Secrets of success

Text by Jon Bramley
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Secrets of success Text by Jon Bramley
 
Nick Bice, who runs the Boatyard for the Volvo Ocean Race, has been invited to the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METSTRADE) this month as a keynote speaker to explain the secrets of success for the event’s boat maintenance centre.

The Boatyard, managed by Bice who is a former round-the-world racer and shore manager for sailing’s leading offshore race, has established itself as a unique collaboration model in the sport.

Bice has estimated that the seven teams contesting the last race slashed their shore costs by half in relation to people, spares and smart logistics thanks to the Boatyard, which offered fully staffed maintenance cover throughout the nine months of the event plus a supply of all spare parts including rigs.

METSTRADE, which is held in Amsterdam from November 17-19, is the perfect vehicle for Bice to showcase that success in the 2014-15 race and outline the exciting prospects for even more reliability, new technology and cost effectiveness for the 13th edition in 2017-18.

Bice says that some 80 percent of the Boatyard’s suppliers, which includes among others Cariboni marine hydraulic systems, Maffioli ropes, Southern Spars and Spectra water makers, will be present at METSTRADE to showcase their wares. The vast majority of suppliers for the previous edition are expected to be signed up again for the 2017-18 race.

“It’s a chance for us to see all those suppliers and give them a big thank-you from the race and also introduce them to the next edition of the race, to Boatyard 2.0, and how it’s going to work and how they are going to be involved,” says Bice.

"METSTRADE is all about providing a platform for innovation, about facilitating partnerships for the good of the industry as a whole. We welcome the Volvo Ocean Race and the Boatyard to the Innovation stage for what promises to be an informative and potentially inspiring presentation,” says Irene Dros, Manager Maritime METSTRADE, Rai Amsterdam.

“We're confident the industry can rise to the challenge of supplying the next generation of Volvo Ocean Race 65s."

The head of the Boatyard believes the next edition will give suppliers and partners a golden opportunity to showcase their products by becoming a part of an operation, which has developed a gold standard within the industry.

“I think the suppliers now all realise the potential that is there. We’re going to launch a tiered commercial partnership with the Boatyard – with suppliers having the opportunity to become an official supplier of the Volvo Ocean Race or Official supplier of The Boatyard,” continues Bice.

There will be lower levels of buy-in for entry into the Boatyard ‘family’ too, he added.

“We can offer signage all around the stopovers, we also want to set up a small display centre in the Boatyard on the sail loft floor, so that all the technical partners and suppliers can have their goods on display for the public to see.

“We plan to set up technical conferences between all suppliers who are considered to be top-end within the industry. There are other rights and benefits within the offers.”

Bice has conceded that not all teams initially bought in to the concept of a shared maintenance centre at the start of the last race in October 2014.

“During the last event, the teams that embraced the boatyard and utilised it to its full extent received the benefits. The teams that were skeptical about it and didn’t use it to the maximum all the way through, probably wasted money,” he said.

Now Bice reckons there are only one or two skeptics left in the industry, and there’s one, very positive, by-product for the race: “Lots of people are now asking if they can work for the Boatyard,” he said.