How waves crack and move a carbon hulll


Here’s one of many fascinating details on Hugo Boss: a food storage shelf on the starboard side amidships, which sits between two bulkheads fore and aft of the canting keel and keel rams.

You can see that the carbon/Nomex shelf has broken, and not exactly where it was bonded, either. It came off with a huge bang, says Alex Thomson, when they were off the coast of Argentina.

“We were in 40 knots of wind and we came off a wave at 27 knots,” he says. “It was the worst sound I’ve heard in my whole life.”

Alex says the huge creaks and groans and flexes continually and “there’s huge mental stress.” So much does the boat’s structure move that he can stand in a companionway hatch and the bottom lip will be moving visibly. The top of the middle ballast tank moves up and down by 50mm (perfectly OK say the structural engineers) and the coachroof cuddies had to be modified to allow them to flex without cracking where the inboard edges meet the deck.

Alex says when you’re lying down you can sometimes can feel waves snaking the hull under your back.