Volvo Ocean race CEO, Knut Frostad has announced a new one design class for the next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race.
The cost of the new boats all be EUR4.5million with a team budget of EUR12-14million. That is an approximate sailaway price for the boat with all pre-race and race sails.
'Compared to current teams in the race we are confident that this is a 30% reduction, and significantly more that that for some,' said Frostad.
'We want to have the whole team budget at EUR12-14 million including buying the boat, this will reduce the cost of the budgets by 30-40% from current levels, and if the team does two races, then the cost of the boat itself
'We want to significantly lower the entry barrier for new and existing teams,' said Frostad. 'That means that new teams can come in knowing they have the same tools as the more experienced ones. The boat will make it possible for less experienced ocean race sailors to participate on a good level. It also means that women can handle the boat we will introduce, and handle it well.
'The budget means it will be achievable for a larger number of teams, plus a guaranteed return for the sponsors with less performance risk. Plus there is the opportunity to do more than one race and save half the boat cost,' he added.
'We want to be true to the DNA of the Volvo Ocean Race, always relentless and always pushing to the limit, attracting the best sailors and teams from around the world. Volvo Ocean race and Volvo want a high performance boat that is challenging to race and exciting to sail and photographing at least as well as the ones that we have.
'We want the new class to be Kings of the Oceans, setting record speeds and turning people's heads.'
The boat will be one design and will be over-engineered to last two races. The boats will be designed around media coverage and will be sailed with two less crew - eight males or 10 females, plus one Media Crew Member per boat.
'For the first time ever the boat will be designed for the media, rather than have the media equipment fitted aboard afterwards,' explained Frostad. 'The new boat will be designed and equipped with the latest satellite, video and content and communications technology. We have some very exciting plans with Inmarsat which will allow us to transmit very high definition video and tenfold on the current capacity.
The boat will be 65ft long, with a longer bowsprit, and with a deeper keel than the current boats.
Performance will be potentially within 2.7% of the current boats. Just seven sails will be carried. It has not been decided if the sails will be one design. Everything that is secured to the boat will be one design, and supplied. 'The closer the boats are, the more exciting the racing is', said Frostad in answer to questions as to whether having a one-design boat was an advantage for the race over having a technology development approach.
There will be three ballast tanks - two ballast aft, they will be 800 litres each, instead of the 1600litre centre balance tank in the Volvo 70.There will be one balance tank (controls fore and after trim without adding to righting moment) forward of the mast, to improve the upwind performance of the boat.
The bowsprits will be slightly longer than the current bowsprit 2.15metres compare to the 1.82metres on the Volvo 70. 'We are aiming at having as much furling equipment as possible on the sail set up.'
'Some of these decisions are still on the table as we try and find the best possible solutions for the boat and the race,' he added.
'We have increased the draft slightly from the current fleet which is a very cost efficient way of increasing performance, it allows us to have a slightly lighter boat for higher performance. The draft will be increased by 20cm and the freeboard increased slightly from the current fleet.'
The mast will be deck stepped, instead of keel stepped as at present, to make operations simpler, and the mast section itself will be reduced. The rig length will be close to the current rig length at 30.3metres compared to the 3.15metres on the Volvo 70, but the hull weight will be three tonnes lighter at 10.7tones compared to 14tonnes of the Volvo 70.
The canting keel system will be retained which will cant to 40degrees a twin dagger board system will be used which will be hoisted from the mast. The righting moment will be 33 tonnes.
A protected area will be created on deck to enable live interviews. This will include a coachroof which overhangs the cockpit to protect the crew. The idea is to create a place on deck where crew can be interviewed with the action behind them, rather than the current situation where the interviews take pace down below and occasionally a camera is handed up on deck. Cameras and sound systems will be built into the protected area.
'We are trying to protect the crew better than what we have today.' The beam of the boat will be similar to the Volvo 70. There will be a liferaft exit position in the stern, and there will also be a stern exit hatch.
The yacht will be designed by Farr Yacht Design and built by a consortium of European yards. It will an all carbon boat. 'There will be a move to higher reliability and strength than the current push towards minimum weight levels,' said Frostad.
The European yard decision has been driven by the need to have the group working within the one region. It is expected that there will be some suppliers from the Southern Hemisphere.
As a one design the boat will be sold by Green Marine, who will co-ordinate the transfer of the boats to the teams. Ensuring strict one design and quality control will be paramount.
There will be a common spare parts pool - which is aimed to reduce costs.
All current teams have had a member on the four key teams - a speed group, a build group, and operations group and an operations group - who have been working on this project for the past six months. The eight boats will be built over a period of two years.
Patrick Shaughnessy, President of Farr Yacht Design, Knut Frostad, Volvo Ocean Race CEO and Yann Penfornis, Director of Multiplast. Volvo Ocean Race announces a new boat design that will be used in the next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race. The new boat design from Farr Yacht Design was unveiled at a presentation in Lorient, the ninth host port of the 2011-12 edition of the race. - Ian Roman-Volvo Ocean Race© Click Here to view large photo
Volvo will provide funding for the project and will underwrite the construction of an initial order of eight boats. 'It is important that every boat that is built will be raced,' he said, alluding to the option that one team could have two boats - something which is prohibited in the current version of the race.
'We have very strong support from Volvo, and have secured support for design, production tools and as well to ensure that a minimum of eight boats can be delivered. This support and guarantee is absolutely essential and the most important component of the Volvo Ocean Race.''
Frostad said they had looked at the multihull option, but felt that with a monohull, it was more feasible for the ports involved. 'We don't have any feedback that we have a speed issue with the current monohulls, either', he added.
The organisation of the race will also be scrutinized for cost reduction. 'We are working with the teams to set up the most efficient shore services.'
Construction of the moulds will begin in two months time in August, and the final boat specification and price will be set on September 1, 2012. The final sail package and options will be announced on that date, as will the sales process for the boats. On November 1, 2012, the class rules for the new class will be announced. An announcement will also be made at that time as to how the shared services and shore side will work.
On December 21, 2012, the final route for the Volvo Ocean Race will be announced. Also the Notice of race will be published at that time. The first boat is expected to be launched in June 2013, and a new boat will be launched every seven weeks thereafter.
'In my mind I think, we are now in the place in the history of the Volvo Ocean Race, where we have the opportunity to bring this race and the this amazing sport of ocean racing to a completely new level, ' said Frostad in conclusion.
by Richard Gladwell
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8:16 AM Thu 28 Jun 2012GMT
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