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Volvo Ocean Race

"Couple of weeks of repair" for "movistar”

Spanish V70 will stay in Portimao before being shipped or planed to Cap Town

mercredi 16 novembre 2005Redaction SSS [Source RP]

Yesterday, the “movistar”’s second day in the Portimao Marina, Portugal, the crew of the Spanish Round the World boat got quite a surprise. Around 15:00 hours, local time, a crane raised the boat onto the commercial wharf of the Portuguese port to place it in its cradle, which had been assembled by the “movistar” shore team after bringing it down from Sanxenxo. As the boat rose out of the water, they discovered that part of the port rudder and leeboard was missing. This discovery, together with the scratches on the hull and keel have changed the crew’s mind about what had caused the structural damage to the Volvo Open 70 in the early hours of last Sunday morning.

“The sight of the damage has left us all totally amazed -remarks team manager, Pedro Campos, standing next to the “movistar”, after travelling down from Madrid to follow the operation personally-. We knew that we could well find some damage to the hull, but we did not realise that we were missing half the helm and part of the leeboard.

An initial assessment would suggest that the “movistar” hit something under the water while sailing at a speed of almost 30 knots, although a more thorough inspection of the affected parts remains to be conducted. The evidence suggests that we hit something -adds Campos- a heavy, solid object, capable of tearing off 70 centimetres of the rudder, 30 centimetres of leeboard and stripping the area that supports the keel. That would explain the structural damage.

Although the damage means an extra workload for the “movistar” shore team, the ten crew members of the Spanish boat received the news of the collision with relief. It is not the same thing to sail on a boat that breaks when it hits a wave, as it is to sail on one that you know will take conditions of all kinds -remarks trimmer Xabi Fernandez on seeing the damage-. We were a bit worried with the hypothesis that a simple crash into a wave could have stripped the hull ; worried and surprised. It is surprising in a boat that has sailed 22,000 miles, with whole days of conditions that were much worse than when this happened. I, personally, will sleep much better tonight.

Review by the design team

This morning, the head of structures of Farr International, Inc, the designers of the Volvo Open 70 “movistar”, arrived in Portimao to check the extent of the damage to the Spanish boat. Russell Bowler went aboard the “movistar” a few minutes before the damage below the waterline was discovered, to examine the de-lamination that caused the boat to return to port.

Bowler was accompanied at all times by Bouwe Bekking, skipper of the boat, and Pedro Campos, and he left the boat without having reached any solid conclusions, preferring to examine the design drawings first.

Repairs in Portimao

After considering all the options and getting information from the Farr representative, Pedro Campos and Bouwe Bekking decided that the boat should stay in Portimao to complete the repairs. “After the inspection by the structural expert, we have seen that although there is important damage, we can repair it here -says Campos-. The whole shore team is already here in Portimao, the boat is in the cradle and practically stripped down, so we will save time if we do everything here, and time is a key factor in all this if we want to be sure of staying in the race”.

“The boat will be repaired by our team, although we will undoubtedly need help. We are already making enquiries to find out who can help us to be ready to set off in the shortest possible time”.

“In the best case scenario, we will be ready in a couple of weeks. It would be fantastic to get back into the competition during this stage, although, quite frankly, I don’t think that this is very likely, it’s almost impossible. We will probably have to transport the boat to Cape Town, either on a cargo ship or by plane. The team is already working on all the logistics necessary for the move”.

Info Team movistar

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