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Volvo 70s

3 Questions Net To : Russell Bowler

« VOR70 was conceived as the fastest 70ft ocean going monohull »

mercredi 12 janvier 2005Christophe Guigueno

Russell Bowler, president of Farr Design, was questions by mail for a paper about the next Volvo Ocean Race published in the three-monthly french magazine Course Au Large. Here are his answers.

Russell Bowler (left) and Bruce Farr with who he created Farr Yacht Design in 1981
Photo Daniel Forster

1°. Which are the main improvements in the design of Volvo 70s compared the the old generation of WOR 60 ?

RB « VOR70 was conceived as the fastest 70ft ocean going monohull employing the latest performance enhancing features. While only 4ft longer than the VOR 60, the VOR70 has deeper draft, canting keel, 50% more sail area at the same sailing displacement. Construction technology is full carbon sandwich construction and has abandoned the impact resistance of Kevlar laminates required by the V60 rule. Rule minimum shell weights for the hull, deck and watertight bulkheads prevent the structures from being frail. Rig height and sail area give the required horsepower to make the VOR 70 a high speed ocean racing yacht. The overall result is a boat that will be potentially 33% faster than the VOR 60 and a big challenge for designers, builders and sailors. »

2°. Can you compare one of your last Volvo 70 design to your Open 60 design for Jean-Pierre Dick ?

RB : « Open 60 rules and the VOR 70 rules are very different in their basic format. The Open 60 Rule encourages wide boats because the heel with ballast fully canted by rule can not exceed 10 degrees, which has type formed this class. The VOR70 rule has a cant angle limit, restricted rig dimensions, minimum bulb weight and upper and lower displacement limits. Common to both rules is the freedom to use any variety of appendages to make the boat perform, although there are some limits in the VOR 70 rule. With both projects we put a big effort into providing the sailors with an appendage package (canards and rudders) that would provide good balance and sea keeping qualities over a broad range of sailing conditions that that can be expected in long distance ocean racing. Research into this subject had some useful overlaps for the two designs. Single handed sailing has a different focus on rig operation than the fully crewed VOR 70. Both projects however are fast, light displacement ocean going yachts that share some development characteristics. »

3°. Don’t you think it would have been possible to compete around the world with crew abord yachts designed under Open 60 rule ?

RB : « The open 60 can be raced with more crew. Clearly they race well double handed or even with a crew of four. However, the transition from single handed to fully crewed would require major modifications deck layout, interior and rig to provide the full crew with the required equipment to drive the boat and to accommodate the off watch crew. The VOR rules combine limits on displacement, beam, cant angle, bulb weight and angle of vanishing stability to produce a boat that will be at less risk of problems associated with getting caught with an involuntary gibe or tack. The fully crewed open 60 represents a riskier proposition if being pushed hard by a full crew. »

Voir en ligne : Farr Design website :

tableau comparatif Open 60 / VOR 60 / VOLVO 70

source : Farr Design

Characteristics VO60 Open 60 VO70
LOA, m 19,46 18,29 21,5
Displacement, meas, kg 13500 8500 12500-14000
Displacement, sail, kg 19200 10000 15700-17200
Mast Height, m 27,6 29,6 31,5
Upwind Sail Area 200 263 300
Beam, max, m 5,3  5.6 4.7-5.7
Draft, m 3,75 4,5 4,5
Average speed around world
- (for respective races, 01 Volvo, Vendee, 05 Volvo)
10,9 12,1 14,5

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