Abu Dhabi’s VOR boat Azzzam out of water in Sanya for complete overhaul
Technical shore team manager Mike Danks said seeing Azzam precariously hoisted almost 10 metres in the air by one lifting point, the keel frame, was a heart in the throat moment.
"It does make you nervous seeing your boat up in the air," he said. "One slip and you’re in a whole world of pain.
"Once she hits that water there’s work to be done. The rig is the next to go, that takes a couple of hours to put in and set up, then we run all the ropes, put the dagger boards back in, then the boom and tonight we’ll put the main on so the boat’s ready for yachting tomorrow."
The calm waters of Sanya Bay are creating the perfect platform for stepping the rig, which has not been quite so easy at previous ports including Alicante and Abu Dhabi where the marinas tended to be choppy.
Azzam is the last of the six Volvo Open 70s to be returned to the water after more than a week’s meticulous work by the shore teams.
Danks said his team, including five boat builders, two riggers, one electrician, two sail makers, one sail designer, an engineer and "a winch guy", have been working 12-hour days to get Azzam ready.
The team have had no major repair work to do, with bubbling paint on the hull the most time consuming job they have faced.
"It’s just been general maintenance and a bit of bottom painting," Danks said.
Once the rig is complete there are only a few more checks to be done and Azzam will be ready to take on the Sanya Haitang Bay In-Port Race on February 18 and the Leg 4 race to Auckland, which starts on February 19.
"There’s a few jobs we can’t get done until she’s back in the water. We’ll cant the keel a few times to make sure that’s ticking,” he said. "It’s just a matter of bringing her back to life."
The DHL Shore Crew Award will be announced on Thursday. The previous winners in this race are Team Sanya for Leg 1 and PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG for Leg 2.