Groupama righted in Dunedin Harbour
by Fiona and Martin Balch on 24 Feb 2008
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.
Upside down alongside the Harbour works pontoon Martin Balch
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:
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