Boats are back in the water

Groupama is going back in the water © Ian Roman/ Volvo Ocean Race
Groupama is going back in the water © Ian Roman/ Volvo Ocean Race

It’s been the toughest turnaround for the six-boat Volvo Ocean Race fleet so far – but the shore teams have won the race against time to see their boats back in the water ahead of Thursday’s practice race.

PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG were the first to be craned back into the water from their cradle in Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour on Wednesday morning, followed by Team Telefónica.

A later-than-expected arrival into Auckland, combined with a short stopover, left the crews just seven days to prepare the Volvo Open 70s for Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajaí in Brazil through the Southern Ocean.

During the leg the fleet could facing mountainous seas and wind speeds as high as 60 knots during the 6,700 nautical mile leg.

But a round-the-clock operation from all the shore teams has seen all the necessary repairs carried out, including the fixing of a hole in Groupama’s bow.

“It's all gone well – we got the majority of the jobs done that we needed to get done,” said PUMA shore crew manager Tim Hacket as Mar Mostro was lifted back into the water.

“We had a whole bunch of new side stays so we needed a bit of extra time tuning the rig before sailing tomorrow.

“We’re just ticking off the jobs between now and sailing tomorrow and then each night there after.”

Horacio Carabelli, Telefónica’s shore team manager, added: “Yesterday was quite a late day for us. The boys have worked very hard the last two days doing all the bits and pieces that were left.

“We put the boat back in the water this morning and we're pretty happy where we are.”

The biggest challenge faced Groupama’s boat building team after the crew arrived into Auckland with a hole in the bow, picked up on the final stretch of Leg 4.

“The guys have done an incredible job,” said Groupama shore team manager Ben Wright.

“We’re very happy with what the team have been able to pull off. When you've got guys that are motivated, you can get through almost anything.

Now it’s back into our regular routine, get in the water and into sailing mode.”

Team Sanya’s shore crew boss Nick Bice said the short stopover had only allowed his team to carry out the most important jobs but that the boat was ready to go back into the water.

“Before the race we said we just wanted to take little steps into improving the boat at each stopover but with the limited time here all we've had time to do is to fix the high priority things and basically had time to pull everything apart and put back together and make sure everything is safe for the Southern Ocean,” Bice said.

“The boat actually pretty ready now to go back in the water. It's just a matter of lining up and waiting for all the other boats to go in then we'll drop her in the drink and go yachting tomorrow.”

Action resumes in Auckland tomorrow with the practice race. Friday sees the teams go head-to-head in the Pro-Am, the In-Port Race is on Saturday and the start of Leg 5 is on Sunday.

© www.volvooceanrace.com

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