Vendée Globe : Final work on Safran before the long voyage
Friday, 10 August 2012
Since 20th July, the Safran monohull has been benefiting from a final bit of work in the yard before the Vendée Globe. Thierry Brault is in charge of the whole of the Safran Sailing Team, as they carry out a series of final checks, pampering her and making some slight modifications to make her easier to handle before the big day and the start of the round the world voyage in 90 days from now.
Fine-tuning and ensuring reliability. The watchwords remain the same, but since 20th July, everyone knows that this final summer visit to the yard will be the last chance to take care of Safran before she is set free to sail around the world for three months. In La Trinité-sur-Mer, the Safran Sailing Team is carrying out the final important operations. The relaunch is scheduled for later in August. “This is not a major refit with huge modifications,” explained Thierry Brault, “It’s a matter of running through final checks on board the boat and giving the new mast a thorough check up. We are also making another fine adjustment to the rudder and applying a coat of anti-fouling to the hull.”
A complete check-up
Special attention is being paid to the new mast, whose woven 3D track and other sensitive areas have been checked using ultrasound by Herakles, a company within the Safran Group. “We’re taking advantage of this work to check over everything that risks become unscrewed with all the vibrations on board for three months,” added Thierry. Removing any doubt, ensuring reliability, while thinking about performance and safety. Once again, these are the familiar guiding principles.
In Vendée Globe configuration
There are indeed special considerations that need to be looked at due to the length of the Everest of sailing. It is, for example, necessary to establish a precise list of “all the spare equipment that has gone aboard,” (replacement parts, editor’s note). “We also need to look at whether we ought to put another wind turbine, reserve hydrogenerator and spare antenna aboard, etc…” As for the work being carried out, there is nothing revolutionary. “The modifications are chiefly down to making her easier to handle.” For example, they are fitting a new cover to the coach roof, a sort of flexible tent, reinforced with kevlar, which extends beyond the roof and will offer Marc Guillemot better shelter from the sea spray. “It is longer, covers a bigger area and offers more protection than the previous one. These are little things that Marc asked for after his trips out to sea.” A more efficient heater is also being fitted to help keep him warm in the chilly temperatures around Antarctica. The old one worked on diesel, while this one is electric. It became possible to fit this, after improvements were made to the electricity supply system on the boat thanks to the hydrogenerators. In other words, he will no longer have to keep the engine running to use the heater on board. And of course, there are some other little improvements, such as a system that means he can change the wind vane at the top of the mast using one hand and without requiring the use of any special tools. It may seem like a detail, but in such a high performance sport, the best results are often down to such minor details. And there are only 90 days to go to the start…
Last Updated ( Friday, 10 August 2012 )