Telefonica lifted off the water in Sanya, restored into top forms
The Spanish boat is now busy preparing for the next in-shore race and for the upcoming fourth leg of the round the world regatta
"Telefónica" reached Sanya, the People's Rebublic of China's southernmost city on Saturday February 4th and just a few hours later the yacht itself was already off the water. That was a couple of days ago and since then the shore crew have been all hands on deck to get the Volvo Ocean Race's leading VO 70 back to top form.
Eight days off the water
The Team Telefónica shore crew will put eight days into resolving any issues off the water. According to the team's Technical Director and the man in charge of the shore crew, Horacio Carabelli, that will be enough time to get all of the jobs on their list done.
On the one hand they've been getting down to the normal checking-over of the boat carried out after each leg: "Bringing the mast down – we completely take it apart, spreaders, stays, halyards, the lot. The keel is also checked in detail, as well as the hydraulics and then everything is put back together and ultrasound testing is carried out on the whole structure", explains Carabelli.
On the other hand there are also the two gear issues occurring during the third leg to be tended to; the jib damage on the first stage of the leg to Sharjah (UAE) and then the boom tensioner issue upon departure from Malé (Maldives).
"Despite the incident at the start, which was quite worrying, the crew did a great job and resolved the boom problem, which could have turned into something critical and may have even resulted in a broken boom which would, in turn, have cost us the leg", said Carabelli.
"We are going to put a new tensioner in, which is the spare we've got with us. Due to the failure of this piece gear we are going to modify the specifications of the part somewhat to make it stronger than it was before. It's ready to be installed and tomorrow everything will be back in place", confirmed the Brazilian.
Perhaps much to the contrary of Western general knowledge, Sanya is positioned in an area with a tropical climate. At this time of year, the coldest period, average temperatures are around 22ºC, which means that this is a tourist hotspot in China with lots of Russian visitors also holidaying here. There is something of a language barrier, with very few people speaking English and even non-verbal communication between Westerners and Asians can be tricky because it's totally different.
Getting around the city in this context is therefore not as straightforward as it might be, and when it comes to fixing parts for a Volvo Open 70, it becomes even trickier.
"Our containers are pretty well-supplied with spare parts but you always need other bits and here you just can't get them", explained Carabelli. This has meant that they've been forced into transporting parts and materials from Spain and other European countries.
Work on the sails
There's no doubt that this has been one of the most difficult legs so far for the "Telefónica" crew and the crew has had to work 110% to take the third consecutive offshore victory. Now, at a calmer pace, it's time to carry out mindful repairs and that's why working on the sails is crucial.
Horacio Carabelli explains: "When a sail breaks the structure contains fibres which go in a certain direction. A large part of that sail is cut away, which is used and partly stretched and another section of sail is also used which is also stretched. That way the repair is more even. If you used new sail material instead of used fabric there would be a difference in tensions that would affect the shape of the sail. What we've done is make the most of one used and stretched sail and another, so that both pieces will work together in the same way". Talking about the solution employed, Carabelli added: "The sail has been put aside, as we won't use it for racing any more, but the piece it needs will be replaced with a new one. There will be some variation to its shape but it doesn't matter to us because we'll use it for training. The racing sail will be shaped how we need it to be performance-wise"
12 days until it's back to racing
In just 12 days, on the 18th of February at 14:00 local time (06:00 UTC) the fourth in-shore race of this edition of the regatta will take place. There will be more points in play and another opportunity to improve on the in-shore racing.
"Two days before the training race the crew will be able to go out sailing in the knowledge that all of the jobs have been carried out correctly. Overall the team on shore have done a great job, right from the building of the boat so the problems have been minimal", concluded Carabelli.
OVERALL PROVISIONAL STANDINGS. Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012.
1. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), 95 points
2. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), 80 points
3. Groupama Sailing Team (Franck Cammas), 71 points
4. Puma powered by Berg (Ken Read), 48 points
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), 39 points
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), 16 points
Media Team Telefónica