Farr's latest offering

Paul Todd / Volvo Ocean Race
Farr Yacht Design President, Pat Shaughnessy talks us through the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing VO70
If their first place in last weekend’s light wind Alicante in-port race is anything to by, then the Ian Walker-skippered Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing go into this weekend’s start of the Volvo Ocean Race’s opening leg to Cape Town as favourite. Unfortunately the in-port race was really no gauge of future performance. Built by Persico in Italy, the first Emirati-backed VO70 is the only boat in this year’s race from Farr Yacht Design, who penned the two Telefonica boats for the last race. Pat Shaughnessy, President of Farr Yacht Design, recognises that the opening in-port has little bearing on the overall results, but is tentatively positive. “We won the in-port race last time with Telefonica and we won the time before with Sony Ericsson, so there is déjà-vu, but having won the Fastnet Race too this time it is encouraging and feels good,” he says. This Volvo Ocean Race is the third outing for the VO70 canting keelers and Shaughnessy points out that nowadays they have a good handle on the design space. In designing Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing they took as their base Telefonica Blue, which finished second last time around, and added to the mix some changes to the rule (reduced sail inventory, maximum combined fin-bulb weight, etc) and the new course (going into the Gulf, to Sanya, China and Auckland, etc). “Plus,” says Shaughnessy, “you gain a team with different people in it and different perspectives on how the race is won and together you create a result.” The new course creates minor differences in the spread of anticipated wind angles and speeds to be seen on the race track, but this hasn’t led to massive conceptual changes for the latest generation VO70s says Shaughnessy. This time what has are the points scoring bias shift away from the in-port races to