New boat for the Volvo pt1


madforsailing gets the views of eminent yacht designer Bruce Farr on the options available to Volvo
If there was one person on the planet with a view on what the new boat for the Volvo Ocean Race should be it is Bruce Farr of Farr Yacht Design (right). The Annapolis-based Kiwi was responsible for all but two of the boats in the recent race and has designed every winning boat since the 1989/90 race. When it comes to creating Volvo boats - as both Grant Dalton and Knut Frostad will attest - Farr is king. A significant point, and one which Farr feels has not been fully put, is whether or not the race actually needs a new boat. "I don't think it is necessary," he told madfor sailing. "I don't think it is a prerequisite. There is general consensus that it should be bigger, faster, more comfortable and cheaper! And therein lies the problem. But then it sounds like any product." So presumably such a beast is not possible with all these stipulations? "I think one can take a step in all of those directions with a lot of care. I'm not sure you can get all those things, especially the cheaper side without going one design or to a cheaper restricted class." Farr takes the view that one option would be for Volvo to make the returns greater. "Rather than trying to get the costs down, it might be better to get the return up, so sponsors get more bang for their buck," he says. "I don't necessarily think a lower cost of entry means you get more entries. It is a cost versus return equation. Formula 1 demonstrates that you can get 11 teams willing to spend $100-200 million per year if there is sufficient return." He also wonders whether Volvo opting for a cheaper boat is really going to have much effect on campaign budgets.

VISITORS