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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Team Updates from Cape Town - Volvo Ocean Race

Team Telefónica
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
The first boat to finish came in with the boat in immaculate condition, according to team technical chief Horacio Carabelli. Theirs has been a problem-free stopover, with the boat going back in the water on Monday and the team having the luxury of giving the rigging a careful check.

“Even though we knew the mast is fine we took it apart,” said Fernando Sales, who is responsible for the mast. “We had time and what we decided to do was to take the entire thing apart. That means we took out everything that might be unscrewed, loosened or moved along the way: all of the spreaders came out and the fixings which fix them to the mast itself, as well as the shrouds, and all of this had to be put back together. We took everything that forms part of the mast apart to give it a good clean and to put it through ultrasound testing”.

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand 
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
CAMPER have also had plenty of time to work on their boat, with skipper Chris Nicholson satisfied that the problem they had with the rigging on the way into Cape Town was purely down to human error rather than any technical fault. “There was no rigging failure and we didn’t almost drop the rig,” Nicholson said. “What happened was down to a handling error on our behalf. Was I happy with that? No and I made that very clear to the guys and it won’t happen again."

Groupama Sailing Team 
Photo: Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race
After coming in third, three days behind the winners, Groupama have been checking everything meticulously. Their boat is in the water again and no major problems have been detected. “These past six days have seen us checking the carbon and mechanical structures and we also unstepped the boat's mast, daggerboards and rudders,” said head of boat construction Pierre Tissier. “We also cleaned the hull beneath the waterline and checked over the whole structure. Some slight repairs and modifications have been required to improve life for the sailors on board. We haven't encountered any problems and Groupama 4 is in tip-top condition."

PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG
Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
The team arrived at the shore base around 0100 on Wednesday and skipper Ken Read told reporters the crew would be pulling an all-nighter, with a view to getting her back in the water with the replacement mast stepped and even sailing again the same day.

“Our ability to get back competing in the race depends on what we do over the next couple of days,” said Read. “The other teams will get faster on every leg but can we get faster too? Will we get left behind? We’ll have a good idea early in Leg 2.”

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Photo: Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race
Everything has gone to schedule for Ian Walker’s team since the boat came in on a container ship. The rig has been installed and tuned and the team were able to go out sailing on Wednesday. “Azzam is back in the water and looking good for contention come the race restart,” said Walker. “There is still more work to be done on refining the mast and rigging but we are committed to living up to Azzam’s determination moniker and be fighting fit for our home leg to Abu Dhabi.”

Team Sanya
Photo: Mark Bow/Volvo Ocean Race
The enormous hole in the hull has been repaired thanks to round-the-clock work from a team of boat-builders brought in from New Zealand. The boat will be launched on Wednesday afternoon and the team should be back sailing by Thursday.

"Today is a day of split feelings really,” said skipper Mike Sanderson. “On the one hand I cannot praise enough everyone that has been involved in the process of getting our boat back into race mode again. On the other hand, I do feel of sense of nervousness before the leg start. There are four boats out training and here we are this morning going on our keel and going into the water only tonight. That should not detract in any way from the great work done, but for sure my apprehension has gone up probably. Also given a forecast of 35 knots on the nose at the start there is not too much of a settling in period! The most important thing right now is to get out sailing tomorrow and for sure a lot of those nervous feelings will go once we are sailing again."

Cape Town Stopover race schedule:

Friday December 9 - Pro-Am Race 1300 local (1100 UTC)
Saturday December 10 - V&A Waterfront In-Port Race 1500 local (1300 UTC)
Sunday December 11 - Leg 2 start to Abu Dhabi 1500 local (1300 UTC)

Volvo Ocean Race Media

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