Although only unloaded from a cargo ship just two days ago, amazingly Team Sanya’s badly holed Volvo Open 70 is today a complete boat once more.
The former Telefonica Blue from the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race, split open her starboard bow on the first night of the Volvo Ocean Race. Fortunately her crew had taken the precaution of closing the watertight doors, and although the bow flooded, Sanya was able to motor to the nearest boat, beginning a truck and ship journey to Cape Town.
Although far from ready to sail again, the team have made remarkable progress in such a short time and are still confident of having the boat fully ready to compete in the Cape Town In-Port Race on December 10.
A huge team, including a crack squad of repair specialists flown in from Salthouse Boatbuilders in New Zealand, have been working around the clock to cut away the badly delaminated bow and replace it with a new custom made section.
Sanya boat captain Richard Mason said: 'It is absolutely incredible to be where we are after only 48 hours. The boys are doing a fantastic job and everything is coming together on schedule.
'It would be a truly amazing accomplishment to have the boat back so soon.'
While the boat builders continue their mission to restore Sanya to her former glory, the sailing crew have been engaged in an intense training program at a local gym to ensure they are in peak condition when the boat is ready to sail, team MCM Andrés Soriano reports.
In the early hours of Saturday morning the sailors will run to the top of Cape Town’s Lions Head Peak, a climb of 2,195 feet (669 metres) above sea level, before returning to the team base to prepare their gear in anticipation of a planned training sail on December 7.
Two other yachts suffered dismastings, forcing their withdrawal from the first leg of the 39,000 Volvo Ocean race, and triggering a massive effort by shore teams to get the racers on the start line for the start of Leg 2 on 11 December from Cape Town.
Abu Dhabi will be fitted with her spare mast and new rigging in Cape Town. The cause of her dismasting also on the first night is believed to be a diagonal failure in her rigging. Puma Racing dismasted in the South Atlantic after the failure of a $20 rigging fitting. Both yachts will be fitting spare spars, which take three months to make, and a second failure would almost certainly put them out of the race.