Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12

The Everest of Sailing starts Nov 5th 2011, beginning nine months of the Volvo Ocean Race that starts in Alicante and concludes in Galway, Ireland, during early July 2012, the teams will sail over 39,000 nautical miles of the world’s most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, around Cape Horn to Itajaí, Miami, Lisbon, and Lorient.

Their challenge is to record the fastest time between ports is the longest, most demanding sporting contest the world is what drives the men back to a race that offers no prize money, just the glory of holding the Volvo Ocean Race trophy.

Six boats each a with team of 11 professionals race day and night for more than 20 days at a time on some of the legs. They will each take on different jobs onboard the boat and on top of these sailing roles, there will be two sailors that have had medical training, as well as a sail maker, an engineer and a dedicated media crew member.

Sailing at the extreme: no fresh food is taken onboard so they live off freeze dried fare, they will experience temperature variations from -5 to +40 degrees Celsius and will only take one change of clothes :scared: andl trust their lives to the boat and the skipper while experiencing hunger and sleep deprivation.

How to follow the Volvo Ocean Race here

Go Camper ETNZ :smile_gre

Cheers Alan :zbeer:

Dear Alan,

Can you elaborate a bit on the CAMPER’s adjustable hydraulic forestay ram? Does it means that they can change the mast tilt or they can mechanicaly thighten the jib?

Either way, my understanding is that this was not in the spirit of the rules but a commity change the rule to accomodate it, to late for the others? Is this the way it went or I have everything all wrong?

Also, any comment on the keel in front of the mast?

The adjustable forestay is to change the balance of the boat whilst sailing. You can actively move the head of the rig fore and aft.
It has everything to do with the relationship of the mast and keel placement, they would be seriously compromised if it was deemed illegal.
This is not a new idea, the old mono cup yachts do this to a huge degree…

Symont, we have the privilege of having Jim join us, he is a professional yacht builder that worked on shore teams for construction of Ericson V70 later on Victory Challenge & Artemis AC teams and was on the team that built the rig for Abu Dhabi V70 in this Volvo and guessing his next project is building the wing for Artemis AC 72 ?

But his notable achievement in RC world in my eyes is his incredible V70 build with a canting keel, if you have not seen them take a look.

If anyone can answer technical questions on big boat world of V70’s and AC boats, he’s the man ! not me, what I know you can write on the back of a postage stamp.

Jim also built IACC 120 SWE 96 which scares the hell out our Italian friends, we only need to get him to Ravenna, win the cup ! and then will be racing in place of work, the Americas Cup Harbour in Valencia !!! just as they change back to mono’s again :slight_smile:

Cheers Alan

Interview with Grant Dalton where he touches on Camper forestay issue :slight_smile:


Pretty sad about Abu Dhabi’s circumstances, but very happy no one was injured.
An inspection team is already in Alicante and I’m waiting to hear further news.
Not the start I was hoping for!

Team Sanya heading to port of Motril assessing the state of their boat after hull damage forced them to suspend racing as well.

It’s still unclear exactly what had caused the damage, which occurred when the boat was 30 nautical miles southeast of Motril, on the southern coast of Spain. The wind was blowing 43 knots and the waves were around 10.5 metres :scared: hairy stuff !

After seeing the pictures of the Team Sanya boat, they have one hell of a job on fixing that. I repaired Delta Lloyd’s bow in Rio for the last VOR. That repair was half the size minimum. Even though the water had not broken the outside skin it was a full cut and shut and install more structure in the bow… and took 10 days.

That’s the biggest shortcoming of layered unidrectional fibres of any kind; they don’t deal well with impact. They are also almost impossible to fix because it is very difficult to determine the extent of the damage. Luckily, these boats only need to survive for a few months…

It isn’t the laminate that breaks, but usually the core gives out. It’s 40 mm Aramid/Kevlar Nomex core in the bow and a big section in front of the keel is a single skin zone to deal with the slamming.

Once the core goes, then the panel is compromised. The unis break under flexing and the hydraulic forces do the rest.
Something like 10 years ago, you could only build the hull in Kevlar as the rules prohibited the use of carbon for this very reason…
The Sanya boat has already been round the track once as Telfonica too.

4 year old hull from the last Volvo :confused: I’ve heard talk about replacing the entire bow section ?

From the VOR site:
“The piece of boat that we are going to chop out and replace is five metres long by three and a half metres wide by a metre high.


Another broken mast. Puma this time.

The tag match with Telefonica was so great up until now, this is just too bad. I can then only imagine their deception.

Will they have time to be on the starting line of Leg 2?

A question for Jim, or anyone else…

The two broken masts and the Sanya incident raise a few questions about the construction of these boats. I am not looking for any inside top secret non-disclosure info here, just general answers from someone who knows.

  1. Does carbon fiber lamination (or whatever exotic material you’re using these days) have predictable/repeatable mechanical proprieties? I mean by that, for a given number of layers of a given material in a given laying technique, do the tensile, compressions, impact and fatigue specs are always of the same nature?

  2. If so, do you work with security factor as we would do for a machined component? How extreme the sea/weather conditions are factored in on these racing beast?

  3. What kind of destructive and non-destructive technique are you using? What are their limitations?

  4. To you best estimate, and not necessarily computing the recent events, which percentage can we attribute to these usual suspects in racing incidents history:

    • Bad design
    • Design pushed too far
    • Manufacturing
    • Sailing error
    • Rig failure
    • Pure bad luck

Thank you for your time. It will give us more appreciation of what’s happening on… and off… the water.

The Sanya guys seem to have learn well from the RCSailing forum :lol:

i think the hull demage is bad luck. yes it an old hull, but anytime you make contact with something, thing usually break…

while no structuralengineer, the one thing about carbon is when it is overloaded it does not deform… aluminum or steel will deform before it breaks. so damage is easier to spot. before it becomes catastrophic.

take a secton of carbon tubing and a piece of aluminum tubing. hold one end firm and add weight to the other end. the aluminum tube will deform and not rebound. the carbon will deform sligtly as you ad weight, but ocne you add to much it breaks.

IMO I think they are building light for speed, but no so much for durability.

there are so many forces at work. sails, heal angle, rig flexing from pounding waves, heck all it takes is small amount of damage to weaken the structure… how many times is the rig separated from the boat, and transported. increasingt he chanes of damages that are unseen, whlie its being shipped…

Just to keep on top of things, I will answer your questions, but you will have to be a little patient as yesterday was a 22 hr day and today was a bit better but not by much. Sorry, just quite an intense period right now…thanks.

Quite understandable Jim. Please take time to swich off and find some well deserved rest before even considering answering my questions.

We are privileged to have you here.

Okay I’ve tried to cover it as best I could, but without waffling on and diluting the facts to much!

I think the best info I can reveal is that the yachts are around 30% stiffer than the last generation.
The rigs are around the same too. This is sending the dynamic loads into numbers never seen before…

This is extreme. Not quite how the marketing people try and sell it, but just in the fact the yachts make it to the other end in one piece is a testament to the skill and luck of the crew…

thanks for the insight…

Thank you Jim for your enlightening answer. It gives us the opportunity to appreciate your work… and challenges.