone else.

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8 hours ago, carlosgp5 said:

you sound like have never left the couch. get some carbon gear, go offshore on 20kt boat speed, then you will understand what 4sec is

That would have to be the dumbest post of at least the week.  Congratulations.

Been on a boat going down at night, my comment was nothing about carbon FFS, I know what four seconds is, not enough time to do what some here think he did ... in that time.

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6 minutes ago, TheDragon said:

Good find. Like most, I have an old-fashioned horseshoe on a line on the pushpit. I recall Web Chiles joking about getting checked for one by the Coast Guard, as he was sailing solo and would have nobody to thow it to him. But it could be useful for rescuing someone else.

you could pick up a person with the sling in a helicopter. Quite practical. 

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1 hour ago, troll99 said:

Kevin could fix that 

2014 Readers' Top Tuna Photos | Fish, Tuna fishing, Ocean fishing boats

Don't know if this is a bit offTopic the Vendee, alltough you brought me quite some good memories... My father teached me how to fish them since I was a little kid (with alive squid!) :D Some years before the Japaneese invasion and Bluefin sushi frenzy market clusterfuck... in calmed days, you could see them coming breaking the surface as dolphins! (hundreds of them) Looks like this photo is from NovaScotia or near... thanks

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2 hours ago, troll99 said:

JLC mentioned life ring "banana" . I think it is same as the one used in mini transat. The brand is Silzig

Mini Transat 6.50 2015 – Sailing to the Extreme

Mini's are not required to have that sling, but a lot do. We're required to have a horseshoe with drogue, light etc, a sling with a 26m line, and a dan buoy.

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11 minutes ago, Rafael said:

Don't know if this is a bit offTopic the Vendee, alltough you brought me quite some good memories... My father teached me how to fish them since I was a little kid (with alive squid!) :D Some years before the Japaneese invasion and Bluefin sushi frenzy market clusterfuck... In calmed days, you could see them coming breaking the surface as dolphins! (hundreds of them) Looks like this photo is from NovaScotia or near... thanks

But now there are all these "fattening farms" outside of Spain right ?

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An interview with Vincent Riou, PRB previous skipper, and also the one that rescued Le Cam back in 2008 (https://www.letelegramme.fr/voile/vendee-globe/vincent-riou-meme-dans-un-endroit-difficile-un-bateau-ne-peut-pas-casser-en-deux-01-12-2020-12665767.php)

Sorry it's not great, but the original material is kind of shit.

 

Quote

Vincent Riou, you were closely involved with Kévin Escoffier’s preparation, as you were the previous owner of the boat. How difficult was last night ?

 

It wasn’t an easy night, very stressfull until 2 am. It was tough to hear the news in the middle of the afternoon. We were so glad when Jean found him the first time because we knew he was in his survival suit and that the liferaft was in good shape. Afterwards, when the night came, we ot concerned again « fuck, fuck ». The conclusion was positive, but it wasn’t a simple night. We are all in different places in Britanny. I follwed the whole thing closely. I had a contact with the race committee and quickly I was able to talk to Jean. We were able to talk about the situation.

 

How is it possible for an IMOCA to break in half ?

 

I am in despair. It must be the addition of several factors. We don’t have any explanations . We are really surprised as we have been working on this boat for 10 years. I started reinforcing the structure in 2018 when foils were added. We put more reinforcements in 2019 when Kevin joined the team. Wi re-assessed the whole structure last winter as it became clear that lots of boats were having structural issues. Kevin managed the process, he is one of the most knowledgeable engineers in France when it comes to racing yachts. I happily handed the process over to him – he is the best.

 

Do you think the failure could have been caused by adding foils on a non-foiler ?

 

We knew that adding foils was going to modify the behaviour of the boat. We are not the only ones to do this. Isabelle Joschke MACF was the same. This morning, I had a chat with Vincent Lauriot-Prévost (naval architect and co-founder of VPLP). We shared everything, there is no competition between teams at this point. We want to get to the bottom of this, but we cannot find any reason why it broke. I am really disappointed because if we hadn’t done it right, the structure would have been too light. But the boat had tons of structural studies performed ! And it was checked by several people. The initial design was done by Verdier, but as he is not that available, we worked with Gsea Design. We did a full structural assessment back in 2015 as well.

