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VOR 17-18 • Sail design

North Sails inventory updated

Their sails have powered eight out of nine Volvo Ocean Race winners since 1989-90, with Steinlager 2. Here's everything you need to know about North Sails' sails.

1 ) They're not paneled, they're composites
Instead of assembling cloth panels into a particular sail shape, the Volvo Ocean Race sails are composites. This means that 3Di material 'tapes' are laid in a specific arrangement, offering stable structure to the sail where it is needed most. The outcome? An unmatched weight to stiffness ratio and advanced durability. This is a patented process at North Sails, so you won't be able to get 3Di composites from anywhere else in the world.

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2) North Sails aren't just above deck...
Sail design today encompases a lot more than it used to. When a new boat is commission, designers will often bring North Sails into the early stages of planning to collaborate on producing a well-balanced boat. This is exactly what happened in the case of the Volvo Ocean 65, when Farr Yacht Design worked closely with both North Sails and Southern Spars to create a cohesive package where the hull, appendages, spars and sails were all designed with the next in mind. And it's not just about what sail you have, it's what you do with it. That's why each Volvo Ocean Race team receives a bespoke Velocity Prediction Program, illustrating the potential performance of their boat according to inputs such as true wind speed and angle, and advises the proper sail to be used in order to optimise racing performance in each condition.

3) Each sail is part of an eight-piece puzzle
Each Volvo Ocean Race team receives a full sail inventory, which assembles like a jigsaw puzzle to create a package. While the sails across the fleet are all identical, the difference lies in how they're used – with slight variations of angle, trim and tuning. Each team will push their boat, rig and sails slightly differently, inching out every last bit of performance.

4) It's all about the data
If there's one thing that Volvo Ocean Race sailors are good at, it's making the boat go fast. There aren't many people who have raced relentlessly through the toughest oceans on the planet, and so the Volvo Ocean Race provides invaluable real-life test bench in order to continue the evolution of North Sails' products. For the 2017-18 edition, the teams will have one more sail in their inventory, expanding the range from seven to eight sails. "The teams were forever changing configurations in 10-15 knots upwind and tight reaching. When using the masthead zero the teams were pushing the boat too hard. Changing to the J1 made them under powered. So one of the changes we made for 2017 was to add a J0, which fits between the MHO and J1 and covers that range." - Gautier Sergent, North Sails designer.

5) With every change or upgrade, there's a domino effect
The introduction of a J0 to the sail inventory has led to some other key changes in the range. For example, the Fractional Code Zero, or FR0, which was previously used in a very small upwind range between the J1 and masthead zero, is now a dedicated downwind sail. The FRO for the 2017-18 edition is made of 3Di FORCE, a new downwind application of North Sails 3Di composite sailmaking. This means that the sail is more stable with a 3Di structure throughout an increased range of conditions, which is great news for both sailors and designers. The added bonus of 3Di is that the sails are more easily repeated, as moulded sails offer more streamlined manufacturing and assembly than paneled ones. Each type of sail can be made in sequence: the mold is set once and the sails are consolidated one by one, which is key in a One Design class. "The process of producing the raw sail shape is now fully automated and several quality control steps are taken along the way to ensure consistency. In the past, manually joining panels to produce a sail meant no two sails were ever identical. North Sails 3Di has solved this problem and is the only option for a One Design race at this level" - Nathan Quirk – Head of Sail Loft Division, The Boatyard

6) Surf’s Up
What would be the point of three times more Southern Ocean racing we're going to enjoy in 2017-18 if we didn't have the sails to make the most of it? Well, not to worry – the new sail inventory is perfectly-suited for a decidedly downwind course. That downwind FRO? It's full shape and straight exit are designed to harness the wind and send the sailors surfing down 20ft swell. We're jealous already.

7) It's all in the planning
Although there's no easy predictions when it comes to the Volvo Ocean Race, any round the world sailor worth his sea salt will tell you that there are plenty of miles to be gained by studying data – and sail designers are no different. North Sails have already done extensive routing with two inventories, to ensure they're using the right balance – and with the introduction of the J0 and the changing of the FRO, there should be a lot less sail changes required.

