x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Race on to get Azzam shipshape for in-port race and Leg 6

Once Azzam finally arrives at Itajai, Brazil, the team will have scant time to get it ready for the in-port race Saturday and the start of Leg 6 to Miami on Sunday.

When Ian Walker and crew motored in to Puerto Montt, Chile, they had plenty to do to get 'Azzam' ready to be shipped to Itajai, Brazil. Now all they can do is wait on their stricken Volvo Ocean Racer as it makes its way via cargo ship.
When Ian Walker and crew motored in to Puerto Montt, Chile, they had plenty to do to get 'Azzam' ready to be shipped to Itajai, Brazil. Now all they can do is wait on their stricken Volvo Ocean Racer as it makes its way via cargo ship.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing has hired four new boatbuilders to ensure repairs to the racing yacht Azzam are completed as soon as possible.

The boat is being transported to Brazil on a cargo ship and as soon as it arrives in Itajai the shore crew will get down to fixing the hull, which suffered delamination during Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Auckland, New Zealand, forcing its retirement.

The shore crew will use foam and "pre-shaped carbons" which have arrived in surfboard bags for use in the repair, according to the race website.

"Everything is in place now, apart from the final piece of the puzzle, Azzam [itself]," Jamie Boag, the team director, told the website.

"We are ready here in Itajai, nothing more to do," the reserve Emirati sailor and shore-crew member Butti Al Muhairi wrote in a message.

The helmsman/trimmer Simon Fisher, a three-time veteran of the race, wrote about the strangeness of the moment, especially with Itajai's in-port race set for Saturday and the departure for Miami on Leg 6 on Sunday.

Normally, that would mean morning-to-night work in preparation, but for now, the lull has meant such oddities as trips to the beach.

"One of the attractions of the Volvo Ocean Race is that it never ceases to throw out the unexpected, but this can be both good and bad," he wrote.

While the Azzam crew had been "keen to put on a good showing" amid Leg 5's promise of downwind sailing, "The Southern Ocean hasn't been kind to us," he wrote, and from here, "everyone will have to pull together to get the repair done and the boat back on the water in time for the in-port race, but it will be a challenge that everyone will relish, and can look back on with pride when the job is done."

 

cculpepper@thenational.ae

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