Ian Walker, skipper of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, and his team win the Volvo Ocean Race in Gothenburg! Multiplast's analysis
A positive outcome
This was a first for the Volvo Ocean Race in that, unlike previous editions, it was raced by a fleet of one-design boats. The result ? A compelling, competitive and dramatic outcome for this iconic event.
In sporting terms, and when compared to the previous Volvo Ocean Race, the racing between the boats was really very close. This has always been an incredibly demanding race; now, with these boats and with exactly the same potential for speed, the smallest mistake can count, heightening the drama and tension...
As Ian Walker, winning at his third attempt, said:"During the last Volvo, the weather dictated the race a bit because of the strong wind conditions, certainly not more than 30 knots. On the whole, the conditions were lighter, but that actually added to the stress. Navigation side-by-side increases the tension tremendously. With the boats being one-design, every little thing is important, every marginal gain vital."
On the human level, the race more than maintained its reputation for adventure and emotions mixing physical endurance with team spirit and extreme conditions. DongFeng, the Franco-Chinese team and its skipper Charles Caudrelier will be remembered for their excellent performance in the race around the world, finishing third. Charles Caudrelier said :"I'm pleased because there was a great team spirit in our crew and a brilliant cohesion between the French and Chinese sailors. We've helped them and I like to think that they have learned from us. We are all sailors now. A year and a half earlier, these guys had not even sailed offshore. I'm really proud of them. The best thing we've done is for winning in China, everyone was talking about it."
Arrival of Dong Feng in Gothenburg
And, looking at the Volvo Ocean from a technical point of view, there are many reasons to be satisfied :
- The boats are perfectly identical in terms of displacement and shape. That means that any difference in speed is entirely down to its crew - human factors above technical.
- The fleet of seven boats arrived in Gothenburg without major structural damage. The mast breakage on Dong Feng is now a long-forgotten event.
- The consortium demonstrated its ability to react during Vestas's stranding. The new cockpit, the tramson and the companionway bullhead were delivered by the Carboman group to Persico Marine in less than 8 weeks.
- Due to the one-design choice, the goal of reducing costs was met, allowing new sponsors to discover this global event and to help it move onto a bright future.
The interest in this race is unquestionable, both from the sailing industry around the world, but also, crucially the public. Knut Frostad (Volvo Ocean Race CEO) has already annouced that the next edition in 2017/2018 (route not yet finalized) will be raced on the same boats. For Dominique Dubois, the CEO of the Carboman Group, this means that his business will once again be associated with the building of one to three new boats in the next 18 months. An Excellent news !
For more information :
Yann Penfornis : + 33 2 97 40 98 44 / + 33 6 12 05 86 97
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