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SANYA PREPARE FOR CRITICAL REPAIR WORK

The build of bow mould
The build of bow mould © Jeff Ayliffe

As Team Sanya’s damaged Volvo Open 70 continues to steam towards Cape Town aboard a container ship, skipper Mike Sanderson is already in the South African port to help establish the team base.

“The new piece of boat will be waiting in there and once we get the boat inside, the work of chopping out the old section can begin. Then we can start to scarf the new piece in”


Mike wants to oversee the construction of the huge replacement bow section the Chinese team plan to graft into their boat as soon as it arrives.


With the repair project critical to Sanya’s chances of re-joining the race, Sanderson has flown in an expert six-person team from Salthouse Boatbuilders in New Zealand to carry out the work.

The Kiwi yard previously worked with Team Sanya on the construction of the yacht’s carbon Daggerboards and have already made good progress on creating the new section which Sanderson has previously described the new structure as being “the size a decent sized powerboat that you could put a 100 horsepower engine on and go fishing for the day.”

“The wooden plug which we are building the new piece of boat over is almost finished” Sanderson says. We just have some fairing work to do and then we crack on with laying up the actual structure.”

As soon as the cargo ship arrives in Cape Town, Sanya Lan will be lifted on to a barge and moved to the Sanya shore base.

Concerned that Cape Town’s strong winds could disrupt the repair process, Sanderson has come up with a novel solution utilizing the containers used to transport the race village around the world.

“Basically we are going to use a crane to build a temporary boatshed with the Volvo Ocean Race containers as the walls and a marquee roof over the top.”

“The new piece of boat will be waiting in there and once we get the boat inside, the work of chopping out the old section can begin. Then we can start to scarf the new piece in.”

Sanderson says he has no concerns over the structural integrity of the boat following the repair but says he is really worried about the timescales involved.

“We start assembling our shore base today and we need everything fully ready when the boat arrives around November 28.

“But if the cargo ship hits a storm, it could be delayed four or five days then we are toast. So I do have concerns over the time we have left, but this is the Volvo Ocean Race and we need to do what we need to do to get back into the game.”

With an enforced month-long layoff for the team Sanya crew, Sanderson has also put the sailing team on a hectic fitness maintenance programme.

“We really need to make sure we come back from this as a faster team, so we have to make sure we are not sitting on the couch and eating too many bags of chips in this down time.”

Source Volvo Ocean Race


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