November 25 2020
While he is in second position in the race, the French skipper suffered a major damage to his portside foil last night, which will deprive him, for the rest of his round the world race, of this important appendage on the left side of the boat.
It was about 3 o'clock in the morning last night when Thomas Ruyant, while resting inside his LinkedOut, was alerted by a loud noise outside the boat. LinkedOUT was at about 120° to the wind and was travelling at 20 knots.
Without feeling the slightest shock, Thomas immediately stopped the boat and went downwind to inspect the damage and noticed, with his headlamp, significant cracks in the shaft of his port foil. A foil consists of two parts, a "shaft" and a "tip". It is the tip that allows the boat to rise out of the water thanks to the force of lift.
Thomas Ruyant then tucked the foil in as far as possible so that it would not drag in the water. At dawn, he was able to inspect the foil from top to bottom, in conjunction with his team and the architects ashore.
The good news is that there are no waterways.
But the foil is really cracked in many places. The structure of the foil itself is affected. Thomas Ruyant is now waiting for the architects' analysis as to whether I should cut it or not.
The disappointment is one can imagine immense for the skipper, who does not give up.
Second in the rankings, he naturally continues the race, handicapped, with only one wing, but he surely takes comfort in thinking that he still has his starboard foil, which is perhaps statistically the most important for a round-the-world race.
It's a long way in the Vendée Globe...