Ian Walker on the Volvo Ocean Race

Ian Roman Photography / www.ianroman.com
The Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper looks forward to his third VOR campaign and discusses the teething problems of going one design
Ian Walker returns for his third stab at the Volvo Ocean Race following on from Green Dragon and the first Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing campaigns. For this next race, the British double Olympic silver medallist and his business partner Jamie Boag have done a good job to secure backing once again from the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority. Week before last, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing picked up its new boat from Green Marine and has since sailed it to Cascais, where their training base will be for the next three months. Walker comes into this Volvo Ocean Race having been dealt a good hand. Along with Bouwe Bekking, he is now one of the ‘old hands’ among the skippers taking part in the race. The last ADOR VO70 was also a Farr design, as is the new VO65. “Obviously we’ve worked Farr in the last race and you can see there’s a few ideas coming from their work with us…or not directly from us, but they’re Farr ideas or Farr traits,” Walker observes. "And the keel system is Cariboni, so we feel pretty familiar with most of it straight away. But handling-wise, it’s quite different.” If the VO70s were robust, then the VO65 is even more so. According to Walker around 700-800kg more carbon fibre has gone into the hull alone. “Just about every component you pick up - whether it’s the steering wheel or something in the mechanical system - it’s all heavier and stronger and, therefore, I think, more reliable.” Have just taken delivery of their new steed, Walker admitted that, yes, there are a few things they would have done differently on board, annoying little things mostly, but that was a small price to pay versus the upside of going one design. “If you look at other one design classes, you