THE IMOCA thread, single/double handed & TOR

minca3

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gybe plan:

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Will Harris, Co-Skipper Malizia:
Malizia – Seaexplorer
Will, just under six weeks have passed since the boat was christened in Hamburg. What has happened since then?

It may not look like it from the outside, but a lot has changed. There are more and more details that we learn and change with every test sail. Especially in more wind we still have to learn. One of the problems was the rudders. They were vibrating a lot, and the system for hooking them triggered sometimes for no reason during sailing, so we did some sunshots in more wind. The rudders, after all, are designed so that they can and should be raised, such as when they touch something floating in the water. It's a safety device of sorts. A hook latches onto a carbon fiber edge, and a metal piece that slowly gives way is then the safety catch. Of course, if you're sailing really fast, this has to be able to withstand large forces, but it also has to release when sudden loads are applied. This did not work flawlessly, and the laminate near the fuse cracked. There's about 1.5 tons of pressure on it, it's a fine balance, but we've found it now.

Has the boat now proved itself in more wind?

Yes, we had really good wind on the delivery from Lorient to St. Malo, and sailed at well over 30 knots of boat speed for a long time. Top speed was 34 knots, which was of course very nice.

Have you been able to assess whether the plan for the development of the boat, to be able to sail at higher average speeds in stronger winds, is working? That's what the towering bow with the many keel jumps was planned for.

We are very strong in such conditions, that is clear. The boat loves waves and lots of wind. What we have to learn are the foils. As a regatta sailor, you always want to be as fast as possible, so it makes sense to always sail with 100 percent foil. But the foils are also oversized so that they work well in light winds. But gradually we learn that the boat prefers to sail with less foil in wind than we expected. You have to catch the mode where the boat is practically just barely going over the swell, rather than coming way out and then dropping way back down. That's how we get much higher average speeds. With the old boat, you were always stuck with the bow in the crests of the waves in those conditions, which was slow. Because the new boat has virtually no resistance due to its bow shape, it skims over the waves. That's really good.

What we still have to learn now is how to trim the boat weight-wise. Because of the round hull shape, the boat is much more sensitive to trim changes than the old "Malizia - Seaexplorer" or other Imocas, which have a much flatter, wider underwater hull. When we stow the weight far aft in higher seas, ie sails and gear. Plus tanks, the bow comes up very far. And just the opposite, we can trim the boat in the wind with the weight far forward of the foils very stable, then it lies very well. Above 20 knots the boat is really impressive. In the medium speeds we still have to find the fastest way a bit. In very light winds, on the other hand, we are really impressed with how well the boat goes. That's also where the round shape seems to work surprisingly well. We actually thought that would be a bit of a weakness, but that's not the case at all. After the VPPs, we should have been slower there.

As co-skipper, do you actually keep a close eye on weather developments for the Route du Rhum a week before the start?

Not really. You can look at the trend and the jet stream. Those give you a pretty good idea if there's a low approaching Europe with upwind conditions that will bring a lot of wind for the start. This week it looks like we have some lows coming in for launch. The unusual warmth here right now is nice, but also means there can be some pretty powerful storms.

When you built the boat, you equipped it with hundreds of sensors, partly to make the boat faster and safer, partly because the autopilot can learn more from it. Is that already paying off?

We've already learned a lot about the mast. We had alarms go off quite often because we had already pushed the mast to its limit. That's important for us, of course.

In which conditions is it particularly dangerous for the rig?
High-speed reaching is often borderline, especially between 15 and 20 knots of boat speed. Then we often have a big sail up and just start to really foil. When it's windier, we have less sail area up, then it gets better. We are analyzing the data right now and will probably have the results in time for Boris' start on Sunday to still draw conclusions from it. In any case, the Route du Rhum will give us further insights that will then be incorporated into the Global Race. That's important.

Are there other things where you have a steep learning curve?

Plenty. Because the foils go so deep into the water, the boat sometimes sails full on them with the windward leaning, but is traveling at 34 knots. That's pretty confusing for the autopilot. It then sometimes reacts incorrectly, wanting to luff in order to sail more upright. But that is counterproductive at the moment. Now the autopilot has to learn that it must react not only to attitude, but also to its relationship to speed. All quite complex.

How important is the Route du Rhum for you as a team for the Ocean Race?

Oh, we can draw very important conclusions later on from the analysis of the data at the finish, because we have never sailed the boat single-handed for 14 days in one piece. From that we can draw so many conclusions about in which conditions the boat needs to be sailed and how fast. It will be a steep learning curve, I think.

Have your test runs already made it clear what the optimum distribution of tasks on board will be?

My area remains the electronic side, that everything works, the autopilot works well. Nico Lunven is mainly involved in weather analysis and routing. We are all learning a lot from his expertise there right now. And Rosie is a super sailor, she will do a lot of the tasks on the forecastle. She also takes care of spare parts and making sure the systems on board are working well. As skipper, Boris is of course always in charge of everything, but he is also super experienced in all areas.

