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Konstruktøren av ABN Amro-båtene Juan Kouyoumdjian syns VOR-reglene er utfordrene.
Konstruktøren av ABN Amro-båtene Juan Kouyoumdjian syns VOR-reglene er utfordrene.

Støtte til VO70 regelen

Alle tre designerne, flesteparten av skipperne og mange fra prosjektenes tekniske stab var til stede da Volvo Ocean Race sjefen Gleen Bourke innkalte til krisemøte i Melbourne igår. Til tross for de mange havariene, får VO70 regelen full støtte og det var i hovedsak enighet om hvilke grep som nå må tas for å hindre flere alvorlige havarier. For de spesielt interesserte gjengir vi her rapporten i sin helhet:

RACE ORGANISATION AND TEAMS AGREE ITS BUSINESS AS USUAL January 25, 2006, Melbourne, Australia – Skippers, key crew members and designers were unanimous in their support of the Volvo Open 70 Rule at the conclusion of a landmark forum here yesterday. The forum was convened by the race organisers in light of the issues over durability and safety which arose during the first two legs of the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-06. The gathering was hosted by Glenn Bourke, CEO, Volvo Ocean Race. Each of the teams was represented and all three of the Volvo Open 70 designers attended. Q&A session with Glenn Bourke, CEO, Volvo Ocean Race Q: What was the aim of the forum? A: The aim was to get the skippers and key crew members together with the designers and the race organisation and have a round table discussion, an open exchange of information and ideas between all parties. The overriding objective of the race organisation was twofold: 1. To determine if the teams felt the rule required change or amendment to assist them in solving their durability issues or in making modifications to improve the robustness of the boats. 2. Consider any suggestions to further enhance the safety of the boats bearing in mind that the first two legs of the race were the first the Volvo Open 70s have ever sailed in competition. Q: What key areas did the discussion focus on? A: The two key issues were durability and safety of the boats. Q: Obviously you and the teams felt the issues during the first two legs were significant enough for the race organisation to convene this meeting? A: Absolutely. I think it was in everyone’s interests to call this meeting. It’s not a bad time in a race to hold this type of meeting anyway just to get the general feeling on any issues that are affecting the teams. We poll them by speaking to them personally but it is great in a collective environment if we get some of the main issues out on the table and discuss them. Q: How was the mood of the meeting? A: I was pleasantly surprised. There was consensus on a lot of issues. There was a good spirit of co-operation which you don’t always get at a meeting of that kind. Sailors generally have strong opinions and most of those opinions are varied. It is rare that you get an overwhelming consensus. What we had was a sense of collaboration – a group of guys with the interests of the race at heart trying to nut out a solution to the current issues. The teams and designers felt it was vital to share information on the exact nature of the damage sustained – particularly in the area of keel mechanisms and keel structures. Q: What was the outcome of the meeting? A: After a lot of constructive discussion, there was consensus on a lot of issues, several positive ideas came out and an agreement that it’s very much business as usual. The teams have looked at their own issues relating to breakage and they’ve decided that it’s their responsibility to do something about it. The message from the skippers was loud and clear. What was said was that “nobody knows what’s happening to us out there better than what we know so please leave it in our hands. If you want to talk to us about the technical detail and the loads that we are experiencing and the speeds of the boats by all means do so but don’t ponder great ideas for moving forward when you’re not actually out there on the coal face, in the 60 ft seas and in the 45 knot winds”. Q: What was agreed in terms of solutions to the current issues over damage to the boats? A: The teams have looked at their own issues in terms of the structures of the boats and they’ve decided that it’s their responsibility to do something about it. They unanimously agreed that the rule was fine in its current iteration and they don’t believe there is anything that significantly requires change. Q: What learnings have you all taken from the first two legs? A: What everyone has to understand is that the Volvo Open 70 is a development formula. It’s at the cutting edge of the sport and we are learning all the time. The crews are learning the limits of the boats, learning just how much they can push and how much they have to back off. And some of the breakdowns have come as a result of that learning process. These boats are designed to go fast there’s no denying that. But I guess the crews have to be mindful of how fast they can push this Formula One of ocean racing in certain conditions. As I heard Paul Cayard say recently “it’s a bit like driving a Ferrari on a dirt road. You wouldn’t do it”. Q: Was a postponement of the in-port race asked for by the teams to enable them more time to prepare the boats for the upcoming legs? A: No, there was no request by the teams or designers for a postponement. All the teams agreed that they would throw what time and resources it took to get the boats ready for the in-port race. As a result there is feverish activity out in the boat yard here in Melbourne to make alterations and have the boats ready to compete. Q: In view of the modifications which are required what dispensations has the race organisation allowed? A: We have allowed the boats a little bit of extra time to prepare for the next leg in so far as they are allowed to weigh immediately prior to the leg start itself rather than the in-port race and before the in-port race they need to declare how much weight they are putting on board their boats. They were aware of the fact that they always had to measure in this port and they are still going to have to measure and they are all happy about that. Q: How pleased are you about the status of the race at this stage? A: I am delighted that we have been able to achieve a lot of what we set out to achieve and showcase to the world the capability of the new breed of ocean racer. This race has always been about gritty determination, adventure and pushing mind, body and machine to the limits. That’s