Friday, 30 January 2009
Navigator Ian Moore, onboard Green Dragon, on leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Singapore to Qingdao, China. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.
by Volvo Ocean Race media
With the first three boats safely tied up in Qingdao after finishing earlier today, the only team still at sea is Ian Walker’s Green Dragon.
The damaged Dragon has made it across to mainland China, by just taking it ‘one step at a time’, reminiscent of the way in which ‘80’s rockstar Simon Le Bon’s crew nursed the damaged yacht Drum, when they were limping towards Cape Town in the1985 Whitbread, the forerunner today’s Volvo Race. American skipper, Skip Novak later said that they only made it safely to Cape Town by taking it, ‘one watch at a time’, a phrase which later became the title of Novak’s book on Drum’s adventures in the race.
The Green Dragon team has strengthened their initial repair by gluing and bolting sail battens to the bulkhead, which has worked well. The team has 334 nm to run to the finish and an assured fourth position on this leg and five leg points are waiting for them in China.
Skipper Ian Walker onboard Green Dragon, on leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Singapore to Qingdao, China. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.
Ian Walker is expecting the breeze not to exceed 20 knots to the finish. “It looks pretty favourable – upwind – but favourable,” he explained. He added, “It was a good feeling for us to see the first bit of China this morning. We all got on deck – it was a significant moment for us.”
Meanwhile, in Keelung City, Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE) has been hauled out of the water and inspection has begun on the damage sustained earlier in the week, when water was discovered in the forward, watertight compartment. The boat was leaking through a crack in the hull. Coupled with the great water pressure from slamming into six-metre waves, the outer and inner carbon-fibre skins of the hull became delaminated.
"We are not sure of the cause of the damage and don't want to speculate on it at this time,” said Richard Brisius, Ericsson Racing Team’ general manager.
"But we are sure that it's possible to repair. We are considering having a new panel built off site, which will be fitted to the yacht in either Taiwan or China. We don't know where yet," Brisius said.
The affected area of damage is on the port, underside of the hull, about 200 millimetres off centreline. There is a delaminated area between three and four metres long, and the affected area is, at the most, about one and a half metres wide. The shore crew has taken samples from other areas of the bow to inspect for further delamination.
A replacement panel is planned to be built in Italy. Pieces of Nomex foam core, left over from the original build of the Ericsson yachts, are being sent from the team's boatyard in Kista, Sweden.
"Once we have the boat prepared to receive the new panel and the new panel is there, scarfing and bonding the panel in place is the easiest part of project," said Juan Kouyoumdjian, the yacht’s designer.
Andrew McLean onboard Green Dragon, on leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Singapore to Qingdao, China. Image copyright Guo Chuan/Green Dragon Racing/Volvo Ocean Race.
The team is looking at options of carrying out the repair work in Taiwan, possibly shipping to the boat Qingdao - the leg finish port in China, or making a temporary repair and sailing the boat to Qingdao.
"We're starting to understand what we have to accomplish, now we need to determine where and how we will accomplish it best," said Brisius.
Two other boats have either retired (Telefónica Black/Fernando Echávarri/ESP) or suspended racing (Delta Lloyd/Roberto Bérmudez/ESP).
Volvo Ocean Race