What happens after the Route du Rhum?

The boat is then sailed directly to Alicante and comes out of the water, we take down the mast, keel, rudder everything and check everything: the wiring in the mast, the keel bearings, the running rigging for overloads. We made quite a long list over the summer. If you overlook one little thing, it can end your race later. But with a boat like this, you're never done anyway, it's always "work in progress."

How does it look for you here in St.-Malo, here almost all Imocas are lying next to each other at the pier, do you also learn something from them?

That is super interesting! You're constantly walking past the stern of every boat here, you can look into the cockpit, so you'll have quite a long neck! (laughs) There are just so many details to see. Five years ago, when I wasn't so deep into the Imoca scene, I wouldn't have seen so much, but now that we've been running a boat for years and have built one completely, that's something else. There is no one way to build a boat like this, each one is different, but to compare the details with ours is very, very exciting. But "Malizia - Seaexplorer" looks completely different from the rest of the fleet. That has advantages and also disadvantages. We will see how it pays off later or not. But after the Route du Rhum, we definitely know where we currently stand!
 

nroose

Super Anarchist
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Asked Pip if she has Polar #s from Medallias previous owners. No response.

Would that data typically transfer over with the boat in a sale?
Seems like they did some changes to the boat. And seems like her team is pretty proficient at performance stuff. I am guessing she can find her polars and crossovers such that they would suit her.
 

blunderfull

Super Anarchist
Seems like they did some changes to the boat. And seems like her team is pretty proficient at performance stuff. I am guessing she can find her polars and crossovers such that they would suit her.
She going to bigger foils. New designs?

Would be nice to find someone here with Imoca experience. Intel for the fans is pretty basic.
 

wildbirdtoo

Member
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UK
she's
She going to bigger foils. New designs?

Would be nice to find someone here with Imoca experience. Intel for the fans is pretty basic.
She's having new foils installed over the winter- currently being built by Carringtons in the Uk to the same (or similar) design to those installed on Kevin Escoffier's Holcim(PRB). She mentions it briefly in the Route de Rhum IMOCA dockwalk released today
 

JeronimoII

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Europe
she's

She's having new foils installed over the winter- currently being built by Carringtons in the Uk to the same (or similar) design to those installed on Kevin Escoffier's Holcim(PRB). She mentions it briefly in the Route de Rhum IMOCA dockwalk released today

Love the comment about Boris’ boat. “The ugliest imoca by far”. Indeed! It looks like a bus. Let’s see how fast the bus goes
 

r.finn

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Impressive footage :


These rudders seem to work ! (for stabilizing the flight, especially at the beginning)

Huge question: Was there a helmsman steering or was that an autopilot? There are usually people on board for those helicopter shoots, but it would be extremely impressive if that steering was by autopilot.
 

munt

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Impressive in one way, as in how incredibly quickly it seems to be steering. But in another way it makes me wonder how a human body adapts to those violent disturbances in direction. All the muscles that maintain balance as well as the inner ear and nervous system must be really put through a meat grinder. I feel it has to be worse when it's the computer doing the turning. Kinda like being a passenger in a plane doing aerobatics. Hard for the body to anticipate and sync with the motion. Also interesting to see how deeply the nose buries and how that puts a sudden halt to the festivities. What a frightful and beautiful machine!
 

Sailbydate

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Impressive footage :


These rudders seem to work ! (for stabilizing the flight, especially at the beginning)

Impressive performance. Agree that those inverted V rudders are definitely providing lift and promoting stable flight.
See pic 1

But when she buries her bow deep into the back of a swell, I don't think that extra stern elevation is particularly helpful. Even that aggressively snubbed bow struggles to rise.
See Pic2.

Screen Shot 2022-11-04 at 4.54.05 PM.png
 

yl75

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Impressive in one way, as in how incredibly quickly it seems to be steering. But in another way it makes me wonder how a human body adapts to those violent disturbances in direction. All the muscles that maintain balance as well as the inner ear and nervous system must be really put through a meat grinder. I feel it has to be worse when it's the computer doing the turning. Kinda like being a passenger in a plane doing aerobatics. Hard for the body to anticipate and sync with the motion. Also interesting to see how deeply the nose buries and how that puts a sudden halt to the festivities. What a frightful and beautiful machine!

Yes clearly these IMOCAs are the most violent boats (for sure Ultims, class fifty, and class 40 are more confortable). In fact I remember Jeremie complaining about that during the previous to last VG (saying he was tired to leave like a "wild boar"), the subject is also adressed in below article :

And if they allow elevators on rudders, I guess it will be less violent "on average", but the stops will be even more brutal (helmets and impact vests will probably be used ...)
 
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