This week we start to tell their story, the untold story of the team behind the hardware of the Volvo Ocean Race.
With thirteen days on the ground, the Lisbon assembly period was not only one of the longest service stops our team will face, it is also the start of a year-long, round-the-world service project.
Ahead of the race start in October, the crews put their boats through their paces, getting as much time to bond with their boat and crew members as possible. Rigorous training was in full swing with races that included the iconic Rolex Fastnet, followed quickly by Leg 0 which led the teams back to Lisbon.
On arrival, the boats were handed over to the dedicated teams at The Boatyard. For those of you who may not have heard of The Boatyard, it is a shared maintenance facility 80 m by 20 m (262′ by 66′) fully stocked with all the parts, equipment, and knowledge required to service every component on the boats. Best of all The Boatyard is open to the public at each stopover, allowing visitors to see first-hand the team of specialists at work. It really is the ultimate Formula One pit stop!
With seven boats requiring a full service ahead of the race start in Alicante, the Harken Tech Team had their hands full.
This stopover saw The Boatyard deck gear group of four split into teams of two per boat. Each pair methodically inspected, cleaned, and serviced all the hardware on each of the Volvo 65s before refitting and testing.
We were also delighted to help with onboard training in hardware maintenance. A few crew members from Turn the Tide on Plastic joined the Harken Tech Team to reinstall their winches and pedestals, while learning how to service and maintain their hardware when out on the water.
56 winches, 35 gearboxes, 21 pedestals, 572 man-hours of service work, 35 tubes of Harken grease, innumerable cups of coffee, and the boats are ready for the start line!
The Harken Tech Team will travel around the world with the Volvo Ocean Race. Their dedication, hot days and long nights form a story we have never told before. This year we want to share it with you and take you along for the ride.
Until Cape Town…bye for now!