Groupama 3 to be repaired
[Source: groupama] Back in France after righting Groupama 3 in the New Zealand port of Dunedin, eight of the crew of the giant trimaran were in Groupama's press centre in Paris today to answer questions from journalists and web surfers during today's press conference. Extracts from the interviews...
The most important news from this meeting is the confirmation by Groupama's Managerial staff that the adventure is continuing. Indeed, the damage suffered by the giant trimaran is considerable but reparable. Franck Cammas indicated that Groupama 3 was going to be loaded onto a cargo ship around 13th March with an arrival at the technical base in Lorient scheduled a month later.
The skipper also specified that the current assessment still hadn't revealed the reasons behind the breakage of the float between the forward crossbeam and the port foil casing: "We're going to discuss all this with the architects, the yard and the structural engineers. If this amounts to a design fault, then that means we were wrong but sailing remains a mechanical sport... We have a working base, which defines the stresses that the boat should be able to withstand and in the general project strategy, we never wanted to take risks: we didn't put any less carbon in it than for Geronimo! We may have to look at our calculations again but the concept isn't at fault. The way Groupama 3 handled, its sensations at the helm, its performance and its Atlantic records confirm that the project is viable: we want to head back out again next winter with a trimaran, which will handle in the same type of way, but without any doubts in the back of our minds about the reliability of the boat..."
Six months' work
The giant trimaran will therefore go into the yard as soon she returns to France, but in the meantime, the shore crew is already preparing for the work in the knowledge that numerous parts of the boat can be recuperated (rudders, deck hardware, hooks...). The engineers and the designers will also look into means of consolidating the trimaran: "It will be necessary to rebuild one entire float and reconstruct the puzzle: a launch at the start of November can be envisaged, followed by a month of fine tuning and validation for the start of stand-by in December for the Jules Verne Trophy" detailed Franck Cammas.
Jan Dekker went directly home to South Africa, whilst Loïc Le Mignon remained in Dunedin (New Zealand) to monitor the loading of the giant trimaran onto the cargo ship with two members of the shore crew from Lorient, Olivier Mainguy and Jean-Marc Normant, who came out to join him,. The eight other crew are already in the process of preparing for new competitions with the Spi Ouest France competition looming for one designs, sports catamarans...
Groupama 3 righted. Dunedin, New Zealand, 24 February 2008. Video copyright Groupama 3