The multihull will be in Cape Town for at least a week before being able to set sail

Structural analysis of Groupama 3’s damage confirm that it will take at least a week’s work before the trimaran can head out to sea again, bound for Brest, for a new stand-by period set to begin on 1 January 2010.

Benefiting from technical means available in the Shosholoza base (32nd America’s Cup team), Pierre Tissier, Sandy Blanalt, Sarah Lynch and Eric Beylot are all working on Groupama 3’s port float. In a dry heat, which is favourable for working on carbon, they have begun by cutting out the faulty bulkhead and then constructing its replacement: “It’s never easy to work in such a confined space. Luckily this bulkhead is very close to the access hatch though. This enables us to poke our heads out into the fresh air on a regular basis. It certainly is hot though!” explained Eric Beylot.

Three infra-red analysis specialists have inspected the affected zone without finding any side-effects. This is a good thing according to skipper Franck Cammas, who is in regular contact with his design office: “By running the data through their computers again, they’ve realised that the load case which concerns us today was not intended to exceed six tonnes. The sailing conditions we endured very certainly produced greater stresses than that. This is why we’re also going to reinforce the equivalent bulkhead on the starboard float,” explained Franck.

As far as the rest of Groupama 3 is concerned, she is in perfect condition: ‘It’s clear that in order to stand a chance of beating [the record], we’re going to have to go fast. We’re also going to have to go far, which we haven’t managed to do to date. It’s now down to us to prove we’re capable of that. From the moment the damage occurred, the whole crew have expressed their commitment to this. I’m proud of them and also proud of Groupama 3, which is an excellent boat.”

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