8) Fortune Telling
There is no crystal ball when it comes to predicting a race around the planet, but sail designers can study the race route and draw decision making data from historical weather patterns. "With the addition of one more sail, the crew are often quick to point out that it’s one more sail to handle, one more sail to stack. But after looking at the inventory as a whole and assessing the available configurations, we found that the amount of sail changes actually reduces significantly with the addition of the J0" - Gautier Sergent, North Sails designer

9) Risk Reduction
There's not much tougher test for a sail than the Volvo Ocean Race, and that's why there's a dedicated Boatyard team featuring a host of expert riggers, builders and sailmakers travelling to every Host City and working around the clock to keep the boats in good shape.

They check between 60-80 sails every stopover, so reliability is key – and with 90% of all damage to sails happening during maneouvres and sail changes, subtle changes to the finishing of the sails to improve handling has been a game changer.

To cut the time and energy used onboard, the luff length on the code sails has been reduced to allow for easier sail “peels” or changes, and, additionally, a relatively simple fitting – called an 'integrator' – has been added to the A3 (the biggest sail on board). This enables top-down furling which is preferred over bottom-up for larger running sails due to a faster, neater result and less chance of damage. • 4/17

 

 

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Volvo IT en la Volvo Ocean Race • Alicante • 2008

La trastienda de las comunicaciones en los Village de la Volvo

Dentro del edificio sobre el muelle 10 que antes sirvió como estación marítima y hoy alberga instalaciones administrativas de la Volvo Ocean Race y el Centro de Prensa, además de un espacio en dos plantas acondicionado para la restauración, se encuentra también el despacho de un equipo de profesionales que de forma transparente al usuario garantizan que sea posible comunicarse dentro de todas las instalaciones del puerto que albergan algo relacionado con la Volvo Ocean Race, además de brindar comunicación con el exterior, pensando particularmente en los medios.

foto_artEllos se integran en Volvo IT, que en su calidad de empresa del grupo Volvo patrocina esta vuelta al mundo suministrando los servicios TI. De hecho, Volvo IT es el proveedor interno de tecnologías de información para el Grupo Volvo y por ello tambien tiene presencia internacional allí donde está el holding sueco: Europa, las Américas, Asia y Australia.

El Centro de Prensa, por ejemplo, incluye una gran sala de trabajo a la que acuden los periodistas a escribir sus artículos, sumándose otras 4 salas más pequeñas para atender las necesidades de la televisión, la radio y los fotógrafos.

Desde el punto de vista de las comunicaciones se cubre todo con puntos de acceso wi-fi, aunque también se dispone de conexiones no inalámbricas ya que muchos periodistas lo encuentran más fiable, o incluso deben utilizar un dispositivo no preparado para transmisión inalámbrica.

El equipo de Volvo IT se encarga además de atender las necesidades técnicas de la gran sala de conferencias que se encuentra junto a las salas de trabajo para profesionales de la información.

Hay 13 puntos de acceso (wi-fi) instalados en el edificio, con 7 switches y un equipamiento específico para controlar los puntos de acceso. Hay varios servidores, uno de ellos dedicado a las necesidades de impresión de los periodistas y otros centrados en garantizar la comunicación dentro de todas las instalaciones del Race Village, suministrando en particular servicios TI a algunas bases de los equipos y a algunos de los pabellones.

Para ello integran una tecnología wi-fi relativamente nueva como una red entramada que utiliza determinados puntos de acceso vinculados por cable mientras que el resto accede a la red mediante radio-enlace.

En las bases de la Volvo Ocean Race se combinan varios servicios estándar que habitualmente presta Volvo IT junto con otros muy específicos, donde destaca la elevada proporción de infraestructuras inalámbricas.

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(izq. a der.) Nicolas Leonad, Michael Descamps. Johan Loberg y Thierry Jouve en el despacho desde donde monitorizan las comunicaciones del Centro de Prensa y otras instalaciones del Race Village alicantino

Por otra parte, el equipamiento está duplicado y siempre se está instalando exactamente la misma infraestructura de comunicación en dos puertos: el principio y el final de etapa vigentes. Para el caso, además de Alicnate hay un trabajo similar en Ciudad del Cabo. Poco después de iniciada la primera etapa en Alicante, las instalaciones se desmontarán y se trasladarán a Kochi (India), final de la segunda etapa. A su vez, la de Ciudad del Cabo se llevará oportunamente a Singapur, donde está previsto que las tripulaciones reciban el fin de año.

