Funny, these Vendee news, with fishing boats "marring" the race, or Groupe Bel being "hit by a fishing boat". I wonder what the fishermen are saying about the "solo sailor bastards at it again". Fun to watch, but I feel no pity for the fallen. Sorry, it is a "half stupid" or daredevil sport, especially when the participants and viewers are aware of something fundamentally wrong, like sailing @ 18kts while sleeping. Remember Camper avoiding that whale? Guillermot was just woken up by a bang the other day! Exciting to follow, I'll admit, like watching wingsuit jumpers. There's always a chance for seeing one brush the cliff! Human nature. Although not cool if the sailor killed or hurt a mammal...or fisherman, right?Hey, maybe ok if they're Eco-Powered! Cruisers, don't try this at home! Do not sail solo if you will need to sleep!!
Yes, I agree that is unacceptable but also unheard of. I have followed many solo races without any collision and now two on one? That’s weird.
I bet the organization is going to make some safety alterations, maybe to have a mark to have them more offshore. Regarding solo sailing the big problem are areas with a big transit and those are very rare on their way. The worse one is offshore the Portuguese coast: Not only they pass close and that means that they cross a fishing area as Portugal is the western part of Europe so lots of cargos pass close.
Part of the problem is the speed: Sometimes I solo sail at night, take a 20/30m nap, look at the radar, another nap and I guess that is safe enough: I can spot a small fishing boat at 6K distance and that means an hour, plenty of time to avoid it. That is not the case at 18K. At that speed with a 30m nap you can hit a boat you never saw on the radar.
Of course you can set the alarm on the radar but on areas with plenty of boats the alarm is full time giving alarm, even if the boats are going in directions that do not mean a threat to you, so you tend to put the dam thing of to get a god nap.
I am not sure if Marc hit anything. The clank could just be the keel breaking of. They have talked about metal fatigue. Mammals are as vulnerable to sail boats has they are for any other kind of fast boats and that includes cargos that vastly outnumber sailing boats. Maybe they are not used yet to see a more silent boat coming so fast, but they sure can feel it. It will be a question of time before they start to avoid them, or at least I hope
"Jean-Marie de la Porte, project leader within the Safran group, explains, 'For the time being, we don’t know what caused the keel on Safran to break, as we were completely satisfied with it for 20,000 miles. We are not excluding any possibility, a design fault, a problem with the manufacture or an external cause (a shock)? We are currently setting up an investigative committee with experts from the Safran Group, who will be trying to identify the origin of the damage. In order to be completely open, the results will be published. As we have done with each technical problem we have encountered on the boat, the conclusions of this assessment will be sent to the IMOCA class and to other teams with the goal of improving the safety and reliability of the boats.' "