Published: Friday, 24 April 2015

Less than 24 hours in to Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, Dongfeng Race Team discovered a leak to their water-maker rendering it unusable. The water-maker is a vital piece of equipment that had been taken for granted until now.

Dongfeng Relieved As Water Maker Repair Holds For Now 6

After hours of emails and phone calls back and forth between the shore team and the boat it was decided that Kevin Escoffier would attempt a repair by wrapping the split tube with carbon to seal the crack. The glue would take to 20 hours to dry, to put things in perspective that’s a day of intense manual pumping on the emergency water-maker that can only produce 3.5 litres an hour. It was estimated that the team would physically need to pump for up to 8-9 hours a day to survive if the repair did not work, on top of racing.

Manual pumping was one option, the alternative was to make a pit stop, however the rules state a pit stop must be a minimum of 12 hours, which could cost Dongfeng many precious miles and potentially have a great effect of their overall position.

It was 20 hours of worrying and 20 hours of preparing for the worst but as Kevin Escoffier went to check his repair, he discovered it was holding and the water-maker was functional once more.

"Water-maker repaired," says Escoffier. "I have no idea how long this will hold but what we put in place yesterday has worked. What a massive relief. The stress of the race and then the race we didn’t even have any water to drink was a huge weight on all of our shoulders. We would have had to make a pit-stop. Something we didn’t even want to think about after what happened to us on the last leg. We did everything we can to repair it and we will do everything in our power to make it hold until Newport. Let the race continue. We have a good boat speed but today a cloud favoured our opponents resulting in us losing a few miles, frustrating but it hasn’t taken away our motivation.”

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