Designed by Farr Yacht Design in the USA specially for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014/15 (now the Ocean Race), the VO65 replaced its five feet longer predecessor. Thanks to the new one design rule, the teams have never before been so close together in the race around the globe. Every VO65 is identical down to the smallest detail. Same hull, same rig, same sails, same chances.

Das Design


With the VO65, the necessary budgets to participate in the race should be reduced. The yachts are supposed to be much more robust and reliable than their predecessors and also easier for the crew to handle. Especially with the newer VO70s, structural damage to the hull and rigging occurred more often due to exhaustion of the box-rule - speed without compromise. Although the VO65 was designed to avoid exactly this setting, its performance is no less than that of its five feet longer predecessor. This was confirmed by Team Akzonobel as they set the current 24 hour record for the Ocean Race. They broke the 600 mile mark during the ninth leg while crossing the North Atlantic from Newport to Cardiff, beating the previous record set by Ericsson 4. With an average speed of 25.08 knots, they covered 601.63 miles in 24 hours. The shorter hull length and smaller sail area was compensated for by the innovative design - simple and effective.

A New Concept

 

As for its predecessor, the basic concept is a planing hull with a wide stern, double rudder, sharp edges and a canting keel. A new feature is the reverse bow. It lengthens the waterline and reduces the pitching in short waves. However, it provides plenty of spray on deck. The lateral plan has also been revised. The VO65’s daggerboards do not have an angle of attack but instead the VO65 uses a buoyancy profile to counteract drift.

Weight was saved due to a lower load on the daggerboard boxes and also the mechanics for raising and lowering the daggerboards have been simplified. The 4.78 metre long keel is slightly inclined forwards by five degrees. When the keel is swung to windward, this five-degree inclination causes an angle of attack that provides buoyancy, which reduces displacement, and thus water resistance, stabilizes the bow in waves and also prevents some drift. The VO65 also has a longer bowsprit and three water ballast tanks.

Construction

 


The VO65 is manufactured in composite construction. In contrast to the VO70, a total of eight bulkheads are installed in the hull as opposed to of four. This is intended to strengthen the overall structure. The higher weight outweighs the greater load-bearing capacity. The hull consists of a carbon-honeycomb sandwich composite. The yacht was largely constructed in cooperation between four European shipyards - Green Marine in England, Decision in Switzerland, Persico in Italy and Multiplast in France. All in all, the construction of a VO65 lasts seven months, takes around 36,000 working hours and costs around five million euros. Before the yachts started their second trip around the globe, they were each given a general overhaul for about one million euros. In the course of this extensive refit, all yachts were equipped with a 500 watt hydrogen generator to relieve the 75 hp on-board engine.

 

 

The Rig

The rig is constructed by the New Zealand manufacturer Southern Spars. Southern Spars have a close history with The Ocean Race. For 25 years, Southern Spars have been equipping the most successful teams and they were pioneers with the first carbon mast in the 1990s. To comply with the one-design rule, all teams must have an identical rig. This also means that the masts must behave the same in every detail to guarantee equal opportunities. In the 2014-15 race, the bending tests showed a discrepancy of only 1.4 mm across the entire range of seven rigs. The 28.4 metre long mast tube as well as the 7.68 metre long boom are made of high modulus carbon. Due to the eight ribs and the stable hull, the mast foot can be mounted on deck. The rig is supported by shrouds from Future Fibres. The ECsix rigging consists of a bundle of individual carbon fibres, which gives the VO65 a dramatic performance boost. The low weight increases the righting moment and the shrouds are more aerodynamic and extremely reliable. TorqueLite 2.0 Furling Cables are used for all Furling sails. They reduce the number of turns needed to roll a sail away because they cannot be twisted. ECsix shrouds are also used for the backstays. Due to the main sail’s square top, double backstays are used. They run into the mast top but can be deflected downwards by means of a deflector. In the lower part of the mast is a pair of checkstays to trim the bending of the mast.

The Sails

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