 

The boat was damaged back in September when it hit a floting object, did this weaken the boat ?

 

After this incident, the boat was lifted out and the keel removed. Kevin’s own structural expert, Emmanuel Le Borgne, came and inspected the whole boat. He also did 2 full inspections last year as well, which was our new standard procedure. The inspection lasted a whole 3 days. We only found secondary order damage, nothing on the main structure. We did it right ! We all had collisions before. I am really annoyed because we di dit very seriously.

 

The southern oceans are tough, did this have an impact ?

 

The problem is that they were right in the path of the low pressure. But even in that sort of place, a boat should not brek in half. Damage can happen,  but not a catastrophic failure like yesterday. The rescue was a bit of a miracle.

 

 

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43 minutes ago, Rafael said:

Don't know if this is a bit offTopic the Vendee, alltough you brought me quite some good memories... My father teached me how to fish them since I was a little kid (with alive squid!) :D Some years before the Japaneese invasion and Bluefin sushi frenzy market clusterfuck... in calmed days, you could see them coming breaking the surface as dolphins! (hundreds of them) Looks like this photo is from NovaScotia or near... thanks

 

30 minutes ago, yl75 said:

But now there are all these "fattening farms" outside of Spain right ?

Yes, just like pigs or cows -_-... now they capture them really young (5 to 20 kg) and feed them as hell to gain volume quickly in closed circular nets, pretty sad. 25 years ago the sea boiled with them in their migration from the Atlantic (going in and returning out in spring and fall) to their procreation areas inside the Mediterranean

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3 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

So having already suited up was washed overboard together with liferaft (while trying to secure it) with one grab bag (backpack), distress case, vessels epirb and AIS PLB (attached to suit).

That could have so gone to shit so easily.

- It all happened exactly as it did BUT he was not suited.

- He got washed overboard AFTER securing raft.  Boat and liferaft go to the bottom. 

 

This is the thing that really struck me when reading Kevin’s interviews earlier today.  That wave broke over him at exactly the right time.  Any earlier and he would either not have had the raft or EPIRB to hand or he would not have been wearing his suit.  Any later and he would have managed to tie the raft and EPIRB to the boat and they would have stayed exactly where they were when he was washed off.

Such incredibly fine margins and a good deal of luck involved, on top of good seamanship, preparation and ability to keep a clear head in such daunting circumstances.

Really glad it ended the way it did and well done to all those involved in the rescue, especially JLC.

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11 minutes ago, Bebmoumoute said:

Vincent Riou, you were closely involved with Kévin Escoffier’s preparation, as you were the previous owner of the boat. How difficult was last night ?

 

It wasn’t an easy night, very stressfull until 2 am. It was tough to hear the news in the middle of the afternoon. We were so glad when Jean found him the first time because we knew he was in his survival suit and that the liferaft was in good shape. Afterwards, when the night came, we ot concerned again « fuck, fuck ». The conclusion was positive, but it wasn’t a simple night. We are all in different places in Britanny. I follwed the whole thing closely. I had a contact with the race committee and quickly I was able to talk to Jean. We were able to talk about the situation.

 

How is it possible for an IMOCA to break in half ?

 

I am in despair. It must be the addition of several factors. We don’t have any explanations . We are really surprised as we have been working on this boat for 10 years. I started reinforcing the structure in 2018 when foils were added. We put more reinforcements in 2019 when Kevin joined the team. Wi re-assessed the whole structure last winter as it became clear that lots of boats were having structural issues. Kevin managed the process, he is one of the most knowledgeable engineers in France when it comes to racing yachts. I happily handed the process over to him – he is the best.

 

Do you think the failure could have been caused by adding foils on a non-foiler ?

 

We knew that adding foils was going to modify the behaviour of the boat. We are not the only ones to do this. Isabelle Joschke MACF was the same. This morning, I had a chat with Vincent Lauriot-Prévost (naval architect and co-founder of VPLP). We shared everything, there is no competition between teams at this point. We want to get to the bottom of this, but we cannot find any reason why it broke. I am really disappointed because if we hadn’t done it right, the structure would have been too light. But the boat had tons of structural studies performed ! And it was checked by several people. The initial design was done by Verdier, but as he is not that available, we worked with Gsea Design. We did a full structural assessment back in 2015 as well.

