On board ABN AMRO One

We get to see what's down below on black betty
One of the joys of working for thedailysail is getting to go for rides on top race boats. Recently we added to our catalogue Volvo Ocean Race leader ABN AMRO One aka 'Black Betty' or simply 'the black boat'. We have obviously written extensively about Mike Sanderson's Juan Kouyoumdjian design previously, when she was first launched and when we spoke to Juan K after ABN AMRO One had won the first leg of the race into Cape Town, but we had never sailed on ABN AMRO One before. While it was interesting to be aboard her in her full carbon fibre glory, inevitably of course the opportunity to experience first hand a canting keel Volvo Open 70 fully arched up and surfing at 30+ knots did not come to pass thanks to the sub-10 knot wind speeds. Much reported are the many horrors to date with the Volvo Open 70s, particularly when it comes to their canting keels. Even ABN AMRO One has had her issues, such as the crew demolishing one of her steering pedestals and some core breakage in the hull forward of the keel. To our understanding neither of the ABN AMRO boats have suffered keel problems during the race. Aside from the keel issues, the level of carnage has in reality been no worse than it has been in previous Volvo Ocean Race with the VO60s. Just stepping on board a VO70 tells you it is a million miles from being a light weight carbon fibre Med racer simply through looking at the robustness of the gear on board. Having sailed the Open 60 Hugo Boss recently before going out on ABN AMRO One it was immediately evident from the way the boat reverberates going through even small waves that here is a very much stiffer