First, congratulations to Tupperware and her partner for their excellent performance this grueling event! As I recall, about 40% of the boats failed to finish due to broken masts, rudders and capsizes. This is a real testament to the excellent seamanship of these two sailors as well as their AI's.
Sailing in short, steep following seas is grueling on rudders. High speeds at times along with huge hydrodynamic forces and almost constant broach control is hard on crew and equipment and demands skill and attentiveness.
Pin failures vs. broken rudders? Broken pin and you're still in the race; broken rudder and you're done. Reconlon, who has had multiple experiences with both, seems to think the current pins are doing their job. In the Texas 200, Tupperware was obviously well prepared with spare pins, the know how to replace them as necessary, and the wisdom to resist the potential of breaking her rudder by bypassing this safety link. I'd be interested in hearing her own opinion on whether her pin failure rate was good or bad considering the conditions and other boat failures -- she was the one at the tiller.
"Surely good evidence of a manufacturing problem" as Pirate says, or engineering brilliance? Having personally never experienced or seen a rudder pin failure since first sailing the AI in 2006, I'm not personally qualified to see this as a problem. That doesn't mean I haven't practiced steering with the paddle!
I'm looking forward to reading Tuperware's account and evaluation of the race!