Barcelona World Race - Michel Desjoyeaux and François Gabart arrived in the commercial port of Recife (Brazil) at 00:30 (local time). The two sailors were towed into port and greeted by Foncia’s shore crew, who are now racing against the clock to repair the boat’s sacrificial bow.
The aim is for the sailing team to get on their way again as fast as possible, so as to take up where they left off in the Barcelona World Race. It’s an aim they share with the former leader of the fleet, Virbac-Paprec 3, she too performing a pit stop in Recife after her mainsail track pulled out of the deck!
In sailing, as with any mechanical sport, breakage is unfortunately part and parcel of competition. As far as this element goes, this isn’t the first hitch for Michel Desjoyeaux if we cast our minds back to his return to port in the last Vendée Globe. In short, a technical stopover doesn’t rule participants out of the competition, provided that it is short and well-managed.
On location since Tuesday, Foncia’s team (5 people) have marked out the area and have lined up the tooling to enable them to effect repairs to the crash box (effectively the boat’s bumper) as quickly as possible. The operation will take place under the cover of darkness beneath some spotlights (Recife is 3 hours behind the UK). Two cranes will enable the boat to be lifted out and notably ensure that the bow is raised above the quay so as the technicians can carry out their work on terra firma. One repair, 2 possibilities
From then on, two options are possible, depending on the state of the slab of foam which forms the ‘body’ of the crash box. If the latter is damaged, it will be removed and fully replaced by a new section manufactured last week in Port La Forêt, before being covered in carbon material.
Bow picture - © Michel Desjoyeaux / FONCIA
If it is unscathed, it will simply be dried out and then laminated on. Naturally this second solution is a lot faster than the first. The atmospheric conditions should greatly facilitate the work of the laminators: the weather on site is good with virtually no wind
For their part, Michel and François will keep an eye on the race and the weather so as they can anticipate getting back down to business in the South Atlantic in a few hours’ time.
During their absence and that of Virbac-Paprec 3, the Spaniards on Estrella Damm have logically taken control of the fleet…
Team Fonica website