What next for the Volvo Ocean Race?

Ian Roman Photography / Volvo Ocean Race
CEO Knut Frostad and the leg five breakages and decisions to be made for the next race
Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad was very much enjoying the new Brazilian stopover port when we spoke to him. In Itajaí, he said there was huge interest in the race, on a par with New Zealand, local enthusiasm no doubt boosted by Brasil 1’s participation in the 2005-6 race, followed by local hero Torben Grael winning the last Volvo Ocean Race as skipper of Ericsson 4. Some of his old guard – notably Joca Signorini and Horatio Carabelli now with the leading Telefonica team. But underlying this, Frostad is concerned about the level of carnage that the fully crewed round the world race, he once competed in and now runs, has experienced this time around. “Obviously we are not happy with such a big part of the fleet is not able to complete a leg without stopping or retiring. That is no secret,” he says of the leg 5 outcome. Recently he issued a statement to this effect. After leg five saw one dismasting, two cases of delamination/core shear, one ring frame failure and a broken rudder, following on from two boats dismasting on leg one when two had to be shipped to from Spain to Cape Town, Frostad says he has been following the accusations in the media that VO70s aren’t seaworthy enough. He is pleased at least that people care. Frostad reiterates, as we have highlighted recently, that to understand the failures that have occurred it is necessary to separate the rig failures from the issues some boats have suffered with their hull's structure. To date this Volvo Ocean Race has seen three dismastings (Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Puma and Groupama) and one critical rigging failure (Team Sanya), but as Frostad points out it is the first time the event has had a rig loss since Brasil