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.
The daggerboards on Telefonica are forward of the mast and canted slightly inward below the waterline. This is also the case with a few other boats in the fleet, the theory being the boards will produce vertical lift when the boat is sailing off the wind without as much heel, getting the bow up out of the water and promoting surfing.
“We concentrated a lot on aerodynamics and ergonomics with this design,” says Carabelli. “The cabin house is actually more part of the deck than it is its own structure. Aerodynamically, it’s good.”
The deck slopes downward as it reaches the cockpit, though the sheerline is straight, as required by the Volvo Open 70 rule. This creates greater volume forward yet still presents a smooth hull through the water.
Telefonica also has a pyramid structure built into each aft quarter of the boat, which allows the team to raise spinnaker turning blocks and, for Telefonica and the Farr-designed Abu Dhabi, the running backstays as well. A higher block position essentially creates a longer boat for the sheet lead, improving trim on the big reaching and running sails.
“You do pay a price in weight,” says Carabelli. “That’s the balance—how much weight to put into that structure before it is no longer faster.”
›› Another boat from Juan Kouyoumdjian
›› Traveler winches were left off initially, added later
›› To generate optimal sheet leads, some winches spin will counterclockwise
Photo: Dan Armstrong Photography
For PUMA Ocean Racing, one of the significant changes this time around was the decision to train in two different venues, seeking out both light and windy conditions. Since the race rules allow only one boat and limit the number of days a team can sail, it’s no surprise that PUMA narrowed in on a conservative, well-rounded design.
“It’s not a different boat [from Ericsson 4], if looking on the outside, but there are a lot of things going on,” says watch captain Brad Jackson, who managed the design and build. “We chose to point the design in a certain direction and not put ourselves in too much of a corner. You have to be fast in everything. Overall, I think most boats are probably pretty good up-range and middle range, with a little less expected in the lighter stuff.”
If there’s a status quo in deck layout, mar mostro is perhaps the best example. The team initially went without the small, traveler-control winches forward of the wheels for weight savings, using the offside primary winch to trim the traveler and jammers to lock it in place during tacks and jibes. After a few thousand miles of sailing, however, the team installed the traveler winches.