Nuts and bolts of the VO65

Ian Roman Photography / Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
We have a crawl over the latest Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
For the first time in its 41 year history, 2014 will see the Volvo Ocean Race contested in one designs – as many as eight of the Farr Yacht Design-penned Volvo Ocean 65s are expected to be on the race’s Alicante start line on 11 October this year. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, with her snazzy paintjob, is the fifth boat off the production line at Green Marine’s facility in Hythe, although Ian Walker’s team is the only fourth to take delivery of their new vessel following on from Dongfeng, Team SCA and Brunel and with Alvamedica believed to be next in line. After eight years of the brutish VO70s, the VO65 obviously bears great similarity to its forebear (where Farr designed the last generation VO70 for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing), but also borrows heavily from IMOCA 60s, where the Annapolis-based design house came up with the 2008 Vendee Globe winner Foncia and came home third in the last singlehanded non-stop round the world race with Alex Thomson’s Hugo Boss. Adopting many IMOCA 60 features has partly come about because, for this Volvo Ocean Race, crews are smaller still - a maximum of eight plus a media crewman (now called the on board reporter or ‘OBR’) permitted for male crews and 11 plus the OBR for all-female crews like Team SCA. Going one design, has allowed a few creature comforts (aka ‘safety features’) to be incorporated into the design. Obviously gone are the VO70 rule cheats such as the tower for the forestay chainplate and the batwings to raise the runners and spinnaker sheeting points. While the last Abu Dhabi VO70 had the open plan, sidedeck-free, Telefonica Blue-style cockpit, the VO65 has reverted to a more conventional layout. Particularly noticeable is how much deeper the cockpit seems, with the deck now at knee