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Volvo OR: Jury-rigged Vestas 11th Hour Racing arrives in Itajai

by Compiled by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz 16 Apr 2018 16:47 PDT 17 April 2018
Vestas 11th Hour arrives in Itajai. 16 April, 2018. Leg 7 from Auckland to Itajai © Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race

At 1000 local time on April 16, Vestas 11th Hour Racing sailed into the Rio Itajaí-açu with three modified sails and a jury rig fabricated in the Falkland Islands.

Covering 1600 miles in nine days, the delivery crew of five were all smiles as the shore team, fellow competitors and Volvo Ocean Race staff greeted the boat in the Race Village in Itajaí, Brazil.

"With a jury rig in the boat, we really didn't know what the capacity of the boat was," said six-time Volvo Ocean Race sailor, Damian Foxall. "So we left the Falkland Islands with multiple options and backup plans, but after 12 hours of motor-sailing, we quickly realized we could make it to Itajai with enough time to get the boat race-ready for the next leg."

"We saw 56 knots of breeze at one point with the little rig still up and storm sails keeping us stable," continued Foxall.

"It would not have been possible without the sailors and locals preparing the boat so well in the Falklands," said Diego Torrado, the shore team manager, who also took part in the delivery to Itajaí. “We are so thankful for the amazing, experienced delivery crew onboard. It was fun and hard, but now we have the boat in Itajai with five days to get it ready for the next leg.

Foxall and Torrado were joined by Andres Guerra - one of the team’s Oakcliff Sailing shore team volunteers who also was experienced in sailing along the South American coast; Spencer Loxton from New Zealand who worked and sailed with the team in pre-race training last summer as both shore and sailing crew; and Diego Stefani from Uruguay, who is not only a local professional yachtsman, but also had helped Foxall's former team Groupama when they were dismasted off Argentina in 2012.

Immediately after arriving, the sailing and shore teams removed all the gear from the boat to prepare for the Boatyard staff to remove the jury rig and lift the yacht from the water. Just like the other Volvo Ocean 65s, the Volvo Ocean Race shore team will now give the full service to the boat planned for the stopover which includes an ultrasound scan of the structures to make sure there is no delamination or core sheer.

As all the other teams have now completed their service, the Boatyard crew will focus all their efforts on getting Vestas 11th Hour Racing race ready. The rig was prepped before today's arrival and will be stepped into the boat soon. They will then complete all the necessary structural and load tests on land to ensure the safety of the new rig.

"We have a lot of work ahead of us in the next five days, and it has been a massive team effort to get here," said Torrado. "But we are ready to continue to work hard and get back on the water for the next leg."

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