Neil Cox in a container size workshop, back in Auckland. The team will work out of two containers in Puerto Montt
Camper's support team led by Shore Manager Neil ‘Coxy’ Cox are in Puerto Montt, Chile and have started repair work on Camper, the Emirates Team NZ Volvo Ocean Race entry. Camper was forced to divert to the Chilean port, to effect repairs after suspending racing on Leg 5 of the round the world classic.
Camper arrived in Puerto Montt at 1100hrs NZT on 4 April and repairs are expected to take three days, all going well. It will take an estimated eight days to sail from Puerto Montt to Itajai, Brazil, once repairs are completed.
Meanwhile the Emirati entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, Abu Dhabi (Ian Walker) has altered course, and is also headed for Puerto Montt - 'to further assess damage to their yacht Azzam and weigh up their options', according to a later report from Volvo Ocean Race.
Initially there was no announcement from the team or Volvo Ocean Race, even though they were relatively close to Puerto Montt. Earlier in the week, the team named three options they felt were open to them, to get to the finish line in Itajai, Brazil before the resumption of racing on 21 April.
After turning south yesterday, Abu Dhabi slowed, according to the tracking, and presumably undertook a further inspection. After that period her course altered again and she headed directly for Puerto Montt.
It is not known whether a repair team as been deployed by Abu Dhabi, or whether the crew will try and effect a better repair themselves. Previously Abu Dhabi suffered core laminate shear after hitting high speeds downwind, and her crew were forced to heave-to while they drilled holes in the topside and inserted bolts to hold the two outer skins of the yacht together, and to prevent further shear.
The last report from onboard Abu Dhabi was a little ominous as their MCM wrote:
'It’s our third day, since the repair work was finished, of FRO (fractional zero) running. With an average speed of over 17 knots now and a continually worsening sea state, we have begun hearing some new funky sounds coming from the compromised panel. We can only speculate, but many of us believe it is the superfluous glue that is cracking when the panel flexes and others believe that the outer skin may be compressing on the core material more. Either way we remain confident that the repair is strong, but know that constant monitoring is still necessary.'
Camper's Neil Cox writes from Puerto Montt:
After four full days in Puerto Montt we are very close to having Puerto Camper set up.
It is not pretty, and would most probably not even have marketing appeal in Afghanistan, but it sure looks good through our eyes right now.
We have been very lucky to have the helpful support of so many locals and expat Kiwis that are here for one reason or another, and have been able to get our hands on two old 20 foot containers and set up them in the marina car park just above the ramp out to the pontoon where Camper will tie up
We have spent the last few days renovating them into workshops and storage areas and they are now pretty much ready to go. Everything we have shipped has arrived and the last few of our shore team arrive tonight. We are a small team of 6 and this is principally a boatbuilding operation.
What we could not ship we have been able to find through the network of locals and expats who have so generously offered us a hand. Nothing has been too much effort for them and on behalf of everyone involved with CAMPER I’d like to pass on my thanks.
We are expecting to have the boat here on the dock by 9pm tomorrow night at the latest (late afternoon Wednesday NZT) and from there we launch straight into it.
We have been lucky enough to get our ultra sound contractor here in time and as a first priority he will go over the hull to make sure there are no little hidden issues that may have been caused due to the conditions encountered in Leg Five. If there are any problems found we have the resources to get to them and fix them.
Once the ultra sound survey is signed off we will get into in the actual repair job. The process involves turning all of Rob Salthouse’s great work into dust, marking out where the replacement structure will align back into the boat, and then physically fitting in the replacement parts and bonding them to the boat. It will be a 5 stage process trying to rotate work areas so that we are not held up with cure times of glues and resin.
We are hoping we can get this all done in three days and will also want to fire some heat into the boat for up to 8 hours to help with any post curing that we can get done. In reality the post cure is not optional.
During the course of all this work our sailing team will be getting their head around the remaining leg as well as any other boat detailing, rig and sail work that needs to be done before heading around Cape Horn.
All going well the boys will arrive in Brazil, finish the leg in fourth place before competing in the in-port race.
At this point we are standing by ready to swing into action when the boat arrives. It’s going to be a busy few days.