Volvo Ocean Race Will Introduce New High-Performance Fleet
Concern over the "dwindling number of entries" in the Volvo Ocean Race has pushed organisers to introduce a new fleet of "high performance racing yachts" that can be purchased off the shelf, according to Kate Laven of the London TELEGRAPH. In what is seen as a "radical departure from the race tradition, which has underpinned most of the major developments in yacht racing design and technology over the past 39 years," organisers unveiled plans to introduce a new fleet. The fleet will consist of 65 foot monohulls that are designed to be "equal in performance and reliability." British boat builder Green Marine will be in charge of building the boats which will be priced at €4.5M ($5.6M), "around €1M ($1.2M) less than the current Volvo 70's." Those are designed to a box rule "giving scope to push boundaries with rigging and other speed enhancing innovations." Race CEO Knut Frostad said, "Our clear goal throughout the planning process for the next race has been to make it easier and less costly to mount a campaign in the next race." Existing sponsors who have "ploughed around €30M ($37.3M) into their '11-12 campaigns" have been told of the new boat proposals. Frostad estimates that a future campaign for potential sponsors "should not cost more than €15M ($18.6M)" (TELEGRAPH, 6/28).