Sunday, November 22, 2009

Aerial Sailmaking

By Jane Eagleson (USA) in San Diego.

Craig Phillips (AUS) and his sailmaking team are discovering the new world of aerial sail maintenance and repairs. “We thought the wing would lighten our load but it hasn’t. We are responsible for all repairs and maintenance on the skin. “It takes what we would call car-park sailmaking to a new level,” Craig said while looking out from the traditional sail loft to his team working suspended in the air on the wing. 

Sailmaker Leon Oliver (NZL) was one of the sailmakers working on the wing as it was suspended in the air at the dock for a day of maintenance. Today they were applying seals to the gaps on the flaps. The work literally takes Leon to a new level in his sailmaking.  “It requires poise and cat-like balance.” 

“It’s a huge learning curve,” Craig says. “We probably have 24 Cups between us on the sailmaking team but this is new for all of us. We are still learning how to apply adhesives to the skin surface – we can’t take our sewing machine out there.”

This weekend in San Diego

The team had a dockside maintenance day on Saturday. This was the first time the boat platform has returned to the dock from its mooring since the wing was installed two weeks ago.

The platform was carefully guided back to the team dock with the wing lowered. Once at the dock, two cranes lifted the wing to allow for maintenance while the wing was suspended above the boat.

Most of the team will take Sunday off before returning to testing on Monday.

Louise Matthews (NZL), design team administrator, documented the happenings. Thanks Louise for sharing the photos below …