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Displaying items by tag: Volvo Ocean Race

At a time when rival major global sports events are struggling to contain spiralling costs, a report by independent auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has praised sailing’s premier round-the-world event, the Volvo Ocean Race, for halving the price of competing for sponsors.

Much of the credit for this has been ascribed by report author, Manuel Díaz, to The Boatyard, the shared-maintenance facility introduced by the race for the last edition in 2014-15.

"A campaign now costs around 50 per cent less to run – in the last editions, the cost was between €20-35 million rather than €10-15 million for campaigns at the same level," the report, Assessment of the Maintenance Operating Model, says.

The Boatyard has broken new ground in the offshore racing industry, pooling both human and equipment resources for the servicing of a newly-introduced class of boat. The Farr-designed Volvo Ocean 65 one-design broke with 40 years of tradition in an event, which was launched in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race.

The report, which was commissioned by the race after the finish of the 12th edition in June last year, highlighted: "The list of benefits is no longer hypothetical: the model has already been implemented, showing an excellent performance and outstanding results."

The report, in particular, praises:

• Significant cost reduction in contracts with suppliers, spare parts stock, transportation, labour and support staff and infrastructure
• A reduction of breakages and the consequent corrective maintenance
• Improved predictive maintenance, fixing potential weaknesses before they result in breakdowns

It added: "One of the main benefits of The Boatyard is that it has become easier to attract both participants and sponsors – the entry barrier is lower but is not only a matter of cost.

"As all the teams have the exact same platform, the risk of having a much slower boat is lower. On the other hand, safety has been at the heart of the one-design process, with the boats designed to last at least two editions of the toughest race on earth."

Díaz recommends that The Boatyard could be even more effective with a stepped-up level of performance monitoring through a list of key indicators such as average time for repair, man power utilisation and efficiency and inventory turnover.

Nick Bice, who manages The Boatyard, was delighted the project had won the positive comments from the PwC report.

“What pleases me is that it’s recognised now that our standards are in line with the very highest in the automotive and aeronautical industries,” he said.

“A key statistic that has been highlighted is that 90 per cent-plus of our servicing was proactive, in other words fixing potential problems before they led to breakdowns. Only around 10 per cent of that work was reactive.

“Our ambition is now simple: we are aiming to get to a stage where there is no excuse for breakages in the next race other than those caused by human error.

“We don’t want future stories to be about why a boat has broken down, we want the stories to be about the people sailing onboard.”

Published in Ocean Race
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#FranckCammas - French America's Cup skipper Franck Cammas could be returning to the water as soon as next month after nearing losing his foot in a boating accident late last year.

As previously reported on, Team France's top man had his right foot "partially severed" when he was run over by the rudder of his foiling catamaran during training in Brittany in late November.

However, after successful surgery Cammas was assured he would not lose the use of his foot as the arteries and nerves were unaffected.

And according to Bermuda's Royal Gazette, the Solitaire veteran and Volvo Ocean Race winner is making significant progress in rehab for his injury.

“Now I can spend more time onshore working with the designers and engineers on the new boat,” he said after having his cast removed last week.

It's thought that Cammas could be back on board in time for the resumption of the America's Cup World Series in Oman on 27-28 February.

The Royal Gazette has more on the story HERE.

Published in America's Cup

#VOR - Brian Carlin's shot of Team Vestas Wind's heartbreaking grounding in the Indian Ocean a year ago has been voted by the public into second place in the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image of the Year Award.

Carlin – who served as Team Vestas Wind's onboard reporter during the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, including the team's triumphant return to the race for its final stages after months of repairs – came just behind Rick Tomlinson's aerial photo of Team Brunel cutting through the choppy seas around Cape Horn.

But the experienced marine photographer and filmmaker, whose shots have graced many a time over the years, also also received the special judges' award for this year's Most Iconic Image.

We're sure few will have any quibble with that!

Published in Ocean Race

#VOR - Ireland's own on-board reporter in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race is among the race nominations for the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image of the Year Award.

The Kerry marine photographer's shot of the damaged hull of Team Vestas Wind's yacht as it lay grounded in the middle of the Indian Ocean a year ago is one of 10 from the round-the-world yachting challenge selected for the shortlist of the prestigious award.

