Volvo Ocean Race 2014-5 NOR published
Teams will be allowed two extra crew members for In-Port Races in the next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race in 2014-15, in one of a series of rule changes announced in the Notice of Race on Friday.
The document underlines the Volvo Ocean Race's commitment to broadening the platform for entry by allowing extra crew members for all-female and mixed teams and mandating the use of at least two Under-30s crewmembers on each team.
The Notice of Race for the 12th edition of the world's leading offshore sailing event, which is being issued just over five and a half months after the end of the 2011-12 Race, includes the following stipulations:
– Each team will be able to name one extra crew member for the in-port races, subject to certain restrictions
– The standard crew size will be 8 plus 1 non-sailing multimedia reporter
– Mixed teams (with no more than five male sailors) will be able to race with 9 plus 1 non-sailing multimedia reporter
– All women's teams will be able to race with 11 sailors plus 1 non-sailing multimedia reporter
– Each team will again have to race with 2 Under-30s crew members at all times
– There will be a new, fully competitive warm-up race, which although it will not carry Race points, must be contested by full racing crews
The full document can be viewed here
The decision to bring an extra crew member for In-Port Races came after race management concluded a team of eight sailors would find it too difficult to perform the necessary sail changes and manoeuvres to guide the powerful One Design 65-foot boats around tight inshore courses.
"The boat is almost the same size as the Volvo Open 70 of the last three editions, when you had crews of 10, so this move to bring the crew back up to 10 for In-Port Races only means we're going back to what we had," said Lloyd.
Also included are details on the on-board media programme, which will be in use for the third race in succession following its ground-breaking introduction in 2008-09 and an even more successful campaign in 2011-12.
As in the previous two races, each team must have an on-board multimedia reporter at all times. That reporter must be approved by the Volvo Ocean Race, in a step introduced to make sure all teams make best use of the enhanced media capabilities of the One Design Volvo Ocean 65s.
The reporter will no longer be known as a Media Crew Member and there will be stricter control over their recruitment and duties on board.
“We want proven media professionals on board and we are clear that they are there for one thing: to provide our fans with top quality content day in day out from their boats,” said Communications Director Jon Bramley.
“I want us to raise the bar in this area even higher than the two previous races because they are absolutely key to our media strategy of providing more action direct from the boats. We will start recruiting our on-board multi-media reporters, with the input of the teams, from early in the New Year and will release more details then.”
Race CEO Knut Frostad said: "Our main objectives are to broaden the platform of entry to the Volvo Ocean Race while retaining our position as an event for the real elite in the sport and to engage more and more fans going forward. This document underlines our commitment to those goals.
"The crew changes will only make women's and mixed teams more competitive, while the rules on the on-board multimedia reporters are there to ensure the stunning HD content we've come to expect form the boats reaches as wide an audience as possible.
"At the same time, we're making sure teams open up the race to younger sailors through our Under-30s rule."
He added: "The fact that we've put out this Notice of Race so soon after the last race shows our commitment for getting things done quickly but efficiently so everyone knows where they are."
Details of the scoring system for the 2014-15 race will be added at a later date.
The document is slimmer than for previous races because of the One Design boat being used in the 2014-15 Race for the first time.
"The use of the One Design Volvo Ocean 65 has really simplified things," said Jack Lloyd, Race Director. "Whereas in the past you'd have to go into great detail about what is and isn't allowed, in a lot of circumstances we're able to say that the boat will be sailed as supplied, and basically leave it at that."
The first major amendment to the Notice of Race will come in early 2013 when the route is announced.