AUCKLAND – According to our longtime friend, Richard Gladwell (NZL), the New Zealand editor of Sail-World.com, the repairs to Vestas 11th Hour Racing are underway at Yachting Development Ltd's (YDL) facility in Hobsonville, New Zealand. Richard writes:
A large hull section has been cut from gunnel to keelson (such as exists in composite construction) into which the replacement bow section panel constructed by Persico in their Bergamo facility in northern Italy, will be offered. The section cut away does not include all the damage caused in the collision with an unlit [see note below –TFE] mainland Chinese fishing boat, 30nm from the finish of Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race at Hong Kong. While race organisers are at pains to point out that the repair will be done under the supervision of an independent surveyor, it is difficult to see how any competitive advantage could be achieved with the repair – with the boat weight likely to be increased in a minor way as a result of the repair. If the hull cutout accurately reflects the dimensions of the replacement panel, then there is still significant damage around the panel edge that will need further repair. The repaired Vestas 11th Hour Racing is expected to start Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race on March 18 from Auckland.
Read Richard's full story, a photo essay with other good photos, here.
Note: Richard's piece asserts that the fishing boat was unlit. Sailing Illustrated has not seen an official report one way or the other (lit or unlit). Thanks to several of our Dear Readers who wrote today asking about this. –TFE
Vestas 11th Hour Racing under repair in the Yachting Developments Ltd facility outside Auckland. Photo via Sail-World.com from Vestas 11th Hour Racing.