The official Volvo Ocean Race website has more selections available for public vote until Monday 30 November.

Published in Ocean Race

The 28th edition of the highly acclaimed Rick Tomlinson Portfolio calendar is now available directly from the marketplace site HERE. The ideal Christmas gift for the sailor in your life features 12 spectacular images from recent assignments around the world.
This year's pictures include action from The Volvo Ocean Race at Cape Horn, the Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary Regatta, Sir Ben Ainslie’s Americas Cup challenge, sailing in Greenland, plus other action and art from the international racing circuit.
Action and art has always been Rick’s style, “Each picture will hang on the wall for a month and offer the viewer something that perhaps they didn't see on the first look” says Rick, “my particular favourite this year is the shot of Brunel off Cape Horn.”

Rick has raced in 4 Whitbread Round the World Races, on Drum, The Card, Intrum Justitia and Team EF. Photographs taken onboard Drum started his career, becoming one of the most highly acclaimed marine photographers in the world. High profile projects include the Volvo Ocean Race, Americas Cup, and many SuperYacht commissions. He was recently the Official photographer for Team SCA.

Rick works from his gallery in Cowes - Isle of Wight, and travels the world on assignments for the worlds leading events and yachts.

Published in Marketplace

I have known Justin Slattery and followed his career for many years as he rose to become one of the top international sailing stars, the winner now of two Volvo Ocean Races in the toughest position on a racing boat, that of Bowman.

Justin is a very pleasant, courteous, friendly and quiet man, who can take justifiable pride in what he has achieved, but whose international reputation as a top sportsman, a top athlete, would not be as well-known in Ireland as the names of unpronounceable English soccer players and that, in my belief, is an indication of the failure of sports coverage in the general national media to give sailing and its Irish stars their rightful place..

In sailing, his name is at the top internationally and he does not forget his Irish background. He is back in Cork for a rest after an exceptionally busy racing period. It is the first time he has taken a break since the end of the Volvo Race in Gothenburg in June, the second time he won it, this time aboard Abu Dhabi. He was sailing again with British Skipper Ian Walker, with whom he had also sailed aboard the Irish entry, Green Dragon, in the 2008/2009 Volvo Race.


Abu Dhabi at speed in the Volvo Race Photo:Matt Knighton

In my interview with him, he discusses that project and the need to have sufficient backing and support in a Volvo campaign.

“You are up against the best in the world in the Volvo Race, with the best resources. If you arrive on the start line under-resourced or with a boat that’s off the pace, then you are on the back foot right away and that is a pretty painful way to go around the world.”

A clear, definitive assessment there from a sailor who has huge international respect and experience and who also won the 2005-2006 Volvo Race aboard ABN AMRO ONE.

“I have managed to tick a lot of boxes over the last few years, but it seems that those boxes are ever-increasing. There are various types of racing I would like to do, boats I would like to race. There is never a dull moment and I am looking forward to the future,” he told me as we discussed his sailing career and his plans for the future in the interview for this Podcast.

Now aged 41 Justin lives in the UK sailing centre of the Hamble and was back in Cork for a rest and relaxation with his wife and daughter, before again entering the racing circuit next year when the Caribbean season starts.


Justin Slattery at the Volvo Race Awards Ceremony in Gothenburg

CLICK the podcast at the top of this blog to listen to the interview.

One of my prized sailing possessions is a cap which Justin gave me after he won his first Volvo Race and which he had worn aboard AN AMRO ONE.. There is a story to it. When my boat was broken into and damaged on its mooring at Crosshaven a few years ago, that hat was amongst the items stolen. An alert Garda detective spotted a man wearing it in Cobh and, with sailing knowledge, questioned him as to where he got it. That led to an outcome where quite a bit of stolen boating equipment was found, including some of mine and Justin’s hat, which was returned to me and which I still use, as the photo shows!


The hat that survived thieves

Published in Island Nation

#VOR - Journey of Change, the story of Team SCA in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race, is now available to order from Amazon and all good bookstores.

In 2012 SCA announced its commitment to bring women back to offshore sailing in the world’s toughest ocean race. With a 12-year gap since women had competed in the round-the-world challenge, a team was put in place to search for a squad of women capable of competing at this the highest level of offshore sailing.

