On aside note: the boats in the Volvo Ocean Race also had an emergency kite with them in case of major rig issues:
Gone are the days of brightly coloured storm sails in ocean racing, in this years Volvo Ocean Race, yachts will be using kiteboarding gear to get home!
James Dadd, Project Manager for the Volvo Ocean Race recently discussed the merits of using kiteboarding kites (albeit slightly modified ones) as rescue devices for stricken Volvo Ocean 65’s.
“In practical terms the standard trysail is never used by these types of boat unless as part of a jury rig arrangement. Add to this the difficulties of fully dropping a square-headed mainsail, and the reality of the teams ever using a trysail are so small that we decided to have a rethink. Also, the Volvo Ocean 65s have deck-stepped rigs. So if a rig drops then the most likely scenario is that there will not be a stump left to fly the trysail from in the first place.”
As you most likely know, Kiteboarding equipment has no requirement for a mast, and can be mounted quickly to any hard point on the boat. Simple control systems allow one crew member to control the kite, and another to steer, so the rest of the crew can be making repairs, resting or working out where on earth they’re going to sail to! Another benefit of using a kite, is their unique ability to power a yacht without the need for a keel to hold it upright. Should one of these yachts lose their canting keel system, as long as they are upright, these kites will get them home.
North sails make the one-design sails for all Ocean 65’s in the race, but interesting, it’s not their sister company, North Kiteboarding which are making the Rescue Kites! ASV Performance, a start-up focused entirely on racing, has developed the GHQ (Get Home Quicker) Rescue Kite. All seven teams will have a GHQ on board. Inflated with air, they pack up to the size of a large backpack when not in use, only weighing around 7-8kgs with the bar system.
While the units have been tested in controlled conditions, we’re yet to see one used for real. We hope it doesn’t happen in this years Volvo Ocean Race, but at least if it is required, the sailing world might be looking at a whole new approach to safety equipment, and the kiteboarding schools will be getting a few new customers!
Leg two of the race is currently underway, with competitors racing from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi.
https://www.seabreeze.com.au/News/Sail ... 01813.aspx