Ericsson Racing Team successfully passes inversion test with crew members aboard

As part of the official Volvo Ocean Race qualification process, the Ericsson Volvo Open 70 performed its 180-degree inversion/ self righting test over the weekend, in the Spanish waters of her training base in Vigo. The inversion was made all the more extraordinary by the fact that four Ericsson Racing Team crewmembers, including skipper Neal McDonald (GBR), were onboard for the impressive nautical stunt.

The test took place at 1700 on Sunday 25 September, after mast, boom, rigging and electronic equipment were removed from the Ericsson yacht. Once in self-righting condition the vessel measuring 21.5 m in length, was flipped upside down using a crane attached to the bulb of the canting keel.

Once fully inverted, the crane was detached and crewmembers inside were responsible for manually righting the yacht. Richard Mason (AUS) was given the tough task of hand pumping oil inside the hydraulic cylinder in order to cant the keel and return the yacht to the normal upright position. The whole process took a matter of minutes.

McDonald commented on the inversion experience: “That was a weird sensation. We all seem to be dry. I hope it’s the last time we do it though – I have to say I wouldn’t like to do it in reality. It’s very disorientating and hard to know which way is up and which way is towards starboard, so there are lessons to be learnt.”

James Dadd, Chief Measurer of the Volvo Open 70 Class witnessed the exercise. Dadd commented: “It is one of the simple safety requirements to ensure the canting keel system works whilst the yacht is inverted and that the crew knows how to use the keel mechanism when the boat is upside down. It is also important to ensure that any heavy intense equipment, such as battery and engines, stays in place when the boat is inverted.”

Fellow teammates Tom Braidwood (AUS) and Magnus Woxén (SWE, in charge of media onboard Ericsson), were also inside the yacht and Woxén managed to capture the process on camera.

The Ericsson yacht has now been hoisted out of the water to undergo a final overhaul and get her in full racing mode, ready for the first inshore race on 5 November.