Using a design for a different purpose
Frank Cammas has finally won the Route du Rhum transatlantic race. People will say that he had the biggest boat. Indeed, his Groupama 3 trimaran was so large that it could not get into the lock that closes the harbour of Saint Malo where all competitors gathered 10 days ago at the start of the race.
However, size was not a guarantee, far from it. Actually, taking such a boat on a solo race represented a significant risk. The trimaran was designed for round-the-globe races with a 10-strong crew. Indeed, it is – in 48 days – the current holder of the Jules Verne Trophy, a prize for the fastest cirumnavigation of the world by any type of yacht with no restrictions on the size of the boat or the crew. Choosing to sail this boat single-handed (see how small the skipper is on the picture!) across the Atlantic on a race that typically lasts less than 2 weeks was definitely pushing the boundaries. It is a good example of using a tool for a different purpose than the one it was originally designed for, a classic of innovation success.
As Mark Twain (perhaps) would have it: “they did not know it was impossible, so they did it“.