 

The boat was damaged back in September when it hit a floting object, did this weaken the boat ?

 

After this incident, the boat was lifted out and the keel removed. Kevin’s own structural expert, Emmanuel Le Borgne, came and inspected the whole boat. He also did 2 full inspections last year as well, which was our new standard procedure. The inspection lasted a whole 3 days. We only found secondary order damage, nothing on the main structure. We did it right ! We all had collisions before. I am really annoyed because we di dit very seriously.

 

The southern oceans are tough, did this have an impact ?

 

The problem is that they were right in the path of the low pressure. But even in that sort of place, a boat should not brek in half. Damage can happen,  but not a catastrophic failure like yesterday. The rescue was a bit of a miracle.

 

 

Thanks for that! They obviously are stunned by the boat breaking/folding in half. Other foilers should be worried, and it seems they all throttled back a bit today. One thing that stands out to me in the Riou interview is the multiple steps with different people involved in this project. Adding foils, an initial designer who was "not that available," and two others following that. On the one hand multiple eyes and calculations, on the other hand this introduces the risk of a lack of oversight from A-Z. 

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All the press was on Juan K when the foil modification on PRB was rolled out w Arkea P - why is Verdier VPLP & Gsea showing up in the press about it? 

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2 minutes ago, Miffy said:

All the press was on Juan K when the foil modification on PRB was rolled out w Arkea P - why is Verdier VPLP & Gsea showing up in the press about it? 

Juan K has nothing to do with PRB.  PRB was designed by Guillaume Verdier and VPLP.  Gsea is a engineering company in France that specialises in structural engineering.

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1 hour ago, jack_sparrow said:

You do make shit up Randumb. 

4 seconds was "foldaboat".

Why would anyone say that was sinking time when he wasn't even suited and from the raft he was still looking at the bow pointing skyward.

  

And it could still be floating, pointing skyward for all we know.

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6 hours ago, hump101 said:

The foil AoA inversion occurs when the boat bow hits a wave in front, that tries to rapidly lift the bow. The rapid pitch rotation causes a vertical velocity component at the foil that inverts the foil AoA, causing the foil to create a downwards force and try to counter the bow lifting. Result is longitudinal bending and torsion of the hull girder.

This effect is exaggerated because the stern is in the water, and thus is able to resist the pitching rotation. The stern is then the pivot point, not the foil, hence the vertical velocity component at the foil. Would not occur in the same way for a fully foiling boat, as stern could sink more easily.

Agreed, then you get some pyramiding-plunging wave behind a big hole like some us have seen and predictions & safety factors go out the window. 

The learning curve is steep. maybe keep the radical foils near shore for a short time before loosing them on the Southern Ocean again?

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5 minutes ago, Coconuts.is said:

Juan K has nothing to do with PRB.  PRB was designed by Guillaume Verdier and VPLP.  Gsea is a engineering company in France that specialises in structural engineering.

PRB when it was launched was Verdier-VPLP; but they had no involvement in her redesign as a foiler. I remember the 2018-2019 build up when she was in CDK and came out as Arkea P as a training-dev boat while Arkea P was still in construction. All the press was Juan K at that point. They said he did the work for the foil casing/bearing integration. 

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7 minutes ago, Miffy said:

PRB when it was launched was Verdier-VPLP; but they had no involvement in her redesign as a foiler. I remember the 2018-2019 build up when she was in CDK and came out as Arkea P as a training-dev boat while Arkea P was still in construction. All the press was Juan K at that point. They said he did the work for the foil casing/bearing integration. 

A few people are involved according to the interview. 

Why the obsession over Juan K? Did he fuck your girlfriend?

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14 minutes ago, Coconuts.is said:

Juan K has nothing to do with PRB.  PRB was designed by Guillaume Verdier and VPLP.  Gsea is a engineering company in France that specialises in structural engineering.

"The fifth PRB, she is the sistership to the first VPLP-Verdier designs. Built from the same mould as Safran, this IMOCA was even lighter on her launch in October 2009 and finished 5th in the Route du Rhum 2010.

