Wondering what’s happening with the rigs of the new Volvo Ocean 65? It’s well underway at Southern Spars, New Zealand. Our sole spar suppliers are working fast: three masts are already being finished and the first boom is ready to go.
Southern Spars will supply all the masts, booms and rigging for the 2014-15 and 2017-18 races. According to Project Manager Kevin Batten, the build of the high modulus masts and high modulus box booms is well underway.
“We’re right into it,” he said over the phone earlier this week. “We have masts 1, 2 and 3 on the shop floor being worked on. Mast 1 is ahead of the others and has most of its internal fittings installed.
“Mast 2 has some of its internal components fitted and mast 3 is just in the jig and is getting drilled off. Mast 4 is now out of lamination and is getting trimmed. We have mast 5 half way through lamination.
“Boom 1 is fully painted and boom 2 is with our paint team now. Boom 3 is in the jig and is getting drilled off and we have boom 4 in lamination.”
The Auckland-based company will ship the first two masts in April to Green Marine in the UK. Like all the suppliers involved in the One Design project, Southern Spars not only has strict deadlines to meet to make sure the first boat hits the water this summer, but must also deliver reliable and strictly identical products.
The company’s product reliability has already been proven in the last edition of the race, when Southern Spars supplied full rig solutions for CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand and Team Telefónica, who came through the race without suffering rig problems. They also supplied partial packages to PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG and winners Groupama sailing team.
“These new rigs will go around the world twice and the masts are deck stepped,” added Batten. “So it has been a bit challenging to get all the electronics and control lines through the mast base into the boat. The masts are all jumper-less with three spreaders. In general, we are using a lot of our previous experience to make sure the rigs will be reliable.”
And Batten is confident that Southern Spars processes can guarantee all the masts, booms and rigging to be the same.
“Making sure everything is one design from mast to mast was a big job in the beginning. We have a process here: we pick fibre for each mast and check the resin content to make sure each mast is the same weight for the mast section. Once the masts come out of lamination, we weight them all to make sure they meet the designed weight.
"When the masts are laminated we have a datum mark in the mould. This mark is transferred onto the mast tube. When the masts are set into the drilling jigs we line up the datum mark with a mark on the stands so we know every mast will be drilled the same.
“We spent a lot of time designing all the mast and boom jigs. There are new stands in the factory for the Volvo masts and booms these stands are bolted to the floor. The drilling jigs are then bolted to these stands so each time a mast or boom is installed in the stands we know they will be the same.
"We are absolutely confident that we will have everything identical.”
The Volvo Ocean Race has visited the United States in every edition since 1989-90
The Race will reach Newport, one of the world's sailing capitals, around May 2015 after a stop in Itajaí, Brazil. From Newport, the teams will sail across the Atlantic for the final legs around Europe.
The Volvo Ocean Race has visited the United States in every edition since 1989-90 but despite Newport's great sailing heritage, it has never before had Host Port status.
"I'm delighted to announce that we are bringing the world's greatest offshore sailing event to one of the world's great sailing cities," Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad. said at a presentation at Rhode Island State House in Providence.
"It's about time the Race came to the city of Newport and we are looking forward to a real festival that will delight and inspire sailing fans and those who are new to the sport."
Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State and for over 50 years Newport was the home of the America's Cup. The city hosted a hugely successful stop on the America's Cup World Series in 2012, with 65,000 people visiting over the four-day racing period.
Frostad was joined at the presentation by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln D. Chafee, Newport Mayor Harry Winthrop, Sail Newport executive director Brad Read and other local and state officials. Volvo Ocean Race COO Tom Touber was also at the presentation.
"It gives me great pleasure and pride to welcome the Volvo Ocean Race to beautiful Rhode Island for the first time,” said Governor Chafee. “We have made significant strategic land and marine infrastructure improvements at Fort Adams State Park, paving the way for a new era of racing in Rhode Island and setting the stage for the world-class events we continue to host.
"We had a positive experience with the America’s Cup World Series last summer, and I look forward to welcoming the Volvo Ocean Race to Rhode Island. These large-scale sailing events draw impressive numbers of visitors to our state – visitors who make valuable contributions to our economy.”
Newport, a popular New England tourist destination, is the sixth Host Port for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 to be revealed so far. The Race will start in Alicante, Spain and visit Recife in north east Brazil. Later in the Race, the teams will race to Auckland in New Zealand before rounding Cape Horn and making a second Brazilian stop in Itajaí and then heading to Newport.
The Race will finish in the Swedish city of Gothenburg. The remaining stopovers on the 2014-15 route will be revealed over the coming weeks.
“We are going to use the Volvo Ocean Race events as part of developing the whole city and taking place right in the new heart of Gothenburg" - Anneli Hulthén
Gothenburg will host the grande finale of the 12th edition in 2014-15 and will be back on the route for the 13th running of sailing's great round-the-world adventure. Along the way, the race will see a lot of changes, all being made with sustainability and a special anniversary firmly in mind.
“I think the city of Gothenburg will deliver a fantastic experience,” said Anneli Hulthén, Mayor of Gothenburg.
“We are going to use the Volvo Ocean Race events as part of developing the whole city and taking place right in the new heart of Gothenburg. This is an investment in the future for Gothenburg as we move forward to the city's 400th anniversary in 2021.
