Goodbye Volvo Ocean 60?

Volvo Ocean Race's head honcho tells Andy Rice about his plans for the next race in three years' time
While little has been set in stone for the next Volvo Ocean Race in autumn 2005, we can be pretty sure that we have seen the last of the Volvo Ocean 60. madforsailing spoke to the race's chief executive, Helge Alten (above), just after he had spent a busy day in Gothenburg explaining the Swedish car firm's plans for the second edition of the round the world race. With Alten due to retire on 1 December this year, he will be passing on the reins to a new chief executive. For his part, Alten is looking forward to "going sailing", although he has been asked to stay on as a consultant for the next race. Whilst Alten will constitute only one member of the board that eventually decides the details of the next race next Spring, he is clearly against allowing the illbruck scenario to take place again. "The general consensus is that we should make the race more affordable, and set it up so that it doesn't pay to come in earlier into the game," he told madforsailing. "We want to avoid the situation where one team buys two boats from the previous race and spends three full years training as a build-up to the next race. We want to make it possible to launch a new boat on a fairly low-entry ticket." So that being the case, it looks as though the Volvo Ocean 60 is on its way out. Alten more or less confirmed this. "If you want to keep the VO60 it has to be cheaper to run," he said. "You could have just 10 crew, and identical keel designs for instance, but what you are doing is downgrading the current VO60, and 'downgrading' is not a word I think we should be associating with the race.