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Posts Tagged ‘boatyard’

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We don’t know yet whether Mudratz grommet Peter Cronin has what it takes to be an all-star professional racing crew, but we’re quite sure he’s already got what it takes to be the youngest On-Board Reporter in the history of the Volvo Ocean Race when the next race starts in 3 years.  We’ve been following Peter for a while now – Clean actually spoke to him last year for the SA Podcast during the Mudratz’ youth Melges 24 campaign – and he just continues to impress everyone with his energy and ability to share his experiences with the wider community.  Huge thanks to our Boatyard pals Bicey, Rodrigo, and Amalia for taking time out of their busy schedules to help fire up the next generation, and for understanding just how important that is.  Got teens? Share this with them.

You don’t have to be an old man to look back and reflect on your life, and I guess I’m lucky to have some wild examples of how seemingly unrelated experiences, chance encounters and everyday life events can come together over time, leading to opportunities one could never had imagined or even dreamt of. I am 17, and in 2 short years I have been fortunate to live a dream.

In March of 2017, after my grandfather’s passing, I learned I would be traveling with my grandmother to Portugal to spend a few days in the countryside and Lisbon. I would then travel to the UK for a few days, and end the trip by sailing across the Atlantic Ocean on the Queen Mary 2. It was to be a memorial trip, a trip that they had been planning for years; a trip he sadly would never take.

There are aspects of this vacation that any traveler would fall in love with: The blue water of Cascais, Portugal; the vineyards that seem to go on forever in the rolling hills to the North; the walled city of Obidos; or perhaps the area of Nazare, home of the biggest wave ever surfed. Yet when I was told we would be spending 4 days in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, only one thing came to my mind. Not the awesome restaurants, the 12th century buildings or the 21st century shops — but the fact that it was the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) Headquarters. I knew that I had to break away from my family and somehow make my way into the Volvo HQ, even if just to look through the locked fences.

Two days before I left for Lisbon, my skipper Zach and I sailed our third Secor Volvo Fishers Island Sound race. We were sailing to defend our last two victories, but on the last race of the last day, we lost our grip on the lead we’d held throughout the regatta. I was commiserating with one of our biggest supporters – Sailing Anarchy’s Alan Block – and talking about writing an article on the race, and I wasn’t quite sure what he planned when he asked me what my schedule was in Lisbon, and if I thought I could escape the family for a day.

A day and a few texts later and I had an invitation from VOR communications boss Rodrigo Rico to come and check out The Boatyard!

It seems like ages ago when, as a 15 year old during the 2015 stopover I fell completely in love with the Volvo Ocean Race. As a young sailor, as part of our sailing club the MudRatz, I had been lucky enough to get a tour of parts of the VOR race village, meet members of the crew from Team Alvimedica and sail on an M32 catamaran. I was able to manage 3 visits to the village during that stopover, and my love of the race has only grown in the years since. The idea of getting a personal tour of the race HQ was a dream come true. Actually, it was beyond any of the dreams I had!

The days leading up to my visit to the boatyard were spent touring Portugal, but my mind stayed focused on one thing: The Boatyard. When I met Rodrigo and began learning about the Boatyard operations, my idea of “one design” was completely redrawn. While I understand the importance of the boats being identical, when Rodrigo explained the processes by which a hull was refitted and put back together, it blew my mind. He explained that for all eight boats, the same person would do the same job for each boat to ensure that there were no discrepancies between them.

For the past year, the VOR boatyard has been busy refitting the boats for the upcoming start. Rodrigo walked me through the stations of the boatyard where specific steps for each boat were completed. He explained to me that there were three steps that were completed indoors before the boat was ready to be set on its keel. Upon arriving in Lisbon, the boat was sent to stage one where the entire hull was taken apart and every single piece of equipment was logged. From gears in the winch pedestals, to bolts in the engine, every single part of the boat was recorded to perfect duplication between the boats. Furthermore, every inch of the hull and all the parts of the boat were examined with ultrasound to make sure there were no structural weaknesses.