La plantilla básica se completa con 3 personas aunque a veces ocurre en algunos puertos, como el de Ciudad del Cabo, que pueden llegar a necesitar más personal ya que las instalaciones están realmente muy distribuidas en el puerto y lejanas entre sí. Hay un project manager que supervisa las instalaciones de cada caso por lo que termina viajando entre los puertos de etapa.

Thierry Jouve, responsable del equipo que instaló y gestiona las comunicaciones dentro del Race Village alicantino, comentó además que “este trabajo representa un gran desafío porque exige que cada uno de los miembros sea muy productivo y en cada lugar deben intentar resolver los problemas de forma rápida y eficiente. Y además necesitan adaptarse al entorno porque, por ejemplo, aquí las infraestructuras son muy buenas pero en otros puertos, como el de Kochi, incluso la alimentación (eléctrica) no es buena, también cambian los estándar de los mecanismos, etc pero eso es lo que al mismo tiempo lo hace divertido porque te mantiene pensando en cómo resolver los diferentes obstáculos que te surgen....” • Septiembre 2008

 


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VOR 17-18 • Brunel crew

Peter Burling joins Team Brunel

Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup winning helmsman Peter Burling has joined Team Brunel for the 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race – and he’s already out sailing with his new teammates in pre-race qualifying.

The signing of the world’s most in-demand sailor is a major coup for Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking, and sets up what should be a compelling rivalry with Burling’s long-term sailing partner Blair Tuke, who is competing with Spanish team MAPFRE.

Together, Burling and Tuke carried the flag for New Zealand at the 2016 Olympics and came home from Rio with a gold medal in the 49er class. The pair followed up that success by playing influential roles in Emirates Team New Zealand’s victory in the America’s Cup earlier this year.

Burling got his first taste of life onboard Brunel’s Volvo Ocean 65 at the start of an overnight sprint from Plymouth, UK to Saint-Malo, France – the third stage of the Volvo Ocean Race’s Leg Zero qualifying series.

“I’ve always wanted to do this race – although I haven’t done a lot offshore, I’ve always been keen to get involved but always struggled to find the time," Burling said at dockside in Plymouth. "It seems like good timing and a great opportunity to learn a lot off a pretty experienced team.”

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He continued: "Round-the-world ocean racing has always excited me and I'm stoked to be part of Team Brunel on this epic edition. I can't wait to be thrown into the challenge of extreme offshore racing and broaden my skills and sailing experience."

Still only 26, Burling is the youngest winning helmsman in America’s Cup history. Either Burling or Tuke could become the first sailor to complete the Triple Crown of sailing’s major events. To date, no one has won an Olympic gold medal, the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race.

Both teams will start among the favourites. Burling continued: “I’ve sailed against Blair a lot in the past, and I think he’s really enjoying his time onboard MAPFRE. I think both of us will learn a lot before the next time we sail together, and we’ll take on a challenge again together soon.”

Team Brunel were runners-up in 2014-15 under Bekking and have hit the ground running in their preparations for the upcoming race.

Burling is the seventh sailor to be announced for the Dutch team following the signings of America's Cup sailors Carlo Huisman (NED) and Kyle Langford (AUS); Juanpa Marcos (ARG); and Volvo Ocean Race veterans Alberto Bolzan (ITA) and Maciel Cicchetti (ARG), all sailing under skipper Bouwe Bekking (NED).

Bekking said: “Peter is one of the most talented sailors in the world, winning an Olympic gold in Rio and the America’s Cup. He’s a huge addition for our team. He is superb driver – one of the fastest – and I think he will adapt very quickly.”

The 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race begins from Alicante on 22 October. The race will take the teams 45,000 nautical miles around the world via a series of Host City stops – including Auckland. "It’s going to be pretty special to be on board to see Auckland, the City of Sails, welcome an epic race like the Volvo Ocean Race," added Burling.

"Having just toured New Zealand with the America's Cup I got to witness how much Kiwis really do love sailing – and I know they will really get behind the Volvo Ocean Race coming to town." • 8/17

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