NÄSTA

THE DAMAGE DONE

Maj 25, 2009 @ 20:13:04   Foto Oskar Kihlborg / Ericsson Rick Tomlinson / Volvo Ocean Race  

The damaged keel of Ericsson 3 is revealed as the boat is lifted out of the water in Galway

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The damage assessors have gone in and the verdicts suggest it is unlikely that lobster fishermen will receive many thank you cards from the shore crew in the near future.


The 2,550-mile leg across the Atlantic has left the repair teams with a variety of jobs, largely because of the "scars", "dings" and "gouges" left by numerous collisions between foils and pot lines.

Green Dragon saw a daggerboard almost scythed in half by one line, while PUMA face a big job in mending a bow damaged by running over some floating fishing equipment.

But Ericsson 3 are taking on one of the biggest restoration missions, picking up the pieces after their keel fin and a daggerboard were broken in a collision with a whale two days into the leg. They ultimately finished seventh in an incredibly tight battle that saw first and last arrive within five hours and four minutes, but upon docking navigator Aksel Magdahl revealed the keel damage cost them an average 10% in speed.

The damage to the fin was visibly obvious, with large chunks of fairing missing from the lower portions of both the leading and trailing edges. Saturday's in-port race is adding some pressure to the situation.

Shore boss Herve Le Quillec said: "There is quite a lot to do and we have not got a lot of time.

"We have a quick turnover here so the guys are working on solutions. Hopefully the boat will be back in the water on Thursday, worst case scenario on Friday.

"The daggerboard will be repaired, but we will probably use a spare in the in-port race."

He also confirmed that Ericsson 4 was in good health and will most likely return to the water on Wednesday.

As will PUMA, but their days will be somewhat busier. Ken Read's team overcame some serious issues to post a superb second-placed finish, seeing their rudder snap and their bow heftily damaged.

Shore boss Neil Cox said: "Our boat is like an abused dog that has finally turned around and bitten back.

"We have hit something pretty hard up at the front of the boat and damaged the crash bow. We have to do some laminate work there and also replace some foam in the area; probably about 25% of the foam.

"We have a new rudder to put in the boat as well. That arrived from Massachusetts on Sunday night."

He suspects fishing equipment was responsible for the damage to the bow.

"There's an area just south of Newfoundland and everyone got cleaned up there," he said. "Apart from the crash bow and rudder, all the other appendages were in good shape. We have about three days to do what is a pretty big job list. It's a short turnaround."

Elsewhere, Green Dragon shore boss Johnny Smullen is working on repairing the daggerboard, which was cut six inches deep by the lobster line. The boat is scheduled to return to the water on Wednesday.

"We have had a pretty tough crossing, but we have come out of it pretty well with a few nicks and bangs and scratches," Smullen said. "We caught a lobster pot and it tore into a daggerboard and fortunately just damaged the foam fairing; it didn't cut into the stock, which is the main structure of it.

"It also just caught the front of the keel and it cut through the fairing a little. We also lost a bit of filler either side of the daggerboard fairing and got a few dings on the bow.

"But we've done okay. I did a tap test and it's all fine and we did a good rig check before taking it out of the water. All fine. In general we are pretty happy."

The team are also repairing damage to their mainsail and code zero sails. An interesting aspect of Green Dragon's stunning third place finish was that unlike several of their rivals, their tight budget saw them do it with no new sails.

Telefonica shore boss Campbell Field is happy with the state of his team's two boats. He intends to put both back on the water on Wednesday or Thursday, with each largely undergoing maintenance rather than serious repair jobs.

"Both boats are in good shape," he said. "They have the requisite dings and scars on the foils from stuff in the water off New England.

"There's a gouge on one of the daggerboards on the Blue boat and a gouge on the keel; easy fixes. The Black boat doesn't look like it has hit anything at all."

Delta Lloyd shore manager Mike Danks added: "Delta Lloyd is in really good shape, no major issues at all. A bit of bow rail damage, couple of bent staunchions, but we're in good shape. No major damage at all.

"We had a little bit of sail damage and we are doing a full service on the rig, but we hope to be on the water on Wednesday."



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