Having yesterday officially retired from the first leg after sustaining major damage to their bow in the horrendous conditions on the first night, Sanya are now focused on the logistical challenge of shipping their boat to Cape Town and having it repaired in time to take part in the in-port race and the start of the second leg to Abu Dhabi.
Team Sanya skipper, Mike Sanderson said that the Chinese team had three significant issues to overcome.
“It’s really tricky and it’s not getting any easier. Firstly we have to get the boat to Cape Town as quickly as possible. We have got to build a new section of boat and get that to Cape Town. Then, in record time, we have to fit the new section of boat into the old boat.
“Those are the three major blocks and we have a separate team working on each of them.”
Sanderson said the scale of the repair work was enormous.
“The piece of boat that we are going to chop out and replace is five metres long by three and a half metres wide by a metre high. That’s the same size as a reasonable sized powerboat that you could chuck a 100 horsepower outboard on and go out for a day’s fishing.”
Despite the herculean task facing them, Sanderson is confident that Team Sanya can pull it off and cites a similar repair successfully carried out just prior to the 1993-94 round the world race.
“We did the same thing to New Zealand Endeavour before the start of that race and she is still around today and at 100 per cent.”
Sanderson believes the earliest the Sanya Lan could feasibly arrive in Cape Town is November 28, less than two weeks before the weekend of the in-port race and start of Leg 2.
With Sanya facing an estimated repair time of three weeks, Sanderson acknowledged that it will take a 24-hour a day, seven days a week operation to get the boat ready in time.
“None of the timings add up right now but the moons are starting to align for us a little bit. We have to get the job done properly. This is the Volvo Ocean Race and it simply isn’t an option to head out with head out the boat being 100 per cent.”
In a further blow, Sanderson confirmed that an ankle injury to Team Sanya bowman, Andy Meiklejohn would put him out of action for 12 weeks.
“It’s a pretty nasty injury. He’s broken his ankle quite badly and it’s going to operated on today and will require two pins to be put in. In my opinion he is going to be out for two legs at least.”