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IMOCA 60 vs VO65: Everything you need to know about the two classes in 2021-22

by Jonno Turner 6 Jul 00:46 PDT
Up to eight VO65's could compete in The Ocean Race - In Port Race, Cape Town - Volvo Ocean Race, December 7, 2017 © Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race

In case you missed it, the next edition of The Ocean Race will be contested by two different classes of boat: the all-new, super fast and foiling IMOCA 60s, and the one-design VO65s that gave us such intensely close racing last time out.

It's a development that has brought together two distinct sailing worlds - and will see The Ocean Race faster, more extreme and more difficult to win than ever before.

We caught up with some of the IMOCA 60 sailors - including Paul Meilhat, Jeremie Beyou and Sam Davies - to find out the big differences between the two boats.

Spoiler: If you thought spending three weeks being bounced around the Southern Ocean in the VO65 looked uncomfortable, get ready for the IMOCA - they're built with pure speed in mind, and luxuries are few and far between.

Everything you need to know about the IMOCA 60

The addition of the foiling IMOCA 60 class adds a high-performance and design aspect to the race after the last two editions of one-design racing, where all boats were identical. This shift means the teams will be pushing the envelope of technology with boats that foil above the water at extremely high speeds.

The IMOCA 60 class is at the cutting edge of technology for offshore monohulls and the sailors and designers will be chasing every technical advantage they can find.

  • Length: Minimum 17.893 m / Maximum 18.288 m
  • Beam: Maximum 5.85 m
  • Foils: Hell yeah
  • Sails: An IMOCA 60 Boat shall carry a maximum of seven sails plus a Storm Jib on every Leg
  • Bunks: 2
  • Probable crew: 5 sailors plus OBR

Everything you need to know about the VO65

In the last edition of the race the VO65 produced record-breaking speeds, with team AkzoNobel setting a new 24-hour distance record.

The racing was also the closest in the 45-year history of the event with three teams approaching the finish line of the final leg with an opportunity to win the overall title. The winning margin for Dongfeng Race Team was just 16-minutes after 126 days of racing.

The 2021 event will mark the third lap of the planet for the robust VO65 fleet.

  • Length: 20.37 m
  • Beam: 5.60 m
  • Foils: No
  • Sails: VO65 Boats shall carry a maximum of one sail of each code on a Leg
  • Bunks: 4
  • Probable crew: 11 sailors plus OBR
Bathe in more numbers from the VO65 technical specification here.

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