Volvo Ocean Race: From paper to plywood - in pursuit of perfection

A mock up deck constructed from plywood being used by experts to position deck hardware on the new Volvo 65-feet one design at Multiplast, France.

While the hull’s plug is being built at Persico Spa, Italy, another team is working on the deck of the 65-foot one-design that will contest the next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race.

A mock up deck constructed from plywood being used by experts to position deck hardware on the new Volvo 65-feet one design at Multiplast, France.
A mock up deck constructed from plywood being used by experts to position deck hardware on the new Volvo 65-feet one design at Multiplast, France. Volvo Ocean Race experts Richard Mason, Phil Harmer, Chris Nicholson and Emerson Smith (Farr Yachts) working closely on the new design at Multiplast, France.

'This mock-up helped us moving elements and making decisions we couldn’t really make on paper'

The group of Volvo Ocean Race sailors, shore crew, designers and engineers met at the Multiplast plant in Vannes in western France to assess a plywood mock-up of the deck.

It's the next stage in the process of building the new boat – a follow-up to the extensive consultation process that was started towards the end of the last race, and a chance to figure out how the boat will be sailed and where to position deck hardware and other critical components.

Among the group meeting up in Vannes at the start of the week were Chris Nicholson and Neil Cox, skipper and shore crew manager of Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand, sailor Phil Harmer and shore manager Ben Wright of Groupama, Sanya’s Richard Mason and female navigator Sam Davies. Also taking part were project manager James Dadd, Pat Shaughnessy for Farr Yacht Design and Jean-Baptiste Mouton for Multiplast.

'With Coxy in charge of the master list, Chris takes control of getting everyone in position to make manoeuvres,' explained Rick Deppe, attending the workshop for the Volvo Ocean Race.

'They think of everything and the day started with them getting the boat off the dock. Can the helmsman see the guy on the bow, etc, etc? Next they hoisted the main and at every stage of the manoeuvre anyone can stop the process and throw out ideas. It may seem strange but doing it this way can lead to tiny but important changes of position.'

The workshop has been going on all week with the plug being modified according to the group’s requests.

A mock up deck constructed from plywood being used by experts to position deck hardware on the new Volvo 65-feet one design at Multiplast, France.

Volvo Ocean Race experts Richard Mason, Phil Harmer, Chris Nicholson and Emerson Smith (Farr Yachts) working closely on the new design at Multiplast, France.