Performance Design and Van
Gorkom Yacht Design have teamed up to create a new Volvo 70
for the 2005-2006 Volvo Ocean Race. Together, we have helped sculpt
the new Volvo 70 Rule, and have created a first generation design
with promising performance. Here's an inside look at our work.
“The starting point
is a brand new, state of the art, 70' monohull race-boat. This open
design will have a canting keel and a choice of multiple rudders
/ daggerboards. Above all, it will be very fast and exciting to
sail. The prescribed rule will remain relatively open, presenting
a challenge and test for designers. The new Volvo Open 70 will be
an easier boat to sail, with fewer sails to handle and better living
conditions for the crew. The race rules will favor imagination,
creativity and sailing skills, and not an environment where the
biggest purse necessarily gives a bigger edge.” So touts the
organizers of the Volvo Ocean Race.
The Volvo Ocean Race,
previously known as the Whitbread Round the World Race, is an enduring
pinnacle of offshore racing. The battleground of this grueling,
global, monohull sailing competition pushes the skills of team sailors
and designers to their limits, and captures the spirit and excitement
of sailing enthusiasts everywhere.
competitions in 80-foot IOR maxis and the more nimble Volvo Ocean
60’s, the next event introduces an exciting new class that
will continue to promote breakthrough innovation, design, and speed.
On the tails of the 2001-2002 race, the Volvo Ocean Race team solicited
extensive contributions from a consortium of a half-dozen designers
(ourselves included), as well as sailors and sponsors to help sculpt
the framework of this latest ocean going thoroughbred.
This culmination of creativity
and innovation has given birth to the Volvo 70 and a new format
of racing that couples long-distance offshore sailing with six action-packed
inshore stopovers. Starting from the Mediterranean on November 5th,
2005, the race ports-of-call include Cape Town/South Africa, Melbourne/Australia,
Rio de Janeiro/Brazil, Baltimore/Annapolis/USA, Southampton/UK,
Goteborg/Sweden, and a finish at a Baltic port (TBA).
The race will be scored
on a high-point system tiered to the number of competing yachts.
Using 12 entries as an example: On each of the seven ocean legs,
1st, 2nd, 3rd placed finishers will receive 12, 11, 10 points, respectively.
Mid-ocean scoring gates (one or two per leg) add an additional 6,
5.5, 5 points to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd boats to round these locations.
And each of the six in-port regattas will award 1st, 2nd, 3rd placed
finishers with 6, 5.5, 5 points, respectively. The ocean legs will
account for 80% of the total point tally, while in-port, round-the-cans
sprints will account for 20%.
In its very conception,
the Volvo 70 is a recipe for success. Its ingredients are simple
… Sailors wanted speed, power, and comfort. Race organizers
wanted durability and safety. Sponsors wanted innovation and excitement.
Blend these ingredients together with a dose of careful planning
and management headed by CEO, Glenn Bourke, and Racing Director,
Andy Hindley, to create a winning game plan for sport at its most
70 Principal Dimensions
Like its smaller 60-foot
cousin, the Volvo 70 is a rule-based, box design with an abundant
allowance for creativity and speed potential, yet tempered with
prudent restrictions for safety. Let’s examine the differences:
With an additional six feet of waterline length (and a displacement
similar to that of the smaller 60’s), the Volvo 70 will
turn the physics of speed/length ratio into a record setting pace.
500+ mile days could be the norm. Optimized towards off-the-wind
sailing, hullforms will be wide and shallow aft, with narrow forward
entries. The narrow entry offers minimum residuary (or wave) drag,
while the broad, shallow stern promotes favorable planing characteristics.
Hollows are permitted only in the bow, and locally in way of appendage
attachments such as fin dillets (a concave fillet) and rudder
Yachts will have an
open choice of multiple rudder / daggerboard options, the restriction
being that each appendage can only have one degree of freedom
(rotation, retraction, etc.). Dual rudders aft with port / starboard
retractable daggerboards may be typical. But keep your eyes open,
too, for bow-rudder designs following the form of CBTF’s
“canting ballast, twin foil” concept. A team’s
selected configuration will intrinsically tradeoff: high aspect
ratio fins for maximum lift efficiency when on the wind or reaching;
reduced wetted surface when sailing downwind; maneuverability
and round-the-cans acceleration; and durability and robustness
dictated by an extreme ocean environment.
After much discussion
amongst race organizers and sailors, water ballast in wing tanks
will not be allowed. However, nearly 320 gallons of water ballast
is permitted in an on-centerline, aft tank for optimizing trim
and waterline length. As a result, sailing displacements will
be lighter with hulls inherently designed with narrower maximum
beams, as the drive for a maximized righting arm using water ballast
has been eliminated. Stability, though, is not lacking …
The most intriguing feature of the Volvo 70 is its canting keel
and 9900 pound bulb. Dual (and redundant, should one fail) hydraulic
rams can rotate the CG of the ballast package 40 degrees to weather
to create a very significant 25% increase in stability and power.
