How to resurrect a wrecked boat thanks to a Bergamo boatyard


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imageAfter the unbelievable incident that befell Team Vestas during the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race (which saw the Danes run aground on a reef off Mauritius), hopes of seeing Chris Nicholson and co. back in the running again at the 2014/15 World Tour were all but nil. But, if all goes as it should, Vestas will re-enter the race in June to take part in the last two stages of the VOR. To make the miracle possible will try the Persico shipyard in Nembro (Bergamo), where the rebuilding of the hull will take place.

At a press conference in Abu Dhabi, Team Vestas Wind management confirmed plans to rebuild the boat with a view to a possible return to racing by June. The Danish team’s boat, which was severely damaged when it ran aground on the St. Brandon reef during the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race last Nov. 29, was recovered from the atoll and taken aboard a Maersk Line cargo ship to Malaysia, where it is currently undergoing checks and inspections, before traveling to Italy and the Persico shipyard in Bergamo, Italy, where it will be rebuilt.

The team’s Australian skipper, Chris Nicholson said during the meeting that he was confident that the condition of the hull could allow for rebuilding and a return to racing before the conclusion of the round-the-world race, possibly for the Lisbon leg. This is, of course, a very difficult project, as Team Vestas Wind CEO Morten Albæek pointed out, but the hope is to be able to compete again in this 12th edition of the event by participating in the last two stages. “Vestas is a company that is used to working under pressure; we are used to comebacks. For us, this has become a race to get back in the race.” Also alongside the Danish company is the team’s other sponsor, Powerhouse. “Powerhouse and is more committed than ever to return,” confirmed Patrick Lammers, representing the company.

Over the next few days a team of experts will assess the condition of the boat in Malaysia to see how much of it can be used to begin the rebuilding of what will in effect be a new hull. Next, the boat will be loaded onto a Maersk Line ship, one of the regatta partners, to be transported to Italy, at the Persico shipyard in Bergamo, where a specific facility has been set up for processing. Normally the construction of a new Volvo Ocean 65 takes more than eight months, but Team Vestas Wind and the Italian company at the top of the world boating market aim to take about half that time.

Nicholson, after weeks of hard work and very intense emotions, explained that:“We managed to get the boat off the reef in much better conditions than we expected. There are important parts of the deck that can be reused, about 70/80 percent. as well as many other components of the structure. We will rebuild our boat, our hopes and dreams. So far we have focused on removing the boat and debris from the reef, now we hope to enter a next phase, rebuild the boat and all our hopes.”



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