Skipper Vincent Riou went on to win the Fastnet Race 2011 aboard her and then had to retire from the Transat Jacques Vabre (with Hugues Destremau) following cracking in a watertight bulkhead. Her performance in the Vendée Globe was not dazzling either since the monohull hit a metal buoy offshore of Brazil whilst the solo sailor was in the top trio! 2013 would see victory go to PRB (with Jean Le Cam) during the Transat Jacques Vabre, a success story repeated two years down the line (with Sébastien Col). In the meantime, the boat underwent a makeover, however the Route du Rhum course did not suit her and she had to pull into Port-la-Forêt. 2nd in The Transat 2016, Vincent Riou secured 5th place in the New York-Vendée, but had to retire from the Vendée Globe after colliding with a UFO in the South Atlantic. The monohull got a boost in 2018 with foils designed by Juan Kouyoumdjian taking her to 4th place in the Route du Rhum, prior to a passage in the colours of Arkéa-Paprec in 2019 to win the Bermudes 1000 Race with Seb Simon as skipper. The latter passed on the batten to Kevin Escoffier who finished 2nd in the Transat Jacques Vabre with Nicolas Lunven."

From Vendee Globe.

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There will be questions about the structure. As designed, build and then modified over time.
The bad part is that information about what happened is basically limited to what Kevin saw. The good part is that there is no reason to hold back with construction data. All skippers and the class are very interested in finding out what went wrong.

The other area for me is the packing list for the rafts. If there is once again the risk that a boat will fail that fast relying on grab bags does not seem sufficient. (IIRC the VOR had a lot more stuff packed. Can't be bothered to find the list right now.)
A call or text message from Kevin with what he thought at the time "I'm ok and in my raft. Lets try again tomorrow with more light and better weather." would have removed a lot of stress all around. Esp. when he can send a message with his GPS coordinates. Say a Garmin inReach or something similar.
How about both an AIS PLB and personal EPIRB fixed to the survival suit? Certainly one of the places where they make sense.

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4 hours ago, shanghaisailor said:

You are right with the sort of equipment the Vendee boats appear to carry but the technology is available - just look at the coverage from the Volvo boats. Remember the Vestas grounding for example. It doesn't have to be edited on board but could be sent off to a centralised video suite to be polished up.

By the way I love your screen name. I used to keep one of my boats at Ardfern and have been in the Gulf a couple of times - always at slack water i hasten to add but many many years ago i witnessed the whirlpool in all its glory. I was on a Venture Scout weekend on Scarba and watched it from the raised beaches above. It was real scary stuff even though i was on dry land.

Ha - now I've gone and wasted an hour goofing off watching old VOR videos!:rolleyes:

You're right that the VOR footage was awesome, and the tech  to make yacht racing a spectator sport has increased dramatically.  I remember an old America's cup that was just helicopter footage of two sailboats going in a straight line.  So when the 2000(or thereabouts) AC put cameras on the boats, it was much more engaging.

But (and forgive me if this might seem like I'm moving the goalposts), even the best sailing footage is hard for a general audience to understand just by watching it.  It's not that people couldn't understand sailing - Cricket and the NFL draw huge audiences, and they're nigh-incomprehensible.  It's probably just a matter of critical mass - cricket and NFL fans learned it at the knee of Dads who were fans.  Sailing is way behind that curve, outside of places like France.  Even with the new video tech, it's likely going to be a long slow process to engage more non-sailing spectators.

Like Rafael said upthread, everyone has a car, and can understand an F1 crashing into a wall and exploding into flame.  I rewatched the Vestas grounding and I suspect that most non-sailors would just see a bunch of guys stumbling around in the dark and swearing.  The boat accident that did make the news this week was Florida Man here.  Not a story of great seamanship, but the picture is dramatic.

image.png.e0034e633fab1a9e159526fe8a8df778.png

PS.  I haven't been to the W coast of Scotland (yet).  I chose the name after a very nice single malt that I can only afford to drink on special occasions.

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6 hours ago, hump101 said:

The foil AoA inversion occurs when the boat bow hits a wave in front, that tries to rapidly lift the bow. The rapid pitch rotation causes a vertical velocity component at the foil that inverts the foil AoA, causing the foil to create a downwards force and try to counter the bow lifting. Result is longitudinal bending and torsion of the hull girder.

