When Chieftain Racing made a last minute call to enter the Volvo Ocean Race starting on 11 October 2008 in Alicante, Spain, they called on the considerable Volvo Ocean Racing expertise of North Sails’ designer Gautier Sergent.
Gautier was not only the designer behind Brasil 1’s sails in the last VOR, but he also had a hand in designing the new rule, so he knew what was required to complete an entire inventory of sails in just a few weeks. Additionally, North Sails designed and built sails for both ABN Amro boats in the last race.
Team Chieftain is a highly successful team whose 2007 successes include a win at the Rolex Fastnet Race and second place in IRC in the HSH Nordbank Blue Transatlantic Race.
Following the signing of a sponsorship deal with Delta Lloyd, the go ahead to design and produce a complete inventory of sails was given just two months before the race start.
'This needs a massive input from the guys in on the floor to make them on time,' says Gautier.
In the Volvo, Team Delta Lloyd, as they are now known, will race the old ABN Amro One boat winner of the 2006-2007 race. The boat now sports continuous carbon rigging, and its dagger boards have been shifted, as well as other optimisations to suit the light upwind conditions expected on the race course.
There was no time for the intensive wind tunnel testing and assessment generally carried out for such a high calibre race, but extensive data was available from the last race, as well as from the design of Speedboat’s sails earlier this year.
Racing in an older generation boat may rule the team out of a serious chance at victory but that doesn’t matter.
'It is quite exciting for everyone,' says Gautier. 'They hope to upset a few of the big teams on the odd occasion, that is the main goal.'
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