why the crews sign up to it and that’s why it’s the world’s premier ocean race. WHAT THEY SAID: A selection of views from team members and designers who attended the Volvo Ocean Race forum; Russell Bowler, designer, Farr Yacht Design: “It was very good to get the opinion of the crews. There have been a lot of opinions expressed by some journalists who are not familiar with what is going on out here. If the boats were too brutal you would have heard so from the crews, but the attitude this morning was that these are great, exciting boats doing unbelievable speeds. Yes, you have to be careful, this is ocean racing and it is a sport that has inherent risks. We are working on the cutting edge here (with the new rule) and that is where we want to be. Juan (Kouyoumdjian) made an interesting comment this morning that he has two programmes on; the America’s Cup and this, and the America’s Cup is pretty darn boring trying to get a fraction of a second out of a big 24 tonne beast. This is so exciting because you are learning so much every day. Every time the boats go out they are getting more information and making more observations. It certainly is the frontier end of ocean racing.” Mike Sanderson, skipper ABN AMRO ONE: “There have been breakages, but that is not necessarily because of the rule. The teams and designers are responsible for putting the boats together and deciding how we want to do that, whether we want to use lighter and faster materials to go fast, or whether we want to use heavier and more robust materials that are less competitive. We all know we can throttle back and reduce the risks. We all wanted this exciting new boat, and now we have got it it’s great. This is the way the sport is going to go forward.” Juan Kouyoumdjian, designer, ABN AMRO ONE and TWO: “Ensuring the boats make it around the world is down to the teams and designers and engineers. The rule is challenging, but that is good. We are breaking new boundaries in this sport. These are already the fastest yachts (monohull) in the world and they will all get even better with time. This boat will inspire the next generation of ocean yachts.” Fred Barrett, naval architect, movistar: “We have just been given a new train set and we been figuring out how to use it. What we have done today is say to the Volvo Ocean Race people that we are happy with the train set. We just have to tweak a few things ourselves to operate them to their best. We’ve all learned from our mistakes. We’ll be using stainless steel instead of titanium hydraulic rams (to control the arc of the canting keel). That will add 150 kg to the weight. That means we’ll be leaving 150 kg of lead from the bulb (to compensate) on the dock in Melbourne.” Neal McDonald, skipper, Ericsson: “These boats are only as dangerous as we make them. If we put storm sails up we would make it round the world easily and safely. There is nothing intrinsically unsafe about the boats, it’s only because we are trying to go fast that we put the sails up and put ourselves in a potentially dangerous situation. It is what is needed for progression. We go through this time and again throughout history when new technology is introduced to yachting. I’m sure the designers, while not able to make anything 100 percent secure, could make it 98 percent secure, but you wouldn’t win any races. There’s a balancing act. That was left to each competitor. The rule creates fast, powerful, exciting boats. Nearly all these boats have managed 500 miles in a day. Boats are reaching speeds in this race which no one thought was possible. We have had problems but I have seen what these boats are capable of and know they are the step forward this sport needs. We don’t have to go out there. If I thought it was unsafe I would resign tomorrow.” Paul Cayard, skipper, Pirates of The Caribbean: “We are blazing a new trail. We are testing these boats, finding the limits. It’s a bit like a Boeing 747 test pilot enduring loads of 3G. He goes through that so that the industry can take learnings from it. We are doing the same. Ultimately what we are doing is creating a by product for the sailing industry. What we learn from sailing and developing these boats will trickle down to the next generation of ocean sailors. What we are going through is a little bump on the road. By June, this will all be a forgotten blip on the radar screen. I am proud to be part of developing this technology. I would not want to be sitting behind some desk somewhere criticising people who are willing to dig deep to cross into new territory. As far as I can remember there aren’t a lot of points of land or holidays named after people who sat at home and criticised Christopher Columbus.” VOLVO OCEAN RACE 2005-06 – MELBOURNE FORUM – MEDIA BRIEFING NOTES Aim of Forum An open exchange of information and ideas between teams and race officials: 1. To determine if the race officials needed to assist the teams in solving their durability issues by amending the current rules. 2. Consider any suggestions to further enhance the safety of the boats from the experience gained from the first two legs the Volvo Open 70 have ever raced. Outcomes Durability • The durability issues experienced in the first two legs were discussed openly. The teams were unanimous in their agreement that no changes to the rules were required. • The teams recognise the need to ensure that their boats are robust and they will continue to work with their own designers, engineers and builders to achieve this. • The teams agreed with race officials on a schedule of measurements to ensure the teams have sufficient time to complete full rule compliance before the next leg. Safety • Teams expressed the view that the Volvo Ocean Race provided the highest level of safety currently applied to any transocean race. Monitoring from Volvo Race HQ was praised as best practice. Additional suggestions were made and will be considered by the Race Committee (to include): • Changes to communications. The traditional daily schedule by radio has been superseded by satellite communication and was deemed redundant. • Mandate a portable satellite telephone to be stored in the emergency grab bag. This is currently optional. • Active radar transponders (X band) to enhance the boats’ visibility to commercial shipping in North Atlantic and European waters. • Mandate a large capacity water pump. Water pumps are currently required but capacity is not specified. • Mandate minimum amount of spare hydraulic fluid carried.
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