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Bow damage calls Groupama shore team to action

Groupama Sailing Team's shore crew inspect the delamination damage ©Marc Bow/Volvo Ocean Race
Groupama Sailing Team's shore crew inspect the delamination damage ©Marc Bow/Volvo Ocean Race

Groupama’s shore crew are in a race against the clock to fix a crack in the bow of their boat that briefly threatened their hopes of victory in Leg 4.

“Our composite team will be at work 24 hours a day. We will do everything we can so that the boat takes part in the Pro-Am in good condition" - Pierre Tissier, Groupama


The French team have just four days to fix the damage, caused by constant slamming through eight metre waves which skipper Franck Cammas described as the worst conditions of the race so far.


Groupama build manager Pierre Tissier said his team must now work 24 hours a day to complete the repair in time for Friday’s Pro Am race.


“Our composite team will be at work 24 hours a day,” said Tissier after a night of solid work on the hull. 


“We will do everything we can so that the boat takes part in the Pro-Am in good condition.


“It should be quite an easy fix. Right now we are still in the inspection phase, but it looks like it will be ok and quite quick.”


Despite a comfortable lead of around 100nm, Groupama men had a scare in the dying moments of the 5,220 nautical mile leg from Sanya to Auckland when they discovered more than a tonne of water in the bow as they raced down the coast of New Zealand.


Frantic bailing ensued and they went on to claim their first offshore victory of the race.


“The conditions we had to the north of the North Island were the worst we have seen in the entire race due to the sea state,” skipper Cammas said as he stepped off the dock.


No sooner had Groupama’s triumphant sailors stepped off the boat than the shore crew leapt into action, hauling Groupama 4 out of the water and immediately starting work on the damaged bow.


Tissier said the damage had been caused by two days of crashing through huge seas to the north of New Zealand – but also suspected something had hit the bow.

“The crew were crashing through seven to eight metres of crests with the wind on the nose.


“They were all very worried for the structure of the boat and were wondering if that might happen. We also think something hit the bow.”


A one-metre section of the bow was cut out to allow closer inspection of the damage.


“We have a zone under the collision bulkhead which has delaminated, and we are now in the process of repairing it,” Tissier said.




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