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Barcelona World Race

Logistics being organised for Foncia’s pit stop

Michel Desjoyeaux : " There are still 22,000 miles to go and lots of things to do"

mardi 11 janvier 2011Redaction SSS [Source RP]

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Friday 14 January, Michel Desjoyeaux and François Gabart are likely to make for the quays of Recife or a neighbouring port to replace the sacrificial bow of their boat. The logistics for this technical pit stop are currently being set in motion. The work on site could take twenty hours or so. This amount of time will unfortunately be necessary before the two sailors can take up the race where they left off and continue at the brisk pace they’ve been maintaining for the past 11 days.

At around 1715 GMT on Sunday evening, as Foncia was sailing downwind at full speed to the North of the Cape Verde archipelago, Michel Desjoyeaux contacted Jean-Paul Roux, the boat’s safety manager, to alert him to the fact that the section of the sacrificial bow below the waterline had come away. The sacrificial bow is a piece of foam added to the bow, around the waterline, which serves as a fuse in the event that it collides with a floating object.

The loss of the surface skin of the hull (layers of carbon which cover the foam slab) isn’t a serious handicap right now but “it’s out of the question to head into the Southern Ocean without this bumper, which has clearly already fulfilled its role”, explains Michel.

As such the team has decided to make a pit stop in Recife (the 5th largest city in Brazil, on the western horn of South America, in the southern hemisphere) or a neighbouring port. The choice of this destination is a lesser evil : it enables the shore crew time to organise themselves and prevents the sailors from making too much of a detour from the normal course of the Barcelona World Race Barcelona World Race #barcelonaworldrace .

Logistical operations underway

Marc Liardet and Jean-Philippe Guillemot, Foncia’s shore crew managers, climbed aboard a plane this Tuesday and are set to arrive in Recife at around 2100 hours. With the support of a local contact, they’ll be in charge of completing the organisation Organisation #organisation of logistics for the arrival of the monohull : towing, mooring in port and possible lifting out of the water…

At the same time, the composite specialists within the Foncia team are in the process of completing the manufacture of a new sacrificial bow. On Wednesday they too will catch a plane, together with the foam slab and lamination materials. In order to successfully replace the damaged section (pulling out the existing foam or what’s left of it, replacing it with the new bow section, sticking this on and then covering the whole section with carbon material), the entire forward section of the monohull must be out of the water. To achieve this, the equipment needs to be put in place to lift the bow and the atmospheric conditions must be optimum (calm sea, no rain). As such it’s very difficult right now to gauge how long the work will take. However Jean-Paul Roux is reckoning on around twenty hours to bring the operation to a successful conclusion.

Foncia is expected alongside the Brazilian quays during the course of the day on Friday 14 January. As a result she could head back out into the race the following morning. Despite what everyone hopes will be a flying pit stop, Michel Desjoyeaux and François Gabart are sure to lose a few places in the ranking. However their spirits haven’t been worn down. They’re enjoying a fantastic start to their circumnavigation of the globe, neck and neck with Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron. And there’s still a very long way to go yet. At the latest ranking at 1400 hrs GMT this Tuesday, Foncia was still in second position, 83 miles astern of Virbac-Paprec 3. In a few hours’ time the head of the race will enter the Doldrums and on Wednesday night, François Gabart will cross the equator for the first time in his young career as a sailor…

  • Michel, on the crew’s state of mind : “The name of the game is to set off from Brazil as quickly as possible. The Barcelona World Race Barcelona World Race #barcelonaworldrace is a long competition. There are still 22,000 miles to go and lots of things to do. It’s a peril of the sea that we can do nothing about so it isn’t really putting a dampener on our spirits. That’s racing for you. Of course it’s not a great thing to be stopping, it wasn’t part of the programme, but it isn’t preventing us from continuing to move forward and make headway on the boat. When we head back into the race from Brazil, part of the leading pack may well have got ahead of us but that’s part and parcel of racing and we don’t have a lot of choice.”
  • On the dismasting suffered by Jean Le Cam and Bruno Garcia (Président) late on Monday : “Despite all the attention we lavish on our masts, they are one of the sensitive elements of these Imoca Imoca #IMOCA 60s. With this in mind we did a bit of ‘freestyling’ ourselves a couple of days ago and we weren’t trying to be smart. We also snapped a headsail sheet. It made a huge cracking sound and our first reaction was to think we were about to dismast ! All this certainly wasn’t something Jean and Bruno had planned on. We’re really sorry for them. It can’t be much fun for them, especially as they’d had a great start to the race.”

- Info presse Team Foncia /

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