A Formidable Fleet
A Formidable Fleet
The five new boats in the Volvo Ocean Race share many traits, which should deliver close racing from start to finish. "Tech Review" from our Nov/Dec 2011 issue.
Sailing a Volvo 70 is as much about sailing fast as it is an exercise in managing violence—on the boat and the crew—and minimizing damage and downtime. And this exercise lies squarely on the shoulders of the design team. They must deliver to the sailors a boat that can handle the violence, and be sailed efficiently in a wide and unpredictable range of conditions. As the Volvo Ocean Race welcomes the third generation of Volvo Open 70s, the fleet—which includes five new designs and one boat (Team Sanya) from the previous race—is more uniform than ever, which will make for a closer race all around. But while the hulls and rigs may be more in line, there have been plenty of other areas in the rule for the sailors and designers to exploit—all in the name of efficiency and weight.
›› Designed by Marcelino Botin, with TNZ design team
›› Daggerboards canted away from keel
›› Third grinding pedestal mounted between wheels to move weight aft and facilitate crew communication
Photo: María Muiña
The trend across the fleet is toward boats that are good in all conditions. Camper’s design, however, is the outlier when it comes to hull and foil configurations. Head designer Marcelino Botin is not a stranger to the Volvo 70, having designed il mostro for PUMA Ocean Racing’s first effort. “We know for sure you need a boat that’s very competitive when the wind is above 30 knots; you have to be very fast in those conditions,” says Botin. “But the boats have to be really fast in so many different conditions, and this is where we have tried to go.”
The daggerboards on Camper are located slightly aft of the mast, angled outboard, and the keel is forward of the mast. The configuration is a concession to improving upwind performance; the theory being that when the boat is heeled the daggerboards become vertical, and generate maximum lift. “Gaining balance [between the sail plan and hull/appendages] is very difficult,” says Botin. “But after extensive testing, and having sailed a lot of miles, we’re pretty happy with [the daggerboard] position.”
Deck layouts on the boats are the ultimate realm of compromise. Adding weight with gear that ‘pampers’ the crew essentially does not happen. “You can ask the sailors what they want [to make life easier], but they just want to go fast,” says Botin. “When the boat is fast and ahead, that is what really makes them go hard.”
The focus on Camper has been to concentrate weight aft and position the on-deck crew close together for better communication. Thus, the third winch pedestal is positioned behind the mainsail winch it drives, even with the helm stations.
›› The third boat from Kouyoumdjian
›› Heavily influenced by Ericsson 4
›› Pyramid structure on aft corners creates better lead for downwind sail sheets and running backstays
Photo: Chris Cameron
Juan Kouyoumdjian, whose designs have won the two previous editions (ABN AMRO One and Ericsson 4), has three horses in this year’s race: PUMA Ocean Racing’s mar mostro, Telefonica, and Groupama 4. He’s the only one in his design office privy to all three boats.
This is the second campaign for the Spanish Telefonica team, which fielded a two-boat program with Farr Yacht Design in the last race. The team’s approach was to use Ericsson 4 as a starting point.
“The new route is not much different than before, so we had our benchmark to start from and made choices where we wanted to be,” says Horacio Carabelli, Telefonica’s technical director. “This boat is slightly different than the traditional Volvo 70 we’ve seen. The Open 60s you see now are more of what we are trying to achieve.”