Participants in the Volvo Ocean Race will no longer sail aboard VO 65 - one design monohulls used specifically for this crewed, non-stop round the world race. The race organisation decided to change boats and to do so, called on the French naval architect Guillaume Verdier. The latter has just joined the Volvo Ocean Race Design Team to work on this new yacht.
"The current fleet was designed in 2011 and was designed to participate in two editions. We must now move forward and think about future boats in order to remain open to all possible design options" explained Mark Turner, General Manager of the Volvo Ocean Race
Guillaume Verdier, competition boat specialist
His specialty? Design monohull and multihull competition prototypes. He was responsible for the giant multihull Maxi Edmond de Rothschild de Gitana which will be launched in July, Team New Zealand's flying multihulls for the current America's Cup, or the maxi monohull Comanche or the first two IMOCA 60s at the finish of the last Vendée Globe, Hugo Boss and Banque Populaire VIII .
Guillaume Verdier was selected following a call for tenders from half a dozen naval architects. Among the architects contacted was Farr Yacht Design, who launched the new era of one design with the Volvo Ocean 65.
Guillaume Verdier's objective will be to accompany the Volvo Ocean Race Design Team in the construction of a new fleet that will respond both to the one-design constraint and to current developments in foil technology, which is becoming increasingly important in the world of sailing.
"We bring together different areas of expertise from projects like the America's Cup, oceanic multihulls and IMOCA Open 60's. We start from a blank page and, whatever type of boat we design, monohull or multihull, we will learn a lot by working together. I think sailors just want to have fun on the water and are attracted to new ways of sailing. In the Open60 for example, we did something that was quite radical, but at the same time very safe, and that will be the key to the Volvo Ocean Race explains Guillaume Verdier.
Monohull or multihull?
For the moment, we are only at the beginning of the project, but the crucial question concerns the type of boat: monohull or multihull. A whole series of novelties was also mentioned. Among which, the construction of the boat, which will be carried out by a single shipyard - Persico in Italy - in contrast to the VO 65, built by a consortium of different companies.
"The Consortium has given very good results to produce really identical boats, but this time we prefer to work with a single yard, which will certainly subcontract to other yards around the world to meet deadlines and budget. Persico has been one of our partners for many years and we are very happy to be working with them again says Nick Bice, Technical Development Manager.
If the multihull was chosen, this change would prove to be the most radical in the history of the race, in 1973, when it was still called Whitbread Round the World Race.
The organization will however remain on a One-Design, i.e. a monotype. The one-design was introduced in 2014-2015 with the arrival of the Volvo Ocean 65, resulting in the most competitive race in history.
Final decision May 18, 2017
The final decision will not be made until 18 May in Gothenburg, Sweden, on the land of Volvo - owner and sponsor of the race.