Sailing smart will be the key to success in the new one-design boat that will contest the next Volvo Ocean Race, according to the man leading the project.
"We're trying to make the boats as challenging as possible but also make it so maybe the smarter sailors are going to come out best"
James Dadd is the project manager for the new 65-foot one-design that is being built by a consortium of boatyards in the UK, France, Switzerland and Italy and is designed by Farr.
With the new design set to put less of a physical burden on the sailors, SCA has already announced an all-female team for the next edition of the race, starting in Alicante in 2014.
But while the physical challenge may be diminished somewhat -- and all-female teams will be allowed two extra crewmembers -- sailing the new boat around the world over eight grueling months will be anything but easy.
"These are going to be challenging boats to sail but we have to make sure the emphasis will move more towards the mental challenge," Dadd said during a recent visit to Race HQ in Alicante.
"We want to open this up as much as we can, not just for all-female crews but for potentially physically smaller crews as well. With that in mind we're trying to get input from various people. For example, we've got a couple of female sailors* at a deck mock-up to give their views on what will and won't work.”
The Volvo Ocean Race introduced the new one-design partly to reduce the costs of mounting a competitive campaign, with a target of getting eight to 10 boats on the start line in 2014.
"We're trying to make the boats as challenging as possible but also make it so maybe the smarter sailors are going to come out best. This is the way the event has to go," said Dadd, who was the chief measurer in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. "The event is going to have a different side to it.
"This is a new phase in a race that has always evolved. It's going to be a very interesting approach. The sailors have always tried to get that edge in the time before the race. Now they'll be trying to find it during the race."
* Sam Davies is one of those taking part in the deck workshop currently being held at the French boatyard Multiplast, in Vannes, France. Check the site later this week for more details.
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