A new shared yacht maintenance concept has been introduced for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 – one that makes a major contribution to efficiency and cost-savings while providing a unique spectacle for fans in the Race Villages.
The development of ‘The Boatyard’ sees the Volvo Ocean Race introduce a brand new approach to boat maintenance. With the inception of the Volvo Ocean 65, we have developed a maintenance centre that uses the one-design concept and applies it to the servicing of all racing yachts and equipment, thus ensuring we reduce the maintenance cost for the teams while keeping the boats in optimal racing conditions and within suppliers’ warranty.
The complete integration of all shore services reduces the overall team budgets while maintaining performance on the water.
“Crucial to the success of the project is that the boats are maintained and serviced by the companies and individuals that actually built them, installed their equipment and know them like the back of their hand," says Nick Bice, who is leading the project as Head of Yacht Maintenance Centre.
"The Boatyard will be run by a permanent staff of up to 20 people – rising to 50 when we’re in full swing with part-time staff and contractors.”
The first assignment Nick is working on is the development of the regular service and maintenance scheme, ensuring each boat stays in optimum condition. This includes general check-ups on the integrity of the carbon hull as well as all the software and electronics.
Of course, one of the most important parts of Nick’s work is to take care of repairs for any and all damage suffered by the boats during the ocean legs. One of the big benefits here, is that experts from all the suppliers, as well as Farr Yacht Design and the four boatyards building the Volvo Ocean 65, are on hand at every stopover.
“We will be equipped with a series of spare parts and, crucially, the right personnel to get the race boats back out on the water without delay.”
One of the main focal points of The Boatyard is a shared sail loft which works as a new customer engagement platform. The sail loft offers the ability for the general public to view the works and operations of the day to day running of the Volvo Ocean Race.
Services provided by The Boatyard include:
- Service of all boats and systems ensuring boat maintenance to levels of excellence
- Supply of qualified staff to assist in the day to day running of each team’s race boat
- Providing a stock room which consists of pooled spares for use of teams if a breakage occurs