Volvo Ocean Race: 'You're gonna see a boat that's really cool'

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.

The 65-foot one-design boat for the next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race will be very forward thinking according to Patrick Shaughnessy, president of Farr Yacht Design.

'The overwhelming impression will be of a top level Grand Prix racing boat,' says Shaughnessy, the boss of the company responsible for the new design.

The Annapolis-based naval architecture office has designed a total of 40 boats for the Whitbread Round the World Race and the Volvo Ocean Race. They have been working on the new one-design 'to produce an image of a boat that’s very forward thinking,' Shaughnessy says.

'When you come down the dock you're gonna see a boat that's really cool. The stem shape has been styled to be emotional, forward looking and be relevant for years to come so it's a boat that's exciting and modern and it's gonna be iconic.'

The new boat will be safer to sail too, while broadening the platform for entry, and as a result SCA have already announced their participation with a women's team in 2014-15. All-women's teams will have 10 sailing members against eight for men and while the boats are going to be anything but easy to sail that numerical advantage will make a difference, Shaughnessy explained.

'These are going to be challenging boats,' the American said. 'While we tried to address the physical loads on items and the amount of stackable gear and the positions for stackable gear, they are challenging boats.

'What we tried to do with a lot of the mechanical systems was to provide mechanical advantage such that less strong people have tools to operate effectively.

'What we've also tried to do particularly with things like the winch pedestal systems and things like that is to provide some advantages for a women's team that might come with 10 people such that they can have opportunities to get their 10 people involved in a manoeuvre.

'So while that same manoeuvre with eight men might be quite challenging and difficult to orchestrate, the women will be able to get 10 people on 10 jobs such that they do have a place to find an advantage.'