The third leg of The Ocean Race has been a bruising one – not necessarily for the crews but for the actual boats with several incidents of damage and the need for repairs being reported over the last few weeks.
The teams passed through the scoring gate on Sunday, with Team Holcim-PRB collecting maximum points with Team Malizia in second and 11th Hour Racing Team third, while Biotherm came through fourth.
However, as the boats maintain their course to the finish line in Itajai, Brazil, the task to keep their vessel in ship-shape is a challenging one.
On Monday, 11th Hour Racing Team revealed they had to contend with a badly torn mainsail, which was hindering their progress.
“We can’t use the full main or the first reef because of the rip,” said Jack Bouttell.
“It’s quite hard to repair on board, nearly impossible I think, because of where it is in a structural part of the sail.”
Skipper Charlie Enright was slightly more positive and said the team would make the effort to complete the repair and continue racing.
“We did just stop and take a look at the yacht and assess and we made the decision as a group to get the boat to Brazil for some TLC as we have a number of things hampering our performance at the moment,” he said.
“We talked about stopping, whether in New Zealand or Tasmania, but ultimately decided that we feel safe in proceeding. Given the weather ahead of us there will be some (competitive) opportunities but we’re really racing ourselves right now. We’ll see what the future brings…”
Biotherm and Team Malizia also encountered problems that required a fix while on the water, with the former experiencing a damaged longitudinal frame and the latter having to deal with a loose foil ram.
“There is a longitudinal frame that has cracked over a span of three meters, so we are looking into how to fix it with the shore team,” said Biotherm skipper Paul Meilhat. “It seems not to be a key structural frame so we’ll have to fix it, but it’s no big deal. It shouldn’t affect the rest of the race and we might only lose a little bit of time. We’re fixing this, we keep going forward – normal but not pushing it too much.”
Team Malizia co-skipper Will Harris explained: “We noticed that the foil ram had come loose on the port side – we think from all the shaking around as we pushed full speed to the scoring gate had taken a toll.
“Rosie [Kuiper] and Boris [Herrmann] spent a few long hours taking the ram off and cleaning up the thread and screwing it back together in a way that it won’t happen again.
“We also noticed the starboard side was close to coming off as well. So eight hours of hard work but we managed to fix it and we can carry on in a strong place.”
These incidents come after a dramatic start to the leg when Biotherm and 11th Hour Racing Team both had to suspend racing over boat issues before returning to action.
GUYOT environnement-Team Europe later had to withdraw from the leg completely after discovering issues with their hull.
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