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Patrick Shaughnessy discusses VO65 for 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race
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Oct 23, 2012, 4:21 PM

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Patrick Shaughnessy discusses VO65 for 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race Log-In to Post/Reply

Patrick Shaughnessy, President, Farr Yacht Design, discusses the one design VO65 his firm designed which will be used in the 2014-15 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.
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“One of the components, especially in the industry that we felt from the previous (Volvo Ocean) Races, is some competition between various designers and builders and suppliers and things like that, and as industry fans we've lived this part of the race. That's not going to be present with one-design boats as the designers and builders are obviously the same. Instead we'll have much more focus on the teams and sailors, and ultimately that's the side that the sponsors really value. Our side where we like it is of questionable end-value to the sponsors. Instead what we will have will be a people's race and by itself that's going to be really fantastic to watch.

“To win the next one-design Volvo Ocean Race what you're gonna have to do is use the boat better than the other people.

“Conceptually, the new boat has a lot of similar features and is going to be a very high performance offshore racing boat. What separates it a little bit from the Volvo Open 70 is that it is trying to address the cost issue associated with the hardware in the event so the boat is a little smaller in many of its parameters are scaled to try to address cost. The hardware when you reach the starting line represents a third of the technical budget so the other two thirds of your technical budget we address with shared spares and shared support schemes. The design itself, beyond those conceptual things, tries to address a couple of key components and those are safety and reliability. As we do all those things we're also trying to make a boat a that is a little more manageable for less skilled teams so we can combine these goals with the performance and costs and reliability and try to address them all in one-design package that speaks to all those.

"People are going to see a lay-out of boat that makes it easier to move sails around because of some of the grinder pedestal orientations, those sort of things, but the overwhelming impression will be of a top level Grand Prix racing boat. So we tried to be pretty smart in how we address a couple of key little things but at the same time produce an image of a boat that’s very forward thinking has a unique look in its stem profile, its cabin shape and some of these things that'll make the boat we think a little bit iconic in the industry. It'll be something that looks special, and look special for a while and styling-wise it's advanced like that enough to be quite keeping.

“When you come down the dock you're gonna see a boat that's really cool. The stem shape has been styled to be emotional, forward looking and be relevant for years to come so it's a boat that's exciting and modern and it's gonna be iconic."
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"Managing performance and safety and reliability and cost control are all obviously competing demands so you're having to make a little bit of a judgement call in how you address those items and find a realistic balance that's suitable. In safety and reliably there are strong public demands that the boats don't break and they're not necessary realistic because if boats don't break, people will break. You have to find balance and that's where your experience and being really integrated into teams lets you find those balances.

“Having a one-design allows you to balance some of these choices differently than you would have done in an all-out race like the Volvo Open 70s had but we still have competing goals. You can back away from ultimate performance a little bit in some areas but you still have to cater for it and that's why you rely on people like ourselves that have experience on how to make those balances."
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"We've had really two phases in the design process. When the 2011-12 race was wrapping up we had involvement from the sailors and the teams in three groups that were formed: one was a speed group, primary helmsmen and trimmers, another was a build group, primarily support staff form the shore teams, and another was a logistics group on how the boats are moved and assembled and that input when we were in the design process was vital and key for us. After the race the teams sort of wrap up their involvement and what Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad's organised for us is for Chris Nicholson to represent the sailing side and Neil Cox to represent the build and logistics side so we have the input from these two key guys that we balance with input from the boat builders and race organisation themselves. For us as designers, we never what to arrive in the situation where we don't have an active client, so we want that input to help us make the right boat for them so it's really a key part of the process."
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“You have to understand that these are going to be challenging boats and while we tried to address the physical loads on items and the amount of stackable gear and the positions for stackable gear they are challenging boats. What we tried to do with a lot of the mechanical systems was to provide mechanical advantage such that less strong people have tools to operate effectively. What we've also tried to do particularly with things like the winch pedestal systems and things like that is to provide some advantages for a women's team that might come with 10 people such that they can have opportunities to get their 10 people involved in a manoeuvre so that same manoeuvre with eight men might be quite challenging and difficult to orchestrate, the women will be able to get 10 people on 10 jobs such that they do have a place to find an advantage."
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Obviously Farr Yacht Design has been a part of the Volvo Ocean Race and before that the Whitbread Round the World Race for quite a long time so to be part of its future going forward is something we're proud to have the opportunity and excited to be part of the considerations and not just the design work but how the race is going forward so it's an enormous opportunity and something we're really excited about."

“Farr Yacht Design is pretty uniquely positioned in that we have an enormous Volvo Ocean Race experience. We have designed 40 boats for the race, been involved in nine editions, the last few campaigns we've been on the ground 100 percent of the time supporting the teams and really been part of the race, and the thing that makes us a little unique is that we can combine that with an enormous one-design experience. I don't believe there's another team in the world that can present all those parts and that's really I think what makes us ideally suited for this opportunity.”








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