Breathing fire once again
The shore crew have work tirelessly to ensure that all the repairs to Green Dragon were completed on time. After a meticulous re-fit, she was the first boat back in the water exactly seven days after the Dragon finished Leg 1, taking third overall.
“We have had the great opportunity to set up in the custom laid out South African America's Cup base previously inhabited by Team Shosholoza. This so far has been a great advantage and having literally our own boatyard in the race village is a God send particularly for the huge work list we have to achieve in 4-5 days. The shore team have done a fantastic job, working around the clock to ensure that we were fully prepared for the next leg,” said Johnny Smullen, Green Dragon Shore Manager.
The shore team’s job list has comprised of repairing the damage to the keel area, daggerboards and the pulpit, as well as repair and maintenance to the rest of the boat and the sails. There was no structural damage to the boat, allowing the team to focus their time on the repair to the keel.
Once lifted from the water, it was clear that the structural damage to the keel was not as bad has the team had previously thought. The main damage was focused on the leading edge fairing of the keel. This area essentially acts as a bumper for any impact, a sacrificial area on the keel. The keel pin fairing was also lost during the incident (a conical fairing, that fairs the 150mm keel pin). Without this, the boat’s underwater profile is reduced dramatically, which explained 10% loss in speed for the last 2000 miles to Cape Town.
The steering wheel, which took a beating during the collision, has been replaced, along with the starboard dagger board cover plate, pulpit and stanchions on the bow of Green Dragon, as skipper Ian Walker described: “There was a deafening crunch and the boat went from 25 knots to a virtual standstill. Neal, who was helming smashed the wheel and everyone else fell over, To make matters worse at first light today we buried the bow so hard the A6 spinnaker came back and smashed into the pulpit and forward stanchions before ripping to pieces”.
For the sailing team it has been a case of some much needed rest and relaxation after the first leg. The Dragon will now be based on the Race Village pontoon in the V&A Waterfront Cape Town. The start of Leg 2 will be at 1300 (local time, GMT +2) on Saturday, where the crews will race the 4, 450 miles to Cochin in India.