This effect is exaggerated because the stern is in the water, and thus is able to resist the pitching rotation. The stern is then the pivot point, not the foil, hence the vertical velocity component at the foil. Would not occur in the same way for a fully foiling boat, as stern could sink more easily.

Interesting...It's not hard to imagine that circumstance generating huge loads. Maybe the foils need to be sacrificial.

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I see that Yes We Cam! is continuing east, so I take it that Kevin will be dropped off at the Kerguelen Islands? That in itself will be an 'interesting' operation.

Will Kevin now just be a passenger and not allowed to assist Jean?

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9 minutes ago, Dog said:

Interesting...It's not hard to imagine that circumstance generating huge loads. Maybe the foils need to be sacrificial.

Thanks for quoting that insight. I missed it earlier. I guess it is somewhat like flying an airplane with the nose down, but then in water that pushes the bow/nose up... 

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This Kevin fellah is one hell of a sailor. 

He mentioned he only had a grab bag on his back and a distress case when he was swept overboard with the raft. 

He activates raft and climbs in. Makes it sound so simple.  

I have a 7 day grab bag, it's a backpack, and it weighs about 25kg.

If it's anything like mine, having that on your back and holding a distress case, activating a liferaft and then climbing in??

The guy is a machine. 

I'd challenge you to do that in a pool , let alone in 30+ knots and 5 mtr swells.   

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2 minutes ago, Rainbow Spirit said:

I see that Yes We Cam! is continuing east, so I take it that Kevin will be dropped off at the Kerguelen Islands? That in itself will be an 'interesting' operation.

Will Kevin now just be a passenger and not allowed to assist Jean?

Yes, this has been announced already. He will be transferred to a ship in the vicinity of Kerguelen around the 7th.

He is not allowed to assist indeed.

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Firstly, some great seamanship, coordination, and everyone is not just alive but uninjured. That says a lot about the sailors and the gear used.

The analysis of the incident will be very interesting. Much has already been said about the hydodynamic loads on the hull, but that is only part of the story. What about the rigging loads?

With the bow under water, the inverted AoA of the foil, and the downward pressure on the mast step from the rig load, and the backstay torsional load trying to lift and twist the stern. Remember running backstays are not anchoured on the centreline.

There are so many inputs to analyse, a far more complex interaction than a motor car hitting a wall.

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15 minutes ago, shaggybaxter said:

This Kevin fellah is one hell of a sailor. 

He mentioned he only had a grab bag on his back and a distress case when he was swept overboard with the raft. 

He activates raft and climbs in. Makes it sound so simple.  

I have a 7 day grab bag, it's a backpack, and it weighs about 25kg.

If it's anything like mine, having that on your back and holding a distress case, activating a liferaft and then climbing in??

The guy is a machine. 

I'd challenge you to do that in a pool , let alone in 30+ knots and 5 mtr swells.   

Kevin did mention his fitness was paramount to making it into the liferaft and Jean's boat later.

I did the life raft climbing in a flat pool with no wind for the survival training, it was horrible and I knew then ì would simply die in adverse conditions.

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this incident was a killer.

good to see Escoffier safe, he seems like a good dude.

 

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10 hours ago, dmjburrows said:

How much food does Jean le Cam have on board?  If Kevin is lifted or transferred off, but stays on for a few days, will Jean end up hungry on the way North?

Nah. He will put Kevin on the sail stack as ballast so he can fly bigger sails. By the time he drops off Kevin on the Kerguelen Islands he will be leading the fleet. Once back in the North Atlantic he will realize that bringing food for 80 days (and vine for 90) was all wrong as he will win the race in 60 days.

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4 hours ago, Panoramix said:

Radical greens is just a smear word by people who don't want to be held accountable for the damage they make to our environment.

No, you can perfectly be aware and accountable for the damage humanity as a society is doing for the environment, and still be perfectly aware of the scores of radical ignorant fanatics riding the wave of environmentalism without a clue of what they are doing, other than gathering taxpayer's money that will go to some rich ex politicians and  their satellite acolytes.

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So Kevin, what happened? "The bow fell off" .

 

Come on Kevin, that one's getting old :lol:

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1 hour ago, shaggybaxter said:

This Kevin fellah is one hell of a sailor. 

He mentioned he only had a grab bag on his back and a distress case when he was swept overboard with the raft. 