After completing the first stage, the hulls were put back together and sent to stage two. First the hulls (including the centerboards) were sanded and washed, with the same pair of men that have sanded every other boat in the Volvo fleet working together, plank sanding the entire hull. By using the same people for the same job there is no doubt each boat is 100% identical and no one boat is faster than the other. After the boards were completed and the hull smoothed, the boats moved onto the third and final stage that was completed indoors.

Here, in stage three, the cosmetics of each ship were born. Rodrigo walked me into what looked like a run of the mill storage container but, upon opening the doors, I was amazed to see a fully automated paint mixing machine and the shelves fully stocked with paint. Because carbon fiber can be damaged when exposed to prolonged periods of UV, no carbon can be left uncovered. By having a fully automated paint mixing station, they can customize paint colors in quantities as small as a pint – this allows for minimal waste and exact duplication of colors. After the paint is mixed, the same team that has painted all the boats before, gets to work in covering each square inch of exposed carbon on the deck. After a strict inspection of the boat is completed, the boat moves out of the protection of buildings into the light of day, where fitting of its keel, mast, and communications tower began.

Because all of the boats had already been through these stages, there was no action in those areas of the boatyard, but the Sail Loft sure was busy. The first thing that caught my eyes were a stack of battens – in my experience, a little fiberglass stick perfect for giving splinters or dropping overboard before a regatta. I laid my hands on a batten that was easily 10 feet long and made purely of carbon fiber. As if that wasn’t enough to get my mind spinning, laid out in front of me was the largest sail I had ever seen. The square top alone may have been longer than an entire 420, and the main is nearly 100 feet tall! Covered in baby powder to protect it from moisture, the sail of team Turn the Tide on Plastic was getting its custom designed paint job. I knew that these sails needed to be made rugged, as they were about to go some 35+ thousand miles around the earth and experience unimaginable loads, yet the sheer strength and ruggedness I could feel in the sails was more like some kind of steel than any fabric I knew. I wish I could have seen an A3… Of course, that wasn’t nearly as mind blowing as getting to meet Dee Caffari, skipper of Team Turn the Tide on Plastic, when she came in to inspect progress on her sails.

As if the day couldn’t have gotten any better, Rodrigo took me somewhere I had only ever dreamt of being. Though four of the eight boats were scattered around the world, the other four were staying in Lisbon. Two were out practicing, team Turn the Tide on Plastic sat in the dock, and the last boat to reveal its team was on dry land towering nearly 20 feet in the air as it sat on its bunkers, awaiting its wrap. Rodrigo took me out of the sail loft and we began making a beeline towards the hull.

It isn’t too often that I find myself at a loss for words, but this surely was one of those times. I had just stepped on board a Volvo 65S, one of the boats that will be sailing in 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. As Rodrigo took me through the vessel, I felt like a kid in a candy store. From the hydraulic rams which control the canting keel, to the joystick for the remote controlled on-deck cameras, to the massive steering wheel, I just couldn’t take it all in at once. As we continued to go through the boat, I learned about the intricacies of systems I only had vague knowledge of: the desalinators, camera controllers, hydraulic systems and state of the art electronics. I got to feel firsthand how cramped everything is below decks, and I can only imagine how tough the conditions really can be, underway in the most challenging ocean race conditions…though that still doesn’t stop me from dreaming that one day I’ll be racing on a Volvo Ocean Race boat!

The next time I come in contact with the Volvo boats will be in the spring of 2018 in Newport, and it can’t come soon enough. I’m excited to watch the race and I know I will see it from a different perspective based on everything I learned at the Volvo Boatyard. Perhaps in 15 years MY name will be on the roster for the Volvo race.

-Peter Cronin, Mudratz.

