Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012's Groupama 4 has now passed a second scrutineering examination.
After measuring the boat in every direction for nearly six days, Carlos de Beltran, the class measurer assigned by the Volvo Ocean Race organisation, is leaving Lorient. A third and final test will still be necessary to check the second mast and the sails.
'All the work carried out over the past few days has enabled us to measure Groupama 4 and ensure that her dimensions correspond with the class measurement rules imposed by the organisation' explains Luc Gellusseau, in charge of this department for Groupama sailing team.
The measurer Carlos de Beltran has gone over Groupama 4 with a fine-toothed comb to ensure she conforms to the class measurement with a view to Groupama sailing team's arrival in Alicante, the host town for the start of the Volvo Ocean Race.
The test process undergone by Groupama 4 is long, complicated and rigorous: nothing escapes the keen eye of the class measurer! Luc Gellusseau sums up the most important stages:
'The measurements carried out initially consist of checking if the mast is the right length and if its features are in line with the rules set by the Volvo Ocean Race. After that the mast is stepped and the keel is checked to see that it is of a certain depth. Following that the whole boat is weighed, to see that she doesn't weigh less than 14 tonnes and doesn't exceed 14.50 tonnes.
Once the boat is launched the solidity of her structure is tested, along with the system for enabling the keel to be canted 40 degrees. You also check how the boat floats as that will determine the exact location of the waterline, in terms of length and height. Indeed it's from this same line that you can determine the exact height of the mast, which mustn't exceed 32 metres'.
Groupama 4, for those who remember, had already undergone one scrutineering session when she came out of the yard. This first visit by the measurer was necessary to finalise the construction of the boat. As such, these past few days have been an opportunity to really perform the official scrutineering. Luc Gellusseau:
'We even got a series of tests done on the keel area: it mustn't go below 4.50m, a measurement which corresponds with the maximum water draught. The boat was also lifted out onto the hard and the keel removed and weighed to check that it doesn't weigh more than the permitted 7.4 tonnes'.
However, the work to adapt to the strict rules for the Volvo Ocean Race isn't over yet. Before the crew can cast off for Spain, there are still a few improvements to be made on Groupama 4 and finally, one last `test' in Alicante in the autumn, prior to the start of the crewed round the world race with stopovers. Groupama website Volvo Ocean Race 2011 website