Volvo Ocean 65 hits the water at start of new era

Splash! First Volvo Ocean 65 hits the water this week
Don't panic, it’s not what it looks like!
Volvo Ocean 65 hits the water at start of new era
The Volvo Ocean Race offered a glimpse of the future on Monday when the first of the radical new Volvo Ocean 65 racing yachts being built for the next two editions left the Green Marine boatyard in the UK and hit the water for the first time.

"It's a very proud moment," said Connell Daino, project manager at Green Marine. "This represents a lot of hard work by a lot of people but really it's just a beginning. We have a long way to go."

Radical, high-performance, tough and purpose built to deliver the best multimedia material possible – the new Volvo Ocean 65s mark the first use of a one-design boat in the 40-year history of the Volvo Ocean Race.

The striking new 65-foot yacht was designed by Farr Yacht Design in the United States and built by a consortium of boatyards in the UK, France, Italy and Switzerland. The fleet of new boats will be used for the first time in the 12th edition of the round-the-world race starting in just over a year’s time on October 4 2014 in Alicante and will be tough enough to be used again in 2017-18.

"This is a stunning looking boat," said Patrick Shaughnessy, President of Farr Yacht Design. "It has an iconic look that really marks it out as special and the build quality is stunning."

Team SCA, the first team to enter for the 2014-15 edition and the first all-female campaign in over a decade, are taking delivery of the new boat, which will undergo rigorous testing this week before a series of sea trials and system checks.

After a build process involving a more than 120 people and 36,000 man-hours, SCA’s boat was taken on Monday by barge from Green Marine to a nearby boatyard in Southampton. The boat will undergo pull-down testing on Tuesday and could be sailed for the first time on Wednesday.

Its first real-world test will be when Team SCA sail the boat from Southampton to their Lanzarote base in the Canary Islands.

The boat has been designed with digital communications very much in mind and strategically placed cameras and microphones will ensure better footage than ever is sent back from the oceans by the Onboard Reporters.

“The amazing communications capabilities mean we can focus directly on the sailors and the enormous challenges they face out in the oceans,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad.

“It’s also a very efficient boat from the point of view of sponsors. The costs have been dramatically reduced along with the risks of serious breakages – all while keeping very high speed and performance.”