Seems like just yesterday Ellen McArthur christened Ocean Planet, but it was last April, a year and four months ago….my, how time flies.
Much of that time has been spent in boatyards, on both sides of the country, working, working, working. That’s what it takes to get a boat ready to sail around the world.
As reported earlier today, last night we stuffed the boat into the travelift haulout pit for yet another haulout, albeit just for the night, and I do mean stuffed, The water wasn’t quite deep enough, and we had go full throttle into the mud to get in there…
Dick Horn, the IMS and Americap measurer from San Francisco was here to do the final measurements for the IMOCA safety rules. That’s why we had to get out of the water again (while he is here, he also measured “Bayer Acensia” and “Everest Horizontal), but that’s not all we had to do.
Turns out that we had some very bizarre dings in the hull that obviously took a fair bit of force, in addition to the bulb at the bottom of the keel being scraped up from being shoved through the muck. For the bulb we wetsanded, toweled it dry and put on some more bottom paint (all we had time for, for now). But on the hull dings, the process meant a long night of work. Here are some of the dings after initial digging out:
Whatever hit us did it hard enough to squish the outer layer of wood, but was stopped cold by our layer of kevlar just underneath the wood, preventing any penetration into the foam core. Just like it was supposed to, good test! Here Gilles Campan, ex-patriot French sailor and repairman extraordinaire cleans out the dings further before sealing with MAS low-viscosity resin (this resin is the best thing for sealing the damaged wood so that no water will get into it):
Then we dry the whole area out with heat guns while we ran out for a quick dinner:
While all this was happening some volunteers were wetsanding the keel and bulb preparing for touch up paint. Later I took this shot, just because I thought it looked cool at night…..
Anyway, after all this the end result is that by morning we had the spots filled and painted in time to relaunch at 5 a.m. at high tide. Unfortunatly, it wasn’t high enough and we were stuck again in the haulout pit. So we hooked the masthead halyard to a yard forklift, heeled the boat way over and drug her out. Not fun, as I could feel us scraping up the bulb again after all our work! Sheesh! But that wasn’t the end of the heeling for the day.
The last safety test for IMOCA is the 90 degree heeling test where they measure how much force it takes to hold the boat heeled at 90 degrees. The amount of force is used in calculations by an IMOCA engineer to figure out the “AVS” (Angle of Vanishing Stability), which must be a minimum of 125 degrees. Ocean Planet is WAY over the minimum, but we had to do the test anyway, as well as all the other Open 60’s. Of course this was a good opportunity for me to see what we did to our paint job on the bulb with our trek through the boatyard goo:
Yes, it is scratched up, but it is not that big a deal and we don’t want to keep going in and out of the water forever. Eight days isn’t much and there’s a lot to do!
Tuckered out but impossible to stop,
Remember, if you don’t want these updates let us know and we’ll take you off the list right away. Starting Sept 15th (the day of the official start from NY), I will TRY to do the updates daily…