More than 250 applicants applied from all over the world and a final 15 women were selected for the Team SCA squad. From Olympians to solo sailors and record breakers, they all had one aim – to bring female sailors back to the race.

The story of Team SCA is a captivating one; ocean racing has traditionally been the preserve of men but, over a gruelling nine months, Team SCA proved that women can compete on an equal footing.

Comprising dramatic images and stories of the crew from onboard reporters, the 192-page book tells the story of a squad of women with one common aim: to race competitively around the world.

It gives a unique insight into life on board and the challenges the team face as they took on their global marathon, a wet-and-wild, oceanic rollercoaster ride that pushed the physical and mental boundaries of human endurance.

And it's a story that continues for the crew next week at the Genoa Boat Show when they take on VOR rivals Team Vestas Wind in a series of pro-am races, as previously reported on

Published in Ocean Race

Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, is stepping down at the end of 2015 after eight years at the helm for family reasons.

The 48-year-old Norwegian has guided the event over three editions in 2008-09, 2011-12 and 2014-15 after taking over as chief executive in March 2008.

Frostad said it had been a journey he was very proud of, transforming the race into a high-level professional organisation as well as making significant and key changes to the race format while retaining a strong focus on the history and legacy of the 42-year-old race.

“With almost half of my life and a lot of passion invested in the race, it has been one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make,” he said.

“I am an ‘all-or-nothing’ person and this is an ‘all-or-nothing’ race. I now want to dedicate more of my time to my young family.

“The Volvo Ocean Race is in a strong position for the future with a proven one-design format, a great team at our Alicante headquarters and ambitious and committed owners in Volvo Car Group and Volvo Group.”

Senior members of the Race’s board have paid tribute to Frostad.

“Knut has done a fantastic job in leading and developing the Volvo Ocean Race. We could not have had a more passionate leader and we understand and respect his wish to spend more time with his family. We will all miss him a lot,” said Henry Sténson, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications and Sustainability Affairs, Volvo Group, and Per Löjdquist, Chairman of the Volvo Ocean Race Board, in a joint statement.

“Knut has been the face and the driving force behind what is the most challenging and prestigious ocean race in the world. We regret but, at the same time, respect his decision and we can only wish him and his family the best of all winds,” added Alain Visser, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Customer Service, Volvo Car Group.

Frostad, who competed in four editions of sailing’s leading offshore race dating back to 1993-94, including twice as a skipper and founder of teams, continued: “The late Sir Peter Blake once said about the race: ‘There’s nothing like it - it gets in your blood and you can’t get rid of it!’

“I know that will be my challenge too. The Volvo Ocean Race is such a unique life experience and I am truly grateful for my time as head of the organisation, but also for all the friendships I have formed during this time.

“It’s been a privilege to work for Volvo and all the other stakeholders in the race, many of whom have become personal friends.”

Frostad will remain in the position as CEO until the end of 2015, while the search for his replacement has started.

Published in Ocean Race
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#VOR - Italian boatyard Persico Marine has won the prestigious contract to construct new one-design Volvo Ocean 65s, depending on orders, for the next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-18 .

The Bergamo-based company was part of the consortium that built the first seven Volvo Ocean 65 one-design boats that contested the 12th edition finishing in June this year.

Persico also made global media headlines when it carried out the complete rebuild of the shattered Team Vestas Wind boat in just four-and-a-half months after Chris Nicholson’s crew struck a reef in the Indian Ocean during Leg 2 in November last year.

Vestas Wind completed the final two legs of the ninth-month offshore marathon and proved how well the workers of Persico had done their job by immediately finishing runners-up in the eighth stage from Lisbon to Lorient, France.

All seven Volvo Ocean 65s will race again in the next edition from October 2017 after an upgrade and a major re-fit. More of the identical boats built by Persico will join them for the 13th edition depending on demand from future teams.

Tom Touber, COO of the Volvo Ocean Race, explained why the Race had decided to give this important contract to Persico.

“If you’re going to build a limited number of boats, it is way more efficient to construct them in one location,” he said. “The main component is the hull, which Persico provided very efficiently in the last race as part of the consortium of builders, so that’s one reason.

“But also Persico did an outstanding job taking the lead in the rebuild of Vestas Wind and it confirmed to us how well they could do the job they’re now taking on.”

