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23 February 2005, 04:31 pm
Geronimo Update - Damage Report From Australia
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Oryx Quest 2005
Freemantle, Australia

Just as dawn was breaking this morning, the massive trimaran Geronimo made landfall in Fremantle, Western Australia, to begin the work necessary to repair damage the boat sustained five days ago when it was pounding upwind in the southeast trades.
Before reaching land skipper Olivier de KERSAUSON touched on how difficult it is going to be to get the boat repaired in time to still remain competitive in the race.

'Time is running through our fingers like sand', he said. 'This persuasive and realistic image is all too real out on the water. The other Oryx Quest competitors are now galloping away at some speed, and every hour that passes makes the race against the pitiless clock even more of a challenge.' The boat docked around 04:00 local time and work started immediately. Here is an update from Australia.

'Thanks to the skill and fantastic commitment of the Fremantle Sailing Club and its members who provided Geronimo's crew with five RIB's and the club's tug, the massive Capgemini/Schneider Electric trimaran has been towed safely into the marina and finally moored alongside a 40-metre stretch of quayside at the centre of the club. Thanks to the enormous amount of human, technical and logistics resources put in place by the Milner boatyard and the Swiss composite materials (carbon fibre) specialist Patrice Allaz, work began immediately on the cracked starboard crossbeam that forced Geronimo off her racing track and into the Australian port for an enforced stopover.

By 05:00 (local time): The crossbeam had already been dried by the three Australian technicians, with assistance from most of Geronimo's crew, including Olivier de Kersauson's mate Didier Ragot.

By 06:00 Using a vacuum pump, the gaping hole in the crossbeam was dry.

By 07:00 The technical team had begun to strip away the outer layers, opening and enlarging the hole to conduct a minute examination of the damaged fabric. Using an ultrasound scanner, Patrice Allaz scanned the area to measure the extent of the damage and, more particularly, any sign of delamination.

By 10:00 The diagnosis was complete: 'Without a shadow of a doubt, Geronimo has had a violent collision with a solid object - probably a tree trunk - which has had the effect of penetrating the arch of the starboard crossbeam right through to the pure carbon fibre core (4-5 cm thick). The outer fairing is burst, crushed and split over an area 30 cm wide and 60 cm high',
explained Patrice ALLAZ.

By 12:00: The repair work had been scheduled: rebuild the inner skin, replace and profile the Airex foam, cure the carbon fibre (plus polymerisation) and finally, assuming all goes well during these demanding initial phases, rebuild the external skin of the crossbeam.

It's a big and demanding job and no one can yet be sure how long it will take. Stand by the Oryx Quest 2005 website for more updates as they are received.

Brian Hancock (As Amended by ISAF)
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