Is the old-fashioned idea of genoa skirting wheels running amok in the Vendée fleet?

You sometimes wonder how many of the gizmos on racing yachts are basically about fashion. I think this story throws some light on that.

Yesterday evening as teams working on the Vendée Globe boats knocked off for the evening a group of people formed close to Loick Peyron’s Gitana Eighty. Observing the skirting wheels fitted to the guardrails, an old-fashioned idea revived by the wily maestro, Dee Caffari asked:

“What’s with the cruising wheels? Do you have those?”

“I haven’t,” said Brian Thompson, “but I’m thinking of fitting them.”

“I’ve got skirting wheels,” offered Jonny Malbon.


“Because they stop the genoa delaminating.”

“What about you?” Caffari asked Mike Golding. “Have you got skirting wheels?”

“Yes,” replied Golding.

“Why have you got them?”

“I put them on because everyone else has them.”