Just 16 days after dismasting during a training session off the coast of Galicia, the Spanish VO65 MAPFRE is back on the water.
On Saturday 15th April in Lisbon (Portugal), home of the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard, and where the new mast was fitted, the VO65 was out on the water undertaking its first tests.
On the afternoon of 30th March, MAPFRE was sailing in a training session close to the Island of Ons (Pontevedra) with 25 knots (46.3 km/h) of wind and 4-metre waves, when the mast, (the same the boat sailed with in the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15), snapped just below the first spreader. Once the team had ensured the crew was safe and without injury, they began an arduous two-hour task to bring the boat under control and recover the broken parts of the mast and sails, before returning without assistance to Sanxenxo, the Spanish team’s base.
Two day’s later, on 2nd April MAPFRE was transported from Sanxenxo to Lisbon where both the Spanish team and the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard’s shore crews were waiting to initiate the refit of the new mast, manfuactured in New Zealand.
“After a seven-day refit, the new mast is now ready and looking really good,” confirmed Antonio “Talpi” Piris, MAPFRE’s shore crew manager.
Besides the work on the new mast in Lisbon, repairs were also undertaken to the hull, keel, daggerboards and rudders, which were damaged in the dismasting, “The boat was brought to Lisbon to repair the damage that the broken mast caused from hitting the bulb and rudders,” explained Piris, “the hull has also been given a thorough revision, and repairs made to the more superficial damage, for example the scratches on the paintwork that the broken rig caused to the starboard side of the boat.”
MAPFRE’s shore crew manager also outlined the additional repairs undertaken, “the starboard daggerboard underwent a lot of damage, so has been removed and replaced. The boom also received a blow that had to be repaired, and is now ready. The spare main sail has been altered to fit the shape of the new mast, and the new sails are also ready for testing on the water.”
“In general, everything has gone really well,” concluded Piris, “The collaboration between our team and the staff at the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard was very productive, as we have been able to stick to the timeline that we established following the incident.”
Following the refit of the new mast, the boat was back on the water and today initiated its first sailing tests to ensure that everything was working as expected. The boat was out for eight hours’ sailing off the coast of Lisbon and along the River Tagus.
“Today we have sailed for the first time with the sails and are really happy. Our shore crew and the Volvo Ocean Race team have done an incredible job; impeccable and really fast.”
The sailor from Cantabria also explained where the dismasting had happened, and how the team has incorporated it into their agenda,
“We were lucky that the mast broke when it did, because we were close to all these facilities, and it has hardly affected our schedule. We have only lost three days of offshore training that we are now going to recover in the second session, so we can be one hundred percent ready, and prepared for the race to the very best of our ability.”
The next step for the Spanish team is to continue testing all the new material, before they begin with the second round of offshore training on the 18th April,
“We will sail for two nights in the Atlantic before heading back to Sanxenxo, so we can also try out some new people for the team.”
by MAPFRE – Volvo Ocean Race