While the sailors take the chance for some down time in Lorient to nurse their aching bodies after the tumult of Leg 8, the six shore crews swung into action virtually from the moment the boats arrived and have been working through their check lists ever since.
Under the rules of the race, the teams are prohibited from craning their boats ashore during the Lorient stopover, meaning any repairs must be carried out afloat.
Nevertheless, Telefónica and Abu Dhabi have made formal requests for permission to take their boats out of the water for repairs and Groupama have requested permission to unstep their mast to work on it.
CAMPER shore crew member Stuart McLachlan said he was amazed that their boat had come through the storm relatively unscathed.
“Based on what we saw on the videos coming off the boats we have been blown away by how the boat has come back in such good condition from that leg,” he said.
“Actually the guys have come off worse. A lot of them are achy and sore but the boat itself has held up well.”
McLachlan said the CAMPER shore team had plenty to keep them busy checking and rechecking the ropes, mast, hull, keel, rudders and complex mechanical systems on board.
“The boat is fairly good shape,” he said. “The boys looked after her pretty well for us. Like always though there are plenty of things to check over and we are getting on with all that right now."
Sanya’s shore team had to do some lateral thinking to replace the small underwater cover on their starboard dagger board case -- a simple process when the boat is in its cradle, but more tricky tied up on the pontoon in the Lorient Race Village.
“We have a bit of a problem with the daggerboard door and the surrounding plate where the force of the water has ripped part of it off,” explained Regan McGrath. “So we have had to get the old one off and make a new one, but we are not able to come out of the water here in Lorient so we have had to improvise the best we can to get this repair done.
“Basically we have been able to lean the boat over far enough to get the damaged area just clear of the water,” he said. “We canted the keel to lean the boat and then put a halyard off the top off the mast as well to careen the affected area out of the water as much as we can.
“It’s tight but using a small inflatable boat we have got just enough room to do the repair. In two or three days' time, after we roll some paint on, she should be good to go.”
Aside from an issue at the top of their mast Groupama have reported no other significant issues for their shore crew to sort out.
“The jury must decide if we can take the mast down to work on it,” said shore team boss Ben Wright. “In the meantime we are checking everything, especially after the last two days at sea.
“We saw images and spoke with the sailors – it was very, very tough and they really pushed hard. I think everyone is surprised how well the boats’ structures hold up.
“We have to check everything – appendages, inside structure, longitudinals, the mast foot. We have found some slight delamination due to the stacking and the war with the ocean, but overall nothing big."
Wright said the mast could be a bigger issue depending on whether the jury grants permission to crane it out of the boat.
“We know there is a problem with the main sail system at the top," he said. “We are now looking at the repair options. The rules say you cannot take the boat out of the water and you cannot take the mast down in Lorient.
“So we asked the jury if we can take it down and we are waiting for their answer.”
Similarly, Team Telefónica shore operations boss Horacio Carabelli said the Spanish team were also waiting for the jury to decide if they will be allowed to crane their boat ashore to replace their broken rudders from Leg 8.
“We are still trying to work out why the rudders failed,” he said. “We are looking at the data from the boat, the speeds and the rudder angles, to try to establish what happened.
“But right now we are waiting for the jury to answer our request to haul the boat out to replace the rudders. Once we have their answer we will know what options we have.”
The teams have less than two weeks to get their boats back to full racing trim before the next points-scoring opportunities -- the Lorient In-Port Race on June 30 and Leg 9 starting on July 1.