He activates raft and climbs in. Makes it sound so simple.  

I have a 7 day grab bag, it's a backpack, and it weighs about 25kg.

If it's anything like mine, having that on your back and holding a distress case, activating a liferaft and then climbing in??

The guy is a machine. 

I'd challenge you to do that in a pool , let alone in 30+ knots and 5 mtr swells.   

There was in one of the previous (dozen) pages a post with a video of Kevin shirtless (fimed in the Doldrums I believe???) .

The poster even commented that the video was "for the ladies"...

Let's just say that the guy is fit... Built like a bodybuilder (almost)!

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4 hours ago, Laurent said:

YES.

From the different interviews in French, including the one during the daily newscast, I got the following:

He could not take the liferaft inside the boat, already under water.

I wanted to take the liferaft which is secured in the aft/cockpit part of the boat. He also stated that from his past experience with Groupama (or is it Banque Populaire???) he knows that the boat EPIRB, located inside the boat, does not always emit reliably because of all the carbon surounding it; so he was trying to attach it to the outside of the boat (I believe on a stanchion).

I do not know all the technicalities on safety beacon devices, so please forgive me if my words are not 100% accurate, but he also clearly stated that he has his "personal EPIRB" ALWAYS on him; it is in his foulies trousers pocket all the time. So when he had done his survival suit, on top of his foulies, he had that personnal EPIRB with him (I believe this is the one associated with the AIS signal? so shorter range).

He also stated that for safety reason, he does not keep the survival suit packed away; it is always accessible, I assume somewhere near the companionway...

HE DID NOT CHOSE TO JUMP INTO THE LIFE RAFT.

While he was retrieving the aft cockpit liferaft and the boat EPIRB and trying to secure everything on deck, a wave swept him away, with the life raft... So no choice, he inflated the liferaft and climbed into it. He then activated the boat EPIRB (or is it activated automatically if submerged for too long?) and his personal EPIRB.

He also explained that he wanted originally to stay with the boat (before he got thrown overboard)... but he was not sure which part of the boat would sink last, between the front and the rear. He knows that there are compartment and floatability integrated in the design, but the aft part of the boat has the keel attached to it; will it float if the front half is gone??? This dilemna got answered when he ended up in the water anyway...

Thanks for that summary.

Btw the personal EPIRB is called a Personal Locator Beacon or PLB. The difference is that an EPIRB has transmitter that can reach satellites and can thus relay a mayday worldwide to a station that will alert boats in the vicinity. A PLB is an small AIS device and has a limited coverage, as the PLB / AIS is at sea level, and has smaller power. And with a rough seastate the signal can be extra hindered. Normally AIS antennes are on top of the mast which provides, depending on mast height, weather/seastate and inclination of the boat, for a class B AIS a coverage of roughly 10-15 nm. A PLB in a rough sea at sea level would be a couple of miles if you are very lucky imho. 

So Kevin was in possession of the EPIRB which he activated after sending a whatsapp. These alerted authorities, his team and the RC. To find him locally after drifting away the PLB helped. And when that failed, the stroboscope light of the raft got JLC’s attention. In short, you need all these working if things turn sour. Kevin can indeed count his blessings. 

 

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Kevin: "If it was me I'd gybe now,  it's building around that low see?."

Jean: "Grrrrrr ..."

Kevin: "But then what would I know, not as if I haven't been out in front hey?  I'm and bit tired, going for nap."

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9 minutes ago, Herman said:

Thanks for that summary.

Btw the personal EPIRB is called a Personal Locator Beacon or PLB. The difference is that an EPIRB has transmitter that can reach satellites and can thus relay a mayday worldwide to a station that will alert boats in the vicinity. A PLB is an small AIS device and has a limited coverage, as the PLB / AIS is at sea level, and has smaller power. And with a rough seastate the signal can be extra hindered. Normally AIS antennes are on top of the mast which provides, depending on mast height, weather/seastate and inclination of the boat, for a class B AIS a coverage of roughly 10-15 nm. A PLB in a rough sea at sea level would be a couple of miles if you are very lucky imho. 

So Kevin was in possession of the EPIRB which he activated after sending a whatsapp. These alerted authorities, his team and the RC. To find him locally after drifting away the PLB helped. And when that failed, the stroboscope light of the raft got JLC’s attention. In short, you need all these working if things turn sour. Kevin can indeed count his blessings. 

