Friday, December 28, 2007

Barcelona World Race: Acrobatic rudder repairs for race leaders after hitting UFO

[Source: Barcelona World Race] With Hugo Boss chomping at the bit for its 48 hour pit-stop to expire so that it can rejoin the Barcelona World Race, the race leaders aboard Paprec-Virbac 2 had their own rudder issues to deal with. They hit an ‘unidentified floating object’ at high speed yesterday and damaged the starboard rudder.

“Damian covered the damaged area of the rudder with carbon material and coating. The idea behind it was to form a protective layer to ensure that the carbon wasn’t in contact with the sea in its raw state,” explained skipper Jean-Pierre Dick. “At high speed, there was a risk of the rudder delaminating (the layers of carbon separating from each other). The hardest thing was gaining access to the lower section of the rudder. Damian was extended outside the boat with a harness. It was pretty acrobatic!”

The incident shows how tenuous a grip the leaders have on their position at the front of the fleet. Although they’ve been able to take advantage of the stop by Hugo Boss to extend their lead, they know they’re only one incident away from needing to stop themselves.

Damian Foxall repairing the starboard rudder aboard Paprec-Virbac. South Pacific Ocean, 27 December 2007. Photo copyright Paprec-Virbac

Meanwhile, back in Wellington, the repairs on board Hugo Boss have been going well and team operations director Harry McGougan says the boat will be ready to go the minute the time penalty expires at 03:00 GMT.

“The main problem was (the rudder) cassettes had started to split so they're being worked on now and are due back (soon). We've taken the opportunity to crack through other jobs on the boat - the generator is up and running and other bits and pieces. We are just waiting for the rudder cassettes to return and pop them on the boat and then they're on their way. It seems that we'll be ok and on the dot for the 48-hour stop over. In fact at 47 hours we'll all be stood on the dock and waiting to push them off!”

Temenos II is the next boat due in to Wellington where the team will attack the keel problem that has been a concern for skippers Dominique Wavre and Michèle Paret for over a week now. They’re due to arrive early in the new year and sailing in 30+ knots today does nothing to ease their nerves, with Dominique saying the pressure was intense and with the boat roaring across the waves, they’re checking on the keel ‘regularly’.

Mutua Madrileña is just over one day further back and all things being equal will climb into third place when Temenos II stops. Reached today, skipper Javier Sansó says that for the moment, all is well aboard Mutua Madrileña and they certainly don’t anticipate stopping. And Educación sin Fronteras is ploughing through the Southern Ocean with Cook Strait still over a week away.

Damian Foxall repairing the starboard rudder aboard Paprec-Virbac. South Pacific Ocean, 27 December 2007. Photo copyright Paprec-Virbac

Day 48 – December 28, 14:00 GMT - Position report with distance to leader

1. PAPREC-VIRBAC 2 - Jean Pierre DICK / Damian FOXALL - 0
2. HUGO BOSS - Alex THOMSON / Andrew CAPE - 648
3. TEMENOS 2 - Dominique Wavre / Michele PARET- 1560
4. MUTUA MADRILENA - Javier SANSO / Pachi RIVERO - 1965

Abandoned - DELTA DORE - Jérémie BEYOU / Sidney GAVIGNET
Abandoned - PRB - Vincent Riou / Sebastien JOSSE

In Quotes – Albert Bargués, Educación sin Fronteras: “The most interesting thing you feel when you see these waves is that you think you are very small. You are never sure if the wave is coming over the boat or's like a wall, but the boat always just goes up over it…Sometimes you see the waves breaking close to you and with the light, like last night we had the moon, and it was very, very nice. We took in a reef and then we both stayed out on deck a while to see the waves and the moon and the light on the waves.”



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