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Old 04-14-2012
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Vor 70

Lots of talk and polemic about the Volvo breakage. The race CEO. Knut Frostad issued a statement about that:

"It's too early to conclude exactly why this has happened but we are obviously concerned about seeing so many incidents of damage to our boats both in this leg and in the race as a whole.

"It is not acceptable that in a race like this we have so many failures. It is not unusual for boats to suffer problems, and sailors and shore teams are used to having to deal with some issues with their boats, but this has been on a bigger scale than in the past.

"It's important that we don't leap to any conclusions about why these breakages have happened. Some of them are clearly not related. However, we will take the current issues into account as we make decisions on rules and technology we will be using in the future.

"We have already put in a lot of work, discussing with teams, designers and all other stakeholders about the boats and the rules we will use in the future, and we expect to be in a position to announce a decision on that before the end of the current race".



The problem seems that decision will be a very polemic one. It seems that there are talks to turn the VOR in a one class race and worst, it seams that there are talks with Farr regarding the design of the boat.

These is not only bad in what regards boat development as it is ugly in what regards the choice of the designer. Since the Farr boats were clearly beaten on last edition the top teams chose JK (the designer of the winning boat of the last edition) to design their boats. It seems rather odd that Farr would be the one chosen to design the one class VOR boat.

There are some implications regarding the work of KJ being responsible for the breakage and that is rather stupid. Boats are built in accordance with a rule and if that rule provides boats not strong enough, what needed to be changed is not the designer but the rule.



Juan Kouyoumdjian felt that regarding those insinuations he should say something and issued an interesting statement:

"With our 3 boats safely in Brazil and under the risk of sounding arrogant, I’ll break away from my golden rule of not speaking until the end of the race to put the record straight since I believe we are presented with an intentional manipulation of the truth.

There is a common, spread notion that ALL the participants of this VOR have structural problems,
that the situation is unacceptable and that something needs to be done for the future. A fundamental distinction needs to be done between the mast breakages and the rest, and whilst I think it is very important to understand what caused so many mast failures, it is a travesty of the truth to put ALL designs in the same basket when it comes down to the “other” structural issues.

This generalization might suit a specific Team, or person to push any agenda he might have for the future, but out of respect of the hard and serious work done with my Team I need to speak up:

In the first edition of the VO70s, we had 2 triumphs to celebrate that as designers we are very proud of. One is obviously that our design was driven to victory by a very good crew and the other one is that our 2 boats [both ABN AMRO] were the only ones that completed the full circumnavigation without major structural problems. This celebration was faded by the public
generalization that because one boat sunk and others had structural failures, then ALL of the boats had problems and the rules had to be changed. Which in fact they did, for the worse!

I didn’t say anything publicly then and moved on. However, seeing the same generalization occurring now, I’d like to stick to the facts and so allow for conclusions to be made without generalizations:

• A VO70 cannot be designed not to break. In fact, any boat in a round the world race cannot be designed not to break. So ultimately, breakages are in the hands of the crew.
• Puma won leg 5 without a major structural problem and this due to the excellence and experience of its crew.
• Telefonica finished 2nd in leg 5 with a hull delamination in port mid bow which did not prevent her from racing.
• Telefonica’s pit stop in Cape Horn was not a necessity but rather a very clever strategical decision based on having 3rd place assured and a weather window to exploit.
• Groupama, notwithstanding of an excellent management of the boat during leg 5 to see misfortune hit them with a broken mast, has sailed on her own means to Brazil without structural problems.

So, while we focus in understanding why there have been so many problems with the rigs, I’d beg not to generalize and avoid putting in the same basket the good work and brilliance of some engineers with that of others which are clearly not the same.


Regarding the boats, Puma, Groupama and Telefonica are KJ designs. Abudabi and Sania are Farr designs. Camper was designed by Marcelino Botín.

Regarding this subject the racers also talked about it. The guys from KJ boats had said that they had confidence in their boats and in KJ work.

This is what the Camper guys said:



Last edited by PCP; 04-14-2012 at 03:57 PM.
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