Unwrapping the gift

Text by Jonno Turner
Conny, we salute you
On for the hat-trick
Unwrapping the gift Text by Jonno Turner
Christmas is just around the corner, and what better present than to unwrap your good as new, refitted Volvo Ocean 65?

That's what Dongfeng Race Team skipper Charles Caudrelier was able to do this week, when he visited the Boatyard in Lisbon, Portugal, to get a sneak peek at the progress made on his team's boat.

As part of a €1 million per boat refit process, the 2014-15 boats are being completely upgraded – with new paint jobs, new deck gear and new electronics amongst the parts being refreshed ahead of what will be a gruelling 2017-18 edition.

The Boatyard employs a crew of boatbuilding experts who have spent hours making sure that every inch of the boat is designed for speed, safety and, of course, looks pretty cool, too.

With seven boats set to go through the refit process, and another being built from scratch at Persico Marine in Bergamo, Italy, there's no time to waste for the Boatyard, and one setback could have a knock-on effect that could jeopardise the whole project.

Luckily, everything is going like clockwork so far. Dongfeng, the first boat through the process, is now complete, and ready for inspection by the man who will sail it over 45,000 nautical miles around the planet in almost exactly 10 months time.

Caudrelier met with Donfeng Race Team's Boat Captain Graham Tourell and Technical Manager Neil Graham, who have been overseeing the build alongside Volvo Ocean Race staff in Portugal...

...and with the boat's refit now complete, it won't be long before Charles and his crew are taking their 65 for a ride. 

Here's an exclusive look at Dongfeng Race Team's new branding...