A 180 degree self-righting test is one of the fundamental safety measures required for the double-handed, Class40 entries in the Global Ocean Race 2011-12. Yesterday, the GOR’s London-based Italian entry Marco Nannini, successfully passed the event’s mandatory 180 degree inversion test on his 2007 Marc Lombard Design Akilaria Class40 off the Groupama base among Lorient's WW2 submarine silos.
Following Nannini’s participation in the single-handed Route du Rhum last autumn, his boat was shipped back from the Caribbean and has been undergoing a thorough refit in Lorient prior to the 180 test. The refit included installing further lateral ballast tanks to assist self-righting in addition to the two extra bulkheads fitted to the boat in 2008 for Category Zero compliance when the boat raced in the 2008-09 GOR as Team Mowgli with Jeremy Salvesen and David Thomson. For Nannini and Paul Peggs, preparing for the 180 test was five full days of hard work, but on Wednesday morning, their mast-less Class40 had a webbing strop fitted around her keel bulb and the boat was craned upside down.
Inside the boat, Nannini and Peggs began to pump water into the ballast tanks. “We filled the central and forward tanks first, but the boat didn’t seem to be approaching flipping back up,” Nannini reports. Any attempt at rocking the boat to assist self-righting was impeded by lack of space: “We were really restricted in moving about and I don’t really think it would have helped at that stage,” he admits. “We then decided to fill the aft ballast tank and within minutes, the boat rolled back upright,” he confirms. From full inversion, self-righting the 2007 Akilaria took 54 minutes.
Nannini is the fourth GOR entry to pass the inversion test stipulated by the GOR and the Class40 Association for yachts competing in the 31,000 mile GOR circumnavigation. Just under two weeks ago, the GOR French entry of Lionel Regnier and Pierre-Yves Cavan undertook the 180 test on their new Akilaria RC2 shortly after launching the Class40 at the MC-TEC yard in Tunisia, taking 18 minutes to self-right. Last June, Jacques Fournier and Jean-Edouard Criquioche passed the inversion test taking 21 minutes to roll upright following the launch of their new Finot-Conq Design Pogo40S² Groupe Picoty at the Structures yard in Brittany.
Shortly before Christmas, the 24 minute self-righting of Francesco Piva’s Peráspera took place immediately after the launch of the BT Boats-Farr Design Kiwi 40FC in Auckland, New Zealand. “To be totally honest, we would have saved a lot of time if we’d filled the aft tank earlier,” says Nannini. For the duo, the lengthy but faultless preparation for the test proved wise: “The boat was totally watertight and there were no leaks when we were upside down,” he confirms. “There was a tiny amount of diesel from the engine compartment, but nothing more than a couple of small drops,” adds the Italian skipper. “We’ve both learnt a lot from the test and now it’s done and out of the way.”
The GOR 180 test is undertaken under strictly monitored conditions and Josh Hall, Race Director of the GOR, was in Lorient to witness the inversion: “It was great to watch a first generation Class40 successfully complete the 180 test following the system and structural modifications required by Category Zero,” he commented shortly after the boat rolled upright. However, for Hall the 180 inversion is far more than a safety test: “We will ensure that every boat entered in the Global Ocean Race passes this test,” he insists. “The inversion proves that each boat is stable, watertight and capable of self-righting, but the roll-over test also allows the crews to experience and appreciate what conditions may be like in a worst case scenario,” adds the Race Director. “Marco and Paul can now carry on with their busy GOR work-up programme in the knowledge that their boat meets the stringent GOR rules.”
Nannini and Peggs will step the yacht’s new carbon mast on 12 May and deliver the boat to Haslar Marina in the UK followed by a busy corporate sailing programme in June and July. The duo will compete in the Rolex Fastnet Race in August and are scheduled to set off on their 2,000 mile GOR qualifying passage shortly after crossing the Fastnet finish line in Plymouth. For sponsorship opportunities contact Marco through his website here.
See the video here, which hopefully will open faster than other videos we have published recently.... Press the button bottom right in the viewer to watch full screen.