 

Thanks for the explanation Herman!

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9 minutes ago, Herman said:

Thanks for that summary.

Btw the personal EPIRB is called a Personal Locator Beacon or PLB. The difference is that an EPIRB has transmitter that can reach satellites and can thus relay a mayday worldwide to a station that will alert boats in the vicinity. A PLB is an small AIS device and has a limited coverage, as the PLB / AIS is at sea level, and has smaller power. And with a rough seastate the signal can be extra hindered. Normally AIS antennes are on top of the mast which provides, depending on mast height, weather/seastate and inclination of the boat, for a class B AIS a coverage of roughly 10-15 nm. A PLB in a rough sea at sea level would be a couple of miles if you are very lucky imho. 

So Kevin was in possession of the EPIRB which he activated after sending a whatsapp. These alerted authorities, his team and the RC. To find him locally after drifting away the PLB helped. And when that failed, the stroboscope light of the raft got JLC’s attention. In short, you need all these working if things turn sour. Kevin can indeed count his blessings. 

 

Indeed!

From the account of JLC it seems that he found Kevin because of the light on the raft.  It doesn't seem he ever picked up the AIS signal of the PLB (unless I missed it). Think about that: the chances of missing the light in those waves are significant! Race HQ did receive his location, but that location will always be delayed before it gets back to the search team.

 

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7 hours ago, b3nharris said:

The sort of longitudinal bending which could lead to the sort of damage in the photo below? Big jump to make and veering on wild speculation here, but if two boats failed in a similar mode - albeit with quite different outcomes -  is that the start of a pattern?

Alex Thomson video of damaged frame and required repairs – Sailweb

I was thinking about this last night, is this one of those times when we belatedly realise we've introduced a new force into the equations?

Kevin is obviously no fool, and his comment about 'inversion' from the foils is quite interesting.

If I was on a foiler, I'd be somewhat obsessive about not slacking off on your hull inspection routine after this. We didn't see Imocas folding in half in the last race, what did we change? 

I am hoping the longer wave period in the SO would lessen this risk...but it's the southern ocean. Not a nice place to be testing hull integrity      

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3 hours ago, TheDragon said:
4 hours ago, jack_sparrow said:

Yes normal EPIRB performance you would expect in those circumstances. 

Get distress signal out first and don't just rely on EPIRB.

He had a AIS PLB.

In SO a EPIRB PLB usefull for redundancy in raft and body recovery not much else.

Jack, I sure hope you are wrong about that PLB. I have an EPRIB attached to my boat outside on a hydrostatic release so it signals if the boat sinks, and one at the the companionway to take with me into the liferaft, but I also have a PLB in my lifejacket pocket that is always with me sailing or kitesurfing, and trust that the PLB will also be useful, not just for recovering my body!

Mate I restricted EPIRB PLB as "not just for recovering my body!" to the Southern Ocean. Even in far more forgiving water temperatures it takes fuck all time for hypothermia to bite.

You sound like me having a EPIRB still available in a "foldaboat" NO TIME type incident fetishism. Mine are not a loaded structure but whales and containers trying to fuck me. 

Yours a good solution. Mine is aft mounted raft (easy access in a lost keel rollover) on a hydrostatic release with the second EPIRB packed inside raft and registered to vessels raft to give them an idea what I'm on if #1 Action a distress signal is a fail. The EPIRB PLB then a backup for raft. 

The day they can get an approved EPIRB & AIS PLB in one small unit will be a great day. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Laurent said:

Thanks for the explanation Herman!

I think that there may be some transaltion / naming issues.

My understanding:

  • EPIRB: Talks to COSPAS satelites on 406 MHz, may also have some low power 121.5 MHz comms for aircraft to find beacon
  • PLB: Talks to COSPAS satelites on 406 MHz, may also have some low power 121.5 MHz comms for aircraft to find beacon, generally in a 'attach to body' form-factor
  • AIS personal beacon: Designed to communicate with AIS systems over VHF frequencies, no satellite comms

There are units that combine the PLB and AIS - https://www.plastimo.com/en/balise-individuelle-ais-srs-safelink-r10.html

I assume all of the skippers would have something similar.

 

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