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Orange II needs Rudder Repair

Since its accidental encounter with an orca at the end of yesterday, the maxi-catamaran Orange II is continuing its course towards the NE while awaiting a sea and wind state that enable it to come to a standstill and make a general inspection of the boat. The main focus of Orange II’s skipper is to send down a diver under the hull to inspect the damaged rudder. According to Yann Penfornis, the boat’s architect : “the impact on the port rudder has provoked delamination across a 30cm area on the leading edge of the rudder. It is the outer carbon skin which is peeling away, so there is no major concern for the moment. The rudder is unlikely to split in two as it made from a single piece of carbon. However, the second carbon skin must not then begin to delaminate. As a result I am moderately optimistic”.
Several solutions are open to Orange’s crew: Work directly on the rudder and carry out the lamination of the zone of impact, underwater. Or remove the rudder, lift it onboard, repair it and then put it back in place. This second solution is not the one retained by Bruno Peyron in principle, as the skipper is seemingly more in favour of an underwater repair. Answer in two days…
For the time being, the giant Orange II is continuing to rack up the miles with an average of 25 knots whilst sailing on port tack, thus putting the stress on the starboard daggerboard and rudder. The damaged rudder is not under any stress at present as a result.

Extract from today’s radio session with Bruno Peyron and Bernard Stamm :

The impact: “There’s nothing we can do while the sea isn’t calm. The zone of calms is forecast in two days. We really hope the rudder will hold until then. We have noticed that the top skin has come away and that the fences have disappeared too. We cannot see if the second layer of fibre is coming away or not. Everyone is keeping a permanent eye on it. We have some resin that sets in the water so we can make repairs underwater. If we decide to dismantle it, we know how to do that too but to get it back together again it would need to be very, very calm. In the open sea, it is never very flat. If we could avoid this man—uvre, it would be much better. We have virtually gone round the world on starboard tack and in two days we will need the port rudder. As a result we are focussing our attention on an underwater solution as soon as we can bring the boat to a stand still.”

Eight and a half day lead over Fossett: “We will certainly go slower, though for the moment we are still going well as we are not using the damaged rudder. We have an eight and a half day lead over Cheyenne and that should increase further still after tomorrow. The boat is structurally intact. The crew is well even though we are tired. Though this problem may slow us up, it won’t prevent us from getting to the end. It’s going to take more than that to stop us! In 1993, we hit two whales with an exploded daggerboard in the same place, and that didn’t stop us picking up the Jules Verne!”

The injured orca: “You’ll have to tell the children that it must have a big bump on its head ! The rudder is half out of the water the whole time and you can clearly see the traces of it where it is deformed and the impact at the front.”

Mentally: “We’re all very well. The level of experience aboard is such that everyone has seen other moments like this. At the time you react without speaking, without losing time. The observation was unanimous and at the same time. The general feeling is that it was a good thing. In the iceberg zone, we managed to get through it intact, in the seaweed zone, we got through unscathed too. We’ve had sail damage and now in we’ve hit something. We consider ourselves lucky that it was an orca weighing a few tonnes and not a 30 tonne whale… You have to find the positive things in these situations!”

Fatigue: “We’ve all felt a bit tired since yesterday. We haven’t stopped since the Horn. We’ve had 40 knots of wind and squalls of up to 50. There is an accumulation of physical and nervous fatigue…Looking back, we see that we’ve been flat out since the start. Normally we make long trip with transition zone. Here though, we’ve swallowed up the transition zones without losing any speed. It’s a different level of fatigue to when we hit the Southern Ocean.”

ETA at the equator: “In three days time, we will continue to use the lift from the depression which is the same as we have been using since Australia. We will continue to use it for two more days as it leads us under the horn of NW Brazil. After that, we enter a transition zone before picking up the classical trade winds again. We are lucky to be able to use this air flow and it will enable us to gain an extra day over Cheyenne over the coming days. The offspin of that is that we can give an ETA at the equator of 5 February at 2300 GMT.”

Bernard Stamm: “The main worry was knowing whether we had broken material or not. When we can see it, we look to check if there is anything missing and if we can feel anything different when helming. It seems fine though. We’ve eased off the pace a little but that’s due to the sea state. We are in an area with a lot of current and messy seas and it’s impossible to go through it at high speed. There are a few of us aboard who know a fair bit about composites. Personally I was a little misfortunate during the Around Alone when I hit something that began to delaminate the hull. I think we’re just going to need to put a new skin on top to stop it haemorrhaging with the resin which works in the water. We can easily do it, even in the open sea or in a place where there is less wind and we can bring the boat to a stand-still.”

Day at sea : 36th
Date : 28/02/2005
Time (GMT) : 1110
Latitude : 38 34.44′ S
Longitude : 47 01.60′ W
Instantaneous speed : 27.3 kts
Instantaneous heading: 16
Average speed : 27.4 kts
Speed over 24 hours : 22.6 kts
Distance over 24 hours : 543 nm
Speed since the start : 23.9 kts
Over distance : 20102 nm
Distance remaining : 5806.90 nm
Gaps on day 35 :
- J.Verne Record : +3975 nm (ahead)
- Outright record : +2854 nm (ahead)

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 28th, 2005 at 1:00 pm and is filed under Main Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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