Hull delamination and structural failures in this race are nothing new. Off the top of my head (and I'm sure there have been other cases), in 1985 Drum had to divert to Namibia with serious hull delamination issues (having previously lost its keel in the Fastnet), and in 1993 half the W60 fleet (and, iirc one of the maxis) had major delamination problems. There has always been a requirement to throttle back, in some conditions, to avoid risk of hull damage.
No rigs have fallen in this leg. But, Ador and Puma both lost rigs in leg one and Sanya almost lost hers later. Telephonica even had standing rigging issues. So, by your logic they should not have gone back to a proven dependable set of standing rigging. They should have just replaced with what they had and figured they over pushed the capabitlity of the entire design.
The failures race only stopped teams from racing or slowed them down. They have not required rescue. Previous iterations have required rescue and far more IMOCA boats have had to have their skippers rescued than Volvo or Whitbread boats.
It's about competition and how hard the teams are willing to push. If you don't like the risks these guys are taking, you don't have to sign up for a VO70 program. But, these guys keep coming back and are more than happy to push to and occassionaly beyond the edge. They are willing to accept that if they do need rescue, it's more than likely going to come from one of their competitors.
You both miss the point:
First, I'd like to say I'm fine with the guys taking the the usual and customary risks of offshore racing. What I'm talking about is inflicting risks they didn't know they were taking when they stepped aboard.
They didn't knowingly take on a substantial risk of floating bulkheads, separating longitudinals and delaminating oil-canning panels. (Those are always risks, sure, ones that should rank right alongside the risk of being struck by a falling meteor. Well, almost alongside.) KR is quite right about the need to watch the hull for damage - now that the issue has come to light. It would be stupid not to. But did he or anyone else expect to lose hull integrity under conditions that leave the rig standing when they started? I think not. Did KR set a "ring frame-bulkhead-hull panel watch" from the start of leg 5? I think not. Did KR learn from the experience of others? Thanks, yes. G4 same, I'm sure.
And are we to accept Drum as the benchmark for good design/engineering/construction practice? That's plainly absurd. Bad boats have been with us before. They will again. My point is that they are here now.
It is a credit to the sailors that they haven't come to greater harm. I salute them. I wish them fair winds and following seas. I celebrate their achievements. I hold my breath for their well-being in the face of considerable additional risks they didn't expect to accept. Pushing the boat until you lose the rig is going to result in a miserable, wet, battered existence until rescued, but there's a reasonable likelihood that rescue will, in time, come. And they do have engines and at least some fuel. That's a level risk these sailors know and choose to accept. Stepping into a life raft because the hull has come apart shouldn't be in the cards (unless there's a collision). These guys aren't that far, at this point, from that life raft and all the hazards of that step at 45-55S in 2 degree water - or lower. Until their recent deterioration, we've heard that ADOR has been watching Camper (and maybe even shadowing them) in case things got to that point. Can't say yet that they are still able to rescue themselves, much less Camper.
One of the four cripples has made it to a port. That leave three still facing the risk of further deterioration. A cascade failure would not be fun for the crew.
This is messy business, boys and girls, and not what anyone had in mind back in NZ and certainly not back in Spain.