Dee Caffari received some welcome news from her shore team as they announced the completion of her brand new Open 60 Aviva in New Zealand. Caffari is currently becalmed in the middle of the Atlantic competing in the Transat Ecover B to B in her 10 year-old Aviva. Caffari is in 12th position and becoming increasingly frustrated by the windless weather conditions, maybe this will cheer her up.
The new Aviva will be twice as powerful and one ton lighter than Caffari’s current boat. This new boat will give Caffari a competitive edge as she prepares to join the other 27 entrants in next year’s round-the-world race. There will be 17 new generation boats competing in the 2008/09 Vendée Globe, the world’s most gruelling, solo, non-stop round the world race. By competing, Caffari has the opportunity to become the first woman to sail non-stop solo around the world in both directions and achieve a ‘double first’.
The Open 60 design is one of the most complex in yacht racing, gearing the boat for maximum performance whilst being handled by a solo sailor. At the start of the Aviva Ocean Racing campaign in January 2007, to facilitate the build of her new Open 60 in a relatively short period of time, Caffari’s team created a technical alliance with Mike Golding’s Ecover team. The alliance was formed to enable both teams to benefit from sharing key technical data and tooling to produce two high performance sister ships.
The new Aviva has come out of the same mould as Golding’s Ecover III and in the spring of 2008 both teams will meet up in Portugal to test the two boats against each other and find the optimum setup for solo Open 60 yacht racing.
This will give both Caffari and Golding a unique opportunity to establish the peak performance of their respective boats for the 2008/09 Vendée Globe. This is the first time two British sailing campaigns have formed an alliance of this type and will help the two skippers challenge the French stranglehold of the round the world race.
The new Aviva is an Owen Clarke design and was constructed by Hakes Marine, New Zealand. The project was managed by Joff Brown with the build starting in May 2007 and taking over 25,000 man hours to complete. Brown will now become responsible for preparing the new Aviva for the 2008/9 Vendée Globe.
Caffari will be flying over to New Zealand to take delivery of her new boat in the New Year after she has completed the Transat Ecover B to B. Caffari is currently in 12th position and is expected to complete the transatlantic race towards the end of next week. Caffari said from onboard Aviva in the Atlantic:
'This is the most amazing Christmas present ever! Only a few years ago I was cleaning the bottom of this type of boat. I even cleaned Michel Desjoyeaux’s boat during one of his Vendée campaigns and now I face the prospect of racing against him in the same race, in my very own Open 60!
'Over the last year I’ve been gaining experience in my current Aviva but I’ve been frustrated knowing that no matter how hard I try I will always be in a slower boat. The new Aviva will be right on the pace, as Mike showed in the sister ship Ecover III in the recent Transat Jacques Vabre. I now have the tool with which to use some of my hard earned experience from racing this year. I can’t wait to take the new Aviva for our first sail together. It will be the first of many to come over the following months.' Technical specification for the new Aviva:
Sail number 222
Designer Owen Clarke Design
Builders Hakes Marine Construction, NZ
Launched Dec 2007
Waterline length LWL 18.26m
Length overall LOA 20.1m
Displacement (tonnage) Restricted
Total sail area upwind 300 sq m
Total sail area downwind 580 sq m
Mast height from deck 27m