Touber said that Persico and the Race would have the option of working with other suppliers, also within the former consortium, to assist as necessary.

Marcello Persico, managing director of Persico Marine, was delighted that the company’s relationship with the world’s leading offshore race was growing and being extended.

“When Vestas Wind left our yard to re-join the race in Lisbon, some of my team were almost in tears. It was an amazing challenge and we were so proud to complete it,” he said.

“As you can imagine, we’re very proud now to be given this opportunity to work so closely with the race again for the next edition. We feel we are part of the Volvo Ocean Race family.”

He added: “This news is also a real boost for the Italian marine industry. Many companies have struggled hard to survive during the economic crisis and it’s great that such faith has been shown in us from the very top end of the market.”

Touber and Persico underlined that they did not anticipate problems ensuring any new boats built matched the strict one-design specification of the existing seven.

“The moulds and jigs will be exactly the same as used in the production of the other Volvo Ocean 65 boats,” said Touber. “If any part is constructed differently, it will not fit.”

He added that a major re-fit for the entire fleet was organised by the race for the end of 2016, when all boats would be returned to The Boatyard of the Volvo Ocean Race, stripped down, all parts re-measured, and, as necessary, upgraded. This would also help ensure the strict one-design dimensions of the boats.

News of Persico’s deal is announced on the 42nd anniversary of the first running of the event, which began as the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1973.

Published in Ocean Race

#VOR - Volvo Ocean Race rivals Team SCA and Team Vestas Wind will go head-to-head once more in a series of pro-am races at the Genoa Boat Show from September 30 to October 5.

The six pro-am races will give the race’s many Italian fans the first chance to see VOR boats on home waters and provide an intriguing challenge for the crews of Team Vestas Wind and Team SCA, which will be named at a later date.

The teams will be matched in two daily pro-am in-port races on 30 September 30, 1 and 2 October before they join a Genoa Boat Show fleet race on Saturday 3 October.

Team Vestas Wind skipper Chris Nicholson, whose Danish-backed challengers memorably bounced back from near disaster in the second leg last November when the boat was grounded on a reef in the Indian Ocean – recorded on the spot by the boat's Irish onboard reporter Brian Carlin – was very much looking forward to taking on Team SCA’s all-women crew again.

“The last time we were in Genoa, we were on our way to Persico Marine to repair our Volvo Ocean 65, so it’s very special to be able to be back in Italy racing our boat,” said Nicholson.

“The Vestas Wind is in great condition and the team still has much more to give, as fans saw when we returned ahead of Leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race in Lisbon. I’m proud to represent Vestas at the Genoa Boat Show and look forward to competing against Team SCA once more,” he continued.

After the race finished in Gothenburg on 27 June, the blue boat sailed via its home port of Copenhagen to Race HQ in Alicante, Spain for routine maintenance. It will depart for Genoa the weekend before the Genoa Boat Show starts on 30 September.

They will face stiff competition in Genoa from Team SCA, who finished third overall in the In-Port Race Series of the Volvo Ocean Race and then beat event rivals Dongfeng Race Team in the Artemis Challenge during Cowes Week last month. They impressed too during the Fastnet Race, also held during the traditional sailing festival on the Isle of Wight.

Anton Albertoni, president of the Genoa Boat Show’s organizing body I Saloni Nautici, said he was delighted to welcome the two crews to Genoa.

“The Volvo Ocean Race brings the pinnacle of offshore racing to the Genoa Boat Show,” he said. “For the show's visitors, though, this is not an invitation to dare but to meet those men and women who have made the sea their passion, their lifestyle, their daily pleasure.

"Those who face such challenges have the ocean at heart and having them in Genoa represents a true celebration of the sea. That's why we are very happy to welcome the women from Team SCA and the men from Team Vestas Wind.

“Moreover, the Volvo Ocean 65s have been built and fitted with some of the best Italian marine technology and the Genoa Boat Show is all about Made in Italy.”

Team SCA squad member Carolijn Brouwer added: “It was great to have the team back together again for the Fastnet Race, and we were happy with our performance.

"We look forward to once again locking horns with Team Vestas Wind, and meeting many of our Italian supporters at the Genoa Boat Show."

Published in Ocean Race
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