While Jean-Pierre Dick and Virbac-Paprec will join Foncia on the way to Brazil for a repair stop (Dick’s traveler pulled out), Ryan Breymaier gets to work with a grinder, some goop and a video camera to repair the shattered hydrogenerator they depend on for all their power for their Barcelona World Race bid. I wonder if JP wishes he took Ryan instead of Loick?
Meanwhile, the pit stops for the two leaders have turned this race into a massive drama that just gets more fun to watch every day. And the two nicest guys on the planet – Pepe and Alex on Estrella Damm – will become the new leaders when the French hit Recife, while the American/German dream team of Ryan and Boris on Neutrogena should take over fourth place or better. F&*king righteous!
Remember that every morning at 0600 EDT you can check out an hours worth of trilingual videoconferences from the boats, even asking your own questions. Look for the little “LIVE” button on the right side of the BWR home page.
Here’s the story from Ryan, with the video below.
We were sailing along 2 days ago in 25-30 knots of breeze with the kite up.This meant a boatspeed of 20 knts. I had just put the hydro in the water to charge the batteries, and we heard a bang bang BANG… The hydrogenerator is a machine that looks like a small outboard motor, with a 3 blade propeller about 5" diameter, that functions in reverse. When it is in the water, the force of the flow over the blades turns them and it produces electricity, ALOT of electricity. Immediately Boris and I thought of the rudder. But no,we found the hydro hanging by its dyneema up/down lines. Whatever we hit was big enough to shatter the front of the carbon foil that holds the hydro,split it vertically as well, and rip the "cassette" (piece that holds the head of the hydro to the mounting bracket on the boat) hinges completely in half.
First step was to get this whole assembly off the back of the boat while surfing along, harnessed on and crouching on the stern scoop, which is about6" wide but also has the steering bars. Talk about hanging 10!
In the photos you can see the damage to the front of the hydro, which meant that we were in danger of losing the whole unit that produces electricity(the cylinder at the bottom). To repair this, I ground away all the gelcoatand damaged carbon, filled the big holes with tissue paper and resin just to have a good shape for later when we put it back in the water, then laminated a couple layers of biaxial carbon on, around the foil and as well around the front of the Hydo, o keep it from moving and to give it back its hydrodynamic shape. This was not smooth enough to be in the water all the way around the world, so I sanded it smooth and painted a coat of resin on to make it slippery for the water flow.
At the same time, I was repairing the cassette. The hinges are made in composite- that is you have a metal spool that rides on the hinge pin, and fiberglass strapping going around the spool and on to the cassette itself hold them in place. When we hit the ufo, "unidentified floating object", the force was enough to destroy the strapping around both spools, top and bottom. First step was grinding off all the old glue and fiberglass from the first hinge strappings. The alignment of the two spools vertically and in distance apart is absolutely critical, or else the cassette cannot pivot, soothe next step was to de mount the bracket on the back of the boat, and delicately re glue the broken hinge strappings back onto the metal spools,which were held perfectly in place by their pins. Then, very gingerly, we removed the pins, leaving the spools held in perfect alignment by the glue,and proceeded to put new strapping around them, about twice as thick as before. All of this is now complete, we waited to for sika to drywhere it is used to plug wire holes on the hydro, then we put it in place again on the transom. FINGERS CROSSED that it keeps working!