Team Delta Lloyd has launched its comeback for the second half of the race, beginning with the start of Leg 6 from Rio.
The team retired from the brutal Leg 4 from Singapore to Qingdao with structural damage to her bow section. The boat is currently being shipped from Hong Kong to Rio where a new bow section, manufactured in Italy, will be fitted.
According to Killian Bushe, responsible for the build of Delta Lloyd, formerly ABN AMRO ONE, the overall winner of the 2005-06 Volvo, the damage was the result of an impact rather than delamination. “The ultrasound test proved that the damage was caused by some impact,” he said.
“The hull is made of a sandwich construction, which means there are skins on either side of the core material. That core material was fractured by the collision. The damaged area was initially about 400-500 square millimetres, but by being unnoticed by the crew and the subsequent flexing from the continuous pounding in the large waves at the time, it increased to 3,5 meters by one meter wide.
"Once the core in a sandwich is damaged the panel can no longer support itself.”
Skipper Roberto Bermudez and his crew recognized the seriousness of the situation in time to nurse the boat to Taiwan from where it was transported to Hong Kong.
Bushe and a team of seven boat builders will manage the repair work in Rio. “We will first remove all the structure in the bow and cut away the damaged panel, which will then be replaced,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nick Bice has joined the sailing crew for the second half of the race. The 31-year-old Australian replaces Spain’s Guillermo Altadill who was only contracted for leg 4 and 5.
Bice, a qualified boat builder, was watch leader and boat captain for ABN AMRO TWO in the 2005-06 Volvo. He was also part of the Team Amer Sports campaign in 2001-02. More recently, he joined the British America's Cup challenge Team Origin as boat captain and pitman.