25 April 2008

On Thursday morning, on the pontoon of the Sub Marine base of Lorient, one can distinguish the slender shaped trimarans in the mist. At the end of this floating pontoon at the opposite of these fine racers, the imposing massive Tara who has found her place once more since the 23rd of April, stands out.

Her putting back in the water that was several times delayed is a long story. First supplies of several parts that enable the watertightness of the propeller’s shaft of utmost importance arrived late.

Putting the boat back in the water is always a crucial moment that validates the repair work done under the water line. The welding accomplished in the yard are certified for the navigation norm but sometimes in places that are difficult to reach for the welders, a few welding are not completely waterproof and this is what happened at the level of the sounding tube during the water launch.

Protocol for launch manoeuvring is generally the same for all types of ships. Strapping the boat as well as lifting it is accomplished by special crane drivers in the careenage. They know the boat’s structure and the best lifting points. The ship is then moved with the help of a lifting wheel towards the harbour basin, like a bird or another surrealist creature flying above the tarmac. The descent toward the water is slow and measured. Then comes the moment when the crew climbs on board by stern. At that moment everyone has a determined place. While the onboard chief mechanic triggers the generator that enables to use the windlass in front as well as the main engines.

Part of the crew inspects all the bottom of the ship as well as the hulls gates. The others prepare the different hawsers to moor the ship. It is at this moment that we discovered the leak on the hull of the welder. The ship is immediately hoisted above the water to allow for swift reparations but upon her return in the water the leak is still there. We manage to spread this little water channel in the air chamber, but decide to put back Tara on the quay to accomplish a lasting repair. It is 10 pm; Tara is tied with straps above the water waiting to find her place once again on the quay the next day.

After a day of reparation, Guy Sallant, responsible of careening for water launch decides it will be on the 23rd of April in the morning. There is a short moment of stress when the ship touches the water but nothing, not a single drop, neither in the bottom, nor at the level of the welders. After the launch of the propulsion and generator engines, we are testing the proper operations of the propellers shafts and their watertighteness. This time all is well. Tara can sail with the two rubber dinghies of the BSM, the pilots that help us manoeuvre in the harbours.
At 11 pm, the boat is anchored and the crew very happy to be on the water again.

Hervé Bourmaud, Tara’s captain