An Update on the Volvo Ocean Race’s One-Design Boatbuilding

Ian Roman / Volvo Ocean Race

After the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race ended, CEO Knut Frostad announced that a new class of boat would be used in the next two editions of the race. A one-design boat designed by Farr Yacht Design, the VO65, was introduced. There were mixed reviews, and legendary yacht designer Juan K voiced his disapproval. Now, following the entry of the first team into the 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race, doubts continue to be cast over the choice to switch to a one-design class.

Two-time Volvo Ocean Race skipper Ken Read is back in the news, and he’s talking about the switch to one-design. In summary, Read agrees with the notion that overall costs for Volvo Ocean Race entries must go down, and that the Volvo Ocean Race believes that the new boat is their silver bullet. However, it seems that Read isn’t sure if this will actually be achieved. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

One curious move by Volvo, however, was to involve a consortium of four European builders to share the responsibility of building the boats and components, and completing the assembly. Decision Boatyard, in Switzerland, will build the bulkheads and internal structural elements. Persico, in Italy, will mold the hulls and lay the longitudinal stiffeners. Multiplast, in France, will build the decks and fit them out before sending them to Green Marine, in the United Kingdom, which will finish and launch the boats.

These are not the cheapest builders in the world, so whether this will actually save money compared to the current fleet of 70s is open for debate. Some of the cost numbers being thrown for this 65-footer aren’t all that much less than what I think a new 70 could be built for with some simplification. There will, however, be savings on design and duplication of spare parts and components.

You can read Read’s full comments over at Sailing World.

Here’s a quick video from the Volvo Ocean Race about the new VO65 yacht.