Camper's ring frame collapse

Photos: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
Shore Manager Neil Cox talks us through the problem that forced them to Puerto Montt
Camper is due into Itajai imminently following her pitstop in Chile. At the 0955 UTC sched she had 242 miles to go to reach the Volvo Ocean Race’s Brazilian stopover. The structural damage that occurred mid to the Team New Zealand-crewed boat as she was mid-Southern Ocean was the collapse of a ring frame in the mid-bow area. While this was nominally non-structural, according to Shore Manager Neil Cox, it did offer support for the longitudinals running the length of the boat that are. Their massive diversion to Puerto Montt in Chile was for the exact same reasons as Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, based on the remoteness of their location, as far away from land as it is possible to be on the planet. As Cox explains: “Although it never propagated into being at a critical point, to think that they were still 3000 miles from the Horn and the weather window that was there...weighing up the options would you gamble getting to Ushuaia and then making a repair there and being lucky enough to get around the corner? Or would you just get to Porto Montt? Everything just led to the safety of the boat and crew to go to Puerto Montt.” Fortunately with the weight of an America’s Cup team behind them, complete with in-house designers, Cox says they could work with the Team New Zealand engineers (Giovanni Belgrano) who carried out FEA modelling to investigate what would happen to the hull without the ring frame, if the ring frame partially failed, or, if matters got worse, one or both of the longitudinals failed. “We were pretty well versed in knowing what was happening. We even had the crew measure the deflection in the hull, knowing that it was going to cycle through a million times by the time the boat