The Volvo Ocean Race has unveiled details of the high-performance new boat that will be used for the next two editions of the Race.
The plans detailed by Race CEO Knut Frostad at a presentation in Lorient on Thursday will significantly reduce the cost of mounting a competitive campaign and are designed to bring the size of the fleet to 8-10 boats in future editions.
The 65-foot (19.8-metre) monohull racing yacht will be strictly one-design. It will be designed by the United States-based Farr Yacht Design and constructed by a consortium of leading boatyards in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Switzerland.
Under an agreement between Volvo Ocean Race and the consortium, a minimum of eight boats will be built to contest the next two races.
Work will begin in July and the first of the racing yachts in the new class will be completed by June 2013, well over a year before the start of the 12th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, leaving from Alicante, Spain in the second half of 2014.
“This breathtaking new design, and the agreement to build at least eight yachts, will take the Volvo Ocean Race into an exciting new era,” said Knut Frostad, the Race’s Chief Executive Officer.
Despite being five feet (1.5 metres) shorter, the new boat will be almost as fast as the Volvo Open 70s that are contesting the current race.
The boat will be designed and built with the latest video, satellite and content production facilities to further enhance the work being done in the unique Media Crew Member programme that has been in place since the 2008-09 race.
The Volvo Ocean Race is owned by Volvo Car Corporation and The Volvo Group, who together reaffirmed their open-ended commitment to the race at a news conference ahead of the start of the current edition in Alicante in November 2011. Stefan Jacoby, CEO of Volvo Car Corporation, said “We at Volvo Cars are fully behind these initiatives, which we believe will secure the future of this great event on all levels but also stay faithful to the very basis of the Volvo Ocean Race as the sport’s premier offshore competition for the world’s leading sailors”.