Harken Tech Team in Sanya for the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race

Arrival

The atmosphere was buzzing as spectators watched Chinese sponsored boat, Dongfeng, winning Leg 3 into its home port, Sanya! Crowds didn’t have long to wait until the chasing pack quickly followed suit: 1.5 hours later Abu Dhabi finished 2nd and Alvimedica 3rd; but the excitement did not end there with Mapfre battling for 4th place and Team Brunel close on their stern only two minutes behind!

Location

Sanya is known as the Hawaii of China and is the southernmost point. It is full of culture, not to mention some very alternative culinary choices—chicken feet anyone? How about sweet and sour sheep’s head?!

Service

The team had only four days to complete the service in Sanya before boats had to go back into the water. This was going to be a close one! Within this time, we had to service and inspect all winches as well as perform a full service on the MX pedestals. This involved replacing all the seals, bearings, washers and drive chains inside each pedestal. Needless to say this is a long job!

All winches were removed from the boats and taken to the workshop where they were cleaned and inspected. They were then placed back in the box, waiting to be reinstalled onto the boats. A service sheet was filled in, so there is a record of all work done on each winch. This sheet then follows the winch all the way through the procedure until it is reinstalled on the boat. The sheets are gathered up as a record for the Team of the work done at each stopover.

Next stop

Our next stop is Auckland, New Zealand. Leg 4 looks like it is going to be a hard leg for the boats in what may be the hardest service stopover ahead of us yet. In Auckland, we will need to complete a full service on all winches including taking the winch drums apart and servicing the self-tailing system. On top of this, we need to service and inspect all 30 of the oil-filled gearboxes on all six boats.

Let’s hope the boats are not late coming in! Stay tuned for our latest video.

See you in Auckland!

-Mark Gardner

Volvo Ocean Race Project Manager