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Groupama righted in Dunedin Harbour

'Upside down alongside the Harbour works pontoon'    Martin Balch    Click Here to view large photo

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   Click Here to view large photo

Strobe lights on the rudder – another had been taped to the main centreplate -  Martin Balch   Click Here to view large photo

Struggling to remove the remains of the port hull from under the main hull -  Martin Balch   Click Here to view large photo

Preparing to right the Groupama 3 -  Martin Balch   Click Here to view large photo

Pumping out some residual water from the beams -  Martin Balch   Click Here to view large photo

And up she goes -  Martin Balch   Click Here to view large photo

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   Click Here to view large photo

And Groupama is slowly lowered the right way up -  Martin Balch   Click Here to view large photo

Being towed from the overnight berth to the heavy lift wharf for the shore side cranes to do their bit -  Martin Balch   Click Here to view large photo

And down she comes -  Martin Balch   Click Here to view large photo

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   Click Here to view large photo

Right way up and clearing the mess -  Martin Balch   Click Here to view large photo

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by Fiona and Martin Balch


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11:22 AM Sun 24 Feb 2008 GMT

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Related News Stories:

17 Jun 2008  New floats for Groupama 3; record out for winter
28 Feb 2008  Groupama's adventure is continuing
23 Feb 2008  Images of Groupama 3: Return to Dunedin
23 Feb 2008  Groupama 3 alongside in Dunedin
23 Feb 2008  Groupama 3 expected to enter harbour today
22 Feb 2008  Groupama 3 - so near but so far
22 Feb 2008  Update and Images on Groupama 3
21 Feb 2008  Update and Images on Groupama 3
21 Feb 2008  Groupama 3 update - under tow, upside down
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