VO65 hull and deck no1 complete
The first One Design boat for the next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race will be launched in July. Hull and deck number one have now been assembled at Green Marine in Hythe, in the south of England, and the fit-out is going ahead.
Class Project Manager James Dadd comments: “The first Volvo Ocean 65 is well under way. All internal structure has been completed. The deck is now fitted and laminated into place. All the secondary bonding has been done. Once or twice a week, the build box is heated at 65°C to cook the secondary bonding pre-impregnated carbon. We wanted to make sure we had very good control over the resin content in everything, so we decided to use pre-preg instead of wet lay-up.
“Deck two has arrived at Green Marine too and is ready to go. Hull two is due to be leaving Persico in Italy in the next days. It’s already out of the mould and it has most of its internal structure into it. Hull three is now being laminated. Deck three is already out of the mould at Multiplast, France.
“The first rigs are being shipped from Southern Spars in New Zealand as we speak. The first keel will arrive soon from Iron Brothers, a company down the English west coast. The daggerboards for the first Volvo Ocean 65 will arrive with the second hull and rudders are being built here at Green Marine. Killian Bush from Team SCA has visited the deck and hull already. My approach with the teams is to allowing them to observe, not interfere.
“The level of accuracy and repeatability of this process is extremely high due to the processes that have been put in place during the build, using numerically machined custom tools both to build the parts and to fit them together. Account is taken for the amount different materials expand and contract throughout the curing process so that critical components are built and installed in exactly the same place on every boat to within one quarter of a millimeter.
“As more boats are assembled we will constantly monitor the accuracy and repeatability, but anything more than one mm difference in any area is going to be investigated. Every gramme of material added is monitored and we are going to have an extremely accurate understanding of exactly where any differences in weight are, however small that may be so that we can correct this and equalise the fleet
before racing starts.”
Green Marine Construction Project Manager Connell Daino adds: “The project itself is a very big challenge. To put all these components together in such a short timeframe is a big challenge. The guys are working very well together. I’m very proud the way they raise to the challenge.
“We have two main types of technicians working alongside each other: the boatbuilders and the laminators. I sequence the Volvo Ocean 65 and manage the space carefully so that they can all do their jobs. At the moment we’ve got 18 guys working on boat number one, plus the components oven and engineer for the next boats. We already have three engine boxes, six bulkheads… There is a mountain of parts ready for the boats when they arrive!
“The biggest and most important fact on this project is that all the boats are the same. One Design is the essence of the whole project; ignoring it would be failure. There is a lot checking, double and triple checking. We have to develop our experience and our processes and prepare the jigs on this first boat. There are so many drivers of what has to be correct and perfect. It’s definitely a challenge and we found that out with the deck-fit. Putting together and aligning two big components such as a hull and a deck was a very critical moment. James Dadd was involved making sure we got it right.
“I’m very lucky to have so much support from Simon Smith and the rest of the organisation at Green Marine to help me concentrate on the boat. I get the best part of the job, which is to fill the building team with the design instructions. There is a very good spirit in the team. When it’s tough, we pull together; when it’s good, there is a lot of laughter.”