Repairs underway

Following Saturday's ramming by Greenpeace, surgery is now taking place to Le Defi Areva's FRA-69

Wednesday May 22nd 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: France
Following the ramming of Le Defi Areva's new America's Cup Class yacht FRA-69 on Saturday a survey has been carried out to establish the extent of the damage and what work must be done to effect a repair.

The hull of the boat is made of carbon/Nomex sandwich. The carbon inner and outer skins, each around 2mm thick, are separated by the resin-impregnated paper honeycomb core, which has a thickness of 30mm. This creates a hull that is 82ft long but weighs just 2 tonnes.

The area of damage caused by the Greenpeace ramming is 50cm below the starboard chainplate for the shrouds 90 cm below deck level. Between the chainplates and the 20 tonne keel, this area of the hull is highly sensitive. Yesterday a survey was carried out by representatives of the hull's builder Multiplast. Suggested repairs have had to be submitted for approval to Ken McAlphine who is Technical Director of the committee that governs the America's Cup Class rule.

The impact caused the outer skin of the hull to be pushed in, delaminating the carbon fibre skins from the core and crushing the core itself. A repair will consist of cutting out 28 x 12 cm of the inner skin, removing the damaged Nomex, reinforcing the outer skin with a new skin bonded to the inside, fitting a new Nomex panel, and then filling the deformation to return it to its original form.

Repair work has already begun and will take 48 hours to complete. Le Defi says that the actions of the Greenpeace RIB has taken out 5 of the 60 sailing days scheduled before the Louis Vuitton challenge series begins on 1 October.

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