Groupama righted in Dunedin Harbour

Upside down alongside the Harbour works pontoon
Martin Balch

The complicated process of sorting the righting slings and tow ropes, around the 32metre Groupama, started early afternoon at the overnight berth alongside the Harbour Works pontoon, in Dunedin.

Around 1530hrs the slow and careful tow to a wharf with high strength decking started, so two large shore side cranes could help to roll the boat over.

The weather was perfect for the job with light winds and temperatures in the low to mid 20’s.

The hardest job proved to be removing the remains of the broken port hull from where it had become securely wedged against the rear spar under the main and starboard hulls.

Despite lifting the rear of the boat clear of the water, it took some time to untangle the inevitable cats cradle of ropes, rigging and trampolines to allow the remains to be towed clear.

Then it was a simple job to use the slings originally rigged at sea, to gently lift the starboard hull up until the whole boat was vertical. At this stage, the harbour tug Kapu gently dragged the main hull away from the wharf to tilt the trimaran in the correct direction, and the two cranes gently lowered away and the hull descended to a more normal orientation, to a loud round of cheers and clapping, and no doubt many sighs of relief.

All was not quite sweet yet as the remains became stable with the starboard hull several meters from the water. Quickly, volunteers and crew boarded from a rubber duckie and with the extra weight high on the starboard hull, the correct trim was quickly achieved.

The crew are now busy tidying the remains while the next stage of the recovery back to France is planned.

Martin and Fiona Balch kindly provided these images:

The broken beam ends
Martin Balch

Strobe lights on the rudder – another had been taped to the main centreplate
Martin Balch

Struggling to remove the remains of the port hull from under the main hull
Martin Balch

Preparing to right the Groupama 3
Martin Balch

Pumping out some residual water from the beams
Martin Balch

And up she goes
Martin Balch

And over she goes – cranes have the weight while the Harbour Works tug pulls the main hull through below to allow the cranes to lower the vessel the right way up.
Martin Balch

And Groupama is slowly lowered the right way up
Martin Balch

Being towed from the overnight berth to the heavy lift wharf for the shore side cranes to do their bit
Martin Balch

And down she comes
Martin Balch

And that’s as far as she went, becoming stable at this point until a number of willing volunteers were ferried out and climbed to the high side
Martin Balch

Right way up and clearing the mess
Martin Balch

Elephant’s trunk hanging out the side now!
Martin Balch


























Some of the spectator boats
Martin Balch
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