Trying to repair a yacht to racing standards is a nerve-wracking experience, as these VOR case histories prove
‘We were sinking,’ came the initial report from Ericsson 3 following the discovery of a large volume of water that had flooded the forward compartment, forward of the water tight bulkhead.
After a difficult night in steep seas in up to 40 knots of wind and with her mainsail on the verge of disintegrating, the E3 crew discovered the bow compartment full of water. Once the area was pumped and bailed dry, the crew discovered a 400mm longitudinal crack in the hull.
The hull around this area had become soft after the sandwich core had sheered. At the time the mode of failure was irrelevant. All that mattered was that the hull was soft and moving with the waves.
Once the water was out, bunks were cut up and used to brace the bow, but the team wasn’t out of the woods.
“I’m sitting in my survival suit and all the safety equipment is ready up on deck. If the sea state gets worse again, the reinforcement will most probably crack and the boat will go down quick,” reported Morin, emphasising the scale of the problem and concern of the crew.
“The replacement panel that we made for the damaged area extends down from the waterline and runs around to the centreline of the underside of the hull and is around 3m long,” said builder Killian Bushe two weeks later and following the crews inspection of the damage.
“The panel had delaminated and the crew had been sailing on it for five or six hours which pounded it to pieces. Once they had suffered delamination and the panel started flexing, the two light skins then bent back and forth with each wave until the they finally went to pieces.
“We think there’s evidence to suggest that E3 landed on something that caused this damage as there are impact marks in the hull.”