The repairs to the maxi cat Orange may have been repaired but will she last another violent beating?

Although the latest news from the maxi-cat Orange reveals she’s been suffering from delamination problems and cracked inside bulkheads, the crew are satisfied with the repair work that’s been carried out and are happy to continue with their attempt at the Jules Verne Challenge.

According to Bruno Peyron, the skipper, the construction problems were a direct result of the violent slamming the boat encountered during the Indian Ocean storms last week. “After diagnostic, reflection, and repair, this ‘little problem that could have had more serious consequences,’ has now been sorted out and Orange will be able to get back in to her stride and really show how she can perform,” commented Peyron.

The delamination of part of the aft beam fairing 2.5 metres from the port hull and the two cracked bulkheads were in an area that takes the full impact of the waves. Peyron added: “It must have happened when we were pushing a bit too hard in the crossed seaway on the continental shelf to the south of Africa and beating just before the Kerguelens.”

Fortunately because the damage was was spotted at the early stages during one of the systematic check-ups, it didn’t get any worse and repair work was carried out immediately by Yves Le Blevec and Philippe Péché. They started by cleaning the zone, laminating a patch inside the beam, then repaired the cracked bulkheads. Yves made a new part in carbon that he applied on the outside of the beam. This was then bolted and bonded with a carbon backing piece on the inside.

Sounds simple enough but it took 20 hours to sort out and in 20 knots of winds in a crossed seaway and with an air temperature of around 7 or 8°C, conditions couldn’t have been much worse.

Peyron added: “We’ll have to keep an eye on the weakened zone, and lift our foot off a bit until we feel comfortable with it. The prevailing westerly is continuing and our course is good. Today we’ve got about 30 knots of wind and we’re under either a full main or with one reef and the storm spinnaker.”