VENDEE GLOBE – Bernard Stamm’s team say the skipper of Cheminées Poujoulat is nearly ready to leave Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island and make his return to the Vendée Globe race course.
Seeking to find a safe anchorage and decent weather to make his repairs, keynote being his hydrogenerators, Stamm arrived off Dunedin very early yesterday morning, 26th December.
His team make the point that Stamm’s concern about his ability to make electricity has bothered him since the Portuguese coast, within the first few days of the race. The situation became critical to the point that Stamm did not want to cross the Pacific without a power source. Hence he diverted and stopped off on 23rd December in the Auckland Islands. The precisions of repair operations were set, theoretically, by Stamm’s boat captain Gautier Levisse
“ At the start of the Sables d’Olonne, the hydrogenerators were mounted on little trucks on a track to raise and lower them out of the water. And we supported them with chainplates. Off Portugal one of the chainplates was damaged and so broke the track. And then the second also broke. We tried to remove the U-bolts and fix them firmly with lashings. And that took time for Bernard, but the hydros were still too loose. There was some cavitation – air being drawn in and preventing the propellors working right. The only alternative was cutting the transom.”
The level of delicacy and relative precision really left Stamm with no choice but to stop. He halted on the morning of 23rd December in the north of the Aucland Islands. He attacked the first hydrogenerator but a reinforcement of the cut was needed with some lamination and bonding. It was a complicated process. And, Stamm’s team report, his materials were limited and increasingly the weather – incessant rain – became an issue especially for trying to sand the material on the transom and getting epoxy to bond and set. In the end the odds really stacked up against him and with a gale arriving he had no choice but to move, especially considering the strong winds could push Cheminées Poujoulat on to the beach, a fate which had befallen Stamm during the 2008-9 race in the Kerguelen Islands. So he set sail for New Zealand’s South Island.
Stamm anchored at two different locations off Dunedin, moving last night due to a change in wind, but also allowing him to try one of the repaired hydrogenerators. And since yesterday he has been fixing the second unit.
“He’s been trying be protected from wind and waves to work in the best possible conditions, even if everything is relative. In between times, waiting for resins to set he has been taking care of the smaller problems. He should go after daybreak local time, tonight is for us in Europe. ” concludes Gautier Levisse.
Bernard’s team paid a warm tribute to Sophie Luther who lives locally who has helped with sending images and with local media contacts