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15 November 2004, 09:28 am
Technical Team Get Down to Business
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Global Challenge 2004/5
Buenos Aires

The web team caught up with Matthew RATSEY, Technical Director for Challenge Business, out in Buenos Aires.
Now that the yachts are all in, and the teams have dispersed to their various free-time pursuits, the Technical Team can really get down to task. Already you have heard that all the sails that need fixing are off the yachts. Of these, Matthew says, "We have a big stack of spinnakers… about 10 1.5oz spinnakers and 5 or 6 2.2oz flankers - more or less what you would expect on this sort of leg." This is the fourth Global Challenge, so experience helps with predictions of breakages.

"Overall, technically, we have no real dramas. We have of course got the two yachts that experienced lightning strikes, which we have had to fix" Matthew explained.

Apparently the strike on Spirit of Sark fried a circuit board in the masthead unit of their wind instruments. This was easily replaced when they arrived in port. The strike on Team Save the Children at the end of the leg was probably more direct; as it actually zapped the wind aerial/anemometer right off, leaving just the fried end!

All the parts required to fix these problems, and others sustained, have been brought over as spares in a container. It contains everything from nuts and bolts to spare masts.

The riggers are thoroughly checking out the standing rig of each yacht. In addition, all of the lines (ropes) onboard are being inspected. With regards to the spinnaker sheets (the ones that affix to the bottom corners of the sail), there is more damage than Challenge Business might have wanted, but not an extraordinary amount.

The Technical Team will also service every yacht's generator and watermaker. The yachts that still had niggles with their watermaker at the end of the leg have had them resolved, so hopefully they shouldn't have any problems on the next leg. Watermakers are always one of the most temperamental pieces of equipment on a yacht.

At the moment the weather is dull and overcast (as it is Spring in Buenos Aires), so the shore team aren't picking up any suntans while working!

Kerry Dye (As Amended by ISAF)
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