"We focus a lot on sustainability. It’s an issue that is close to our hearts and we know that it’s an important area both for Volvo and Volvo Ocean Race.”
Looking ahead, the Mayor believes the development of the city will suit perfectly the two-race deal signed by Gothenburg for 2014-15 and the following race, likely to be in 2017-18.
"We are heading into a big project where we will develop the city's infrastructure and we don’t know how far we will have come 2015," said Hulthén. "By then we might be able to present how the new developments will look and in 2018 we will hopefully see how great it turned out to be."
Camilla Nyman, CEO of Gothenburg & Co, shares the Mayor’s confidence.
“We have the experience, competence and capacity to host an event of this size. We have already determined a place to put the race village and we want to use that space after the boats have travelled on.
“The people of Gothenburg are spectacular at welcoming these types of events, and it feels like there is as much salt water in our veins as anything else.
“We hope to use this event as a part of other projects and the city of Gothenburg works closely with Volvo in other areas such as electric cars and sustainable transportation. We will seize this opportunity to present other projects that connect to the ocean and transportation.”
Today (Tuesday) at approximately 20:30 CET (19:30 GMT) the Volvo Ocean Race will be making another announcement about the 2014-15 edition of the race.
Team SCA are putting together the first all-female team to take part in the Volvo Ocean Race in over a decade and competition for places is fierce. The first candidates are sailing from Southampton to Lanzarote on a training leg and we caught up with Britain's Sam Davies to find out a little more about how the process is going.
Davies has an outstanding track record, having finished fourth in the Vendee Globe in 2008-09 before a second attempt at victory in the latest edition was cut short by a broken mast.
Her next challenge is to win a place on SCA, backed by the global hygiene and forest products company -- and that means making the most of an opportunity to learn from Volvo Ocean Race veterans including Sweden's Magnus Olsson and Brazilian Joca Signorini, who are acting as coaches for the team.
"This is an amazing opportunity for me and for women's sailing in general, especially for women ocean racers," said Davies before joining her team mates on board the repurposed Mar Mostro, the team's training boat while they wait for their brand new Volvo Ocean 65 to be completed.
"There hasn't been an opportunity like this since 2002 so it's fantastic.
"It's critical that we use the experience as much as possible, that's the fastest way to learn. It's great that these guys have agreed to come and coach us and teach us and hopefully we'll learn fast and not get too frustrated. We're really lucky because we have so much time before the start."
For Davies and the rest of the candidates, the selection process is as much about convincing themselves that they are right for one of the world's greatest human challenges.
"It's a two-way process for us," said Davies. "The managers are looking at all of us and we're testing it out to see if it is really what we want to do.
"I'm not the only one wondering if i'm capable of sailing the Volvo Ocean Race and if you want to do a project like this well you've got to be 100 percent convinced."
Team SCA, crew trial candidates, group one of two: Annie Lush (Great Britain), Carolijn Brouwer (Netherlands), Jeanne Gregoire (France), Klaartje Zuiderbaan (Netherlands), Liz Wardley (Australia), Sam Davies (Great Britain), and Stacey Jackson (Australia).
The Swedish city of Gothenburg will be the final stop on the route for the 12th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race in 2014-15 and will also feature in the 13th edition under a two-race deal presented on Friday.
"Gothenburg has all the facilities and knowhow to make this a great event, and the history to make it feel like a real homecoming" - Knut Frostad
Gothenburg is Sweden's second largest city, Scandinavia's largest port and has a well earned reputation for hosting major sporting events. 2014-15 will be the third time Gothenburg has hosted the Volvo Ocean Race and the second time it has staged the finale, following the success of 2005-06, when ABN AMRO ONE sailed into the port as overall race winners.
"Gothenburg is the perfect place to finish a global event of this stature," said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad. "It's great to know that after sailing tens of thousands of miles around the world we'll be coming to a Host Port with all the facilities and knowhow to make this a great event, and the history to make it feel like a real homecoming.
"We are looking forward to working closely with Gothenburg to make this the best finish we've ever had."
Gothenburg, the headquarters of event owners Volvo, hosted the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001-02 and again in 2005-06 and has also staged the World and European Athletics Championships (1995 and 2006, respectively), as well as the World Figure Skating Championships (2008) and the final of the European Soccer Championship in 1992 among major events. The European Indoor Athletics Championships take place in the city in March 2013.
"The stopovers we've had in Gothenburg have always been amazing," said Frostad, who announced the two-race agreement alongside the Mayor of Gothenburg, Anneli Hulthén and the CEO of Gothenburg & Co, Camilla Nyman at the Gothenburg Boat Show on Friday. "I particularly remember 2002 when there were so many people out there you could walk on the water from boat to boat."
“Volvo Ocean Race is a world-class event and the city of Gothenburg will now strengthen its position as one of the leading event cities in northern Europe”, says Anneli Hulthén, Mayor of Gothenburg.
The city of Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden is the fifth Host Port on the 2014-15 route to be revealed so far. The 12th edition of an event that began life in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race will start from Alicante in Spain and call first at Recife in north east Brazil. Later in the race, the teams will visit Auckland in New Zealand before rounding Cape Horn for a second Brazilian stop in Itajaí.
The rest of the route will be revealed over the coming weeks.