A canting keel offers lower wetted surface, less form drag, and
less required weight than a conventional keel. Coupled, these
benefits enhance performance dramatically, with prior success
demonstrated in the proving grounds of single-handed round-the-word
More powerful …
The enticement of added stability is answered by a large, powerful
sail plan. Fractionally rigged, with a large, full roach mainsail,
the sail plan gains added power from masthead spinnakers and a
Code Zero type sail. A fixed (non-articulating) bowsprit extends
6 feet beyond the bow, enabling easily tacked chute flying. Mainsail
area approaches 2000 square feet, with spinnakers encompassing
up to 5600 square feet of area. The trick to success, though,
is inventory. In an effort to keep team campaign costs in check,
Volvo Ocean Race organizers have tightly limited the number of
sails available to each team. Capped at 24 for the entire race
(no more than three mainsails), each leg is further limited to
eleven primary sails: one mainsail, four headsails (including
a staysail), one reacher, and five spinnakers -- at least two
of which shall be a fractionally flown. Storm sails are unlimited.
Sails with major recuts will be re-measured as new sails. In essence,
the ultimate power of the boat will be dramatically affected by
the team’s ability to efficiently design, nurture, and maintain
their limited quiver of carefully conceived sails. Sail shapes
must be carefully examined in the design stage to optimize wind
speed crossovers supplemented by the added stability of the canting
keel. Further, sails must have versatility for rapid-paced, round-the-buoy
racing, where use of the canting keel may be limited from a practical
sense. Interestingly, carbon sails will not be allowed, both from
a cost-savings standpoint, as well as the threat of their detrimental
impact on radar transmission.
Roll, baby, roll
Volvo 70’s must be designed to stringent large-heel-angle
stability criteria. While a canting keel increases stability (or
righting moment) dramatically under typical sailing conditions
(say 30 degrees of heel), its offset CG actually works against
a self-righting tendency at large, knockdown heel angles. Accordingly,
Volvo 70 Rule developers have closely examined limitations on
hull displacement and beam that affect form stability, with additional
limitations on keel weight and keel swing angles. Each yacht shall
have a designer-calculated limit of positive stability greater
than 115 degrees, with appendages positioned in a worst-case scenario.
In addition, each boat must successfully self-right from a 180-degree
inversion using only manual power to articulate the keel.
Home, sweet home
finer details of the new Volvo 70 class have been largely driven
by sailors’ recommendations for ergonomic efficiency, both
above deck and below. The Rule endeavors to provide some rudimentary
level of comfort – a little corner of home in the roaring
southern oceans. Well, maybe not luxurious, but substantially
better than the 60’s. A limited sail inventory translates
to more available space down below, and the Volvo 70 puts this
to good use. Each boat will have a dedicated navigation station,
and a separate, dedicated media center. A minimum of ten berths
provides for less “hot bunkings.” Heaters will provide
welcomed comfort in the chilled waters of the southern ocean.
The galley encompasses a two-burner stove, sink, and reasonable
area of counter space. To buffer the hygienic preparation of food,
an additional sink is required for general use, separate from
the galley. And, most enticingly, the crew will have the luxury
of a separate toilet enclosure offering some measure of privacy.
Crew numbers have been
reduced from 60-foot standards. An all-male crew will be limited
to nine. A mixed crew (at least five women) will be limited to
10, and an all-female team may have up to 11 crew onboard. During
in-port races, each team may take on one extra crewmember, likely
with specialized local-knowledge or fleet racing skills. Additionally,
up to three non-participating representatives from the syndicate,
sponsors, or media may join the in-port racing.
Scantlings for the new Volvo 70’s utilize modern construction
materials with precautionary safety features. Hulls will have
carbon fiber skins sandwiched around a honeycomb core. Bulkheads
divide each yacht into at least five watertight compartments,
with additional local subdivision around appendage attachments.
Any one compartment may flood without immersing the deck. Deck
layouts can use off-the-shelf titanium fittings. The mast and
boom can be carbon. However, carbon may not be used for the fin
of the canting keel – a restriction geared towards conservative
engineering in this all-to-critical part.
The Volvo Ocean Race
will test the sailors' skills and not that of an on-shore routing
team. Explains Glenn Bourke, “During the race itself, on-shore
weather routing by meteorological experts will not be allowed.
Weather packages will be provided to the fleet daily and at regular
intervals from the state-of-the art race HQ in the UK.”
As a new mandate for
2005-2006, each new boat MUST be raced, effectively eliminating
“idle” trial horses. Time, itself, plays a critical
role. Backtracking from a planned autumn 2005 start, teams forming
now can expect: 3 months of startup organization, fundraising,
etc.; 6 months of intense research and design; 6 to 8 months of
boat construction; and 4 to 6 months of sail testing, boat tuning,
and offshore trial runs. In essence, the race is already on, with
early gains to be made both on and off the water.
The Volvo Ocean Race
2005-2006 and the new Volvo 70 promise to deliver speed and excitement
to the sailing community and push the limits of performance into
unprecedented territory. We think we’re off to a good start.
to "What's New"