August 7th, 2017 by admin

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The world’s premier offshore race and the most spectated sailing event of all, The Volvo Ocean Race starts in a bit more than a year.  But already, the discussion is getting real about where the Volvo goes after the next edition – the second sailed on the Farr-designed Volvo One-Design 65.  We grabbed Mike Sanderson, winner of the 2005 VOR – the first edition with the then-terrifying VO70, and Nick Bice, the creator of the VOR Boatyard and current VOR boss of boats and maintenance and a bunch more, to get their opinion on the state of the race and the options for the future; is the multihulling of the Volvo inevitable, or is there another way?

And these characters don’t disappoint – as you’d expect from a couple of guys who’ve gone around the world, they’ve got strong opinions and clever thinking and both would love to see great success in future races.  We also catch up with Mike about his friendly takeover and new CEO position of Doyle New Zealand, hear about the record mini-maxi fleet in Sardinia, and hear Moose’s real opinion of North Sails.  Listen above, download here for later listening, or subscribe to the SA Podcast on iTunes.

September 16th, 2016 by admin

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Perhaps as many as 40 boats were burned to death at the Samuel White Shipyard in Cowes, Isle of Wight, including the irreplaceable 1/4 World Champ Espada. Apparently the big shed was attached to an auto repair shop and some fuckwit forgot to check a petrol tank and the whole thing went up in flames.  Thread here.

 

January 25th, 2016 by admin

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Clean Report

Opinion amongst Volvo vets is unanimous that Newport is light years beyond any of the recent US Volvo Ocean Race stopovers in every way, and we’re extremely glad we’re here to be part of it this week thanks to our friends at Sperry and the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard.

With so much staff coverage available from the teams and VOR media, we wanted to give you something different this week, and today at 1130 PST/1430 EST/1830 UTC, we’re bringing you Sailing Anarchy’s first-ever live, two-camera talk show from the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard – in front of a live audience!  We haven’t skimped on guests, either, and since we’ve been wanting to sit down with the leaders of Team SCA for some time now, we asked, and they thankfully agreed!  Team CEO Richard Brisius, Performance Director Brad Jackson, and the afterguard of Dee, Sam, and Sally will sit down with co-host Nic Douglass and me for an hour-long chat about everything VOR.  We want to know all about their race, and all about them.  What’s the future look like for Team SCA, and what does their race mean for their careers, for their fans, for their families, for their sponsors…

You’ve already given us some great questions; please head over to the thread and post more, or hit us up on Twitter and use the hashtag @asksailinganarchy if you want yours answered today; the best three questions win Team SCA t-shirts, but you only have a couple hours to get ’em in.  Wanna learn more about the girls?  Check out the brand new well-produced reality series No Ordinary Women.  We’ve enjoyed the first two episodes, and we think you will too.  And don’t fret if you miss our show today; it will be archived for your pleasure here.

And if you have questions for VOR CEO Knut Frostad, Boatyard Director Nick Bice, the two guys tussling for the race lead; Ian Walker and Charles Caudrelier, or Vestas skipper Chris Nicholson, get those questions in too; we’re recording their show tonight for publication tomorrow morning at around 1000 EST.

Nic’s been doing a great job getting interviews with all the boys and girls; head over to her channel here for a stack of interviews that go far beyond the usual tripe.  And be sure to keep an eye on SA Twitter and Facebook for many more face-to-faces coming up this weekend, especially for the last-minute pre-race Dock Walk video posted to our page, 20 minutes after dock out for the In-Port Race and Leg Start.

 

May 15th, 2015 by admin

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IMG_1169The Sailing Anarchy/VOR “Show Us Your Boatyard” competition is off to a blazing start, with over 50 submissions coming in over the past few weeks.  They’ve been so good that the SUYB leaderboard (left) is now a permanent part of the traveling VOR race village show – be sure to check it out when you come down to visit the race.

Your submissions are also providing plenty of entertainment to the awesome girls of the Boatyard (the competition’s judges), and they remind you that Leg 3’s Boatyard T-shirt winners will be announced immediately after the Sanya In-Port Race.  Keep sending in your submissions, and if you want extra consideration, post ’em straight on the Boatyard Facebook Page with a hashtag #showusyourboatyard.

Full contest details over here.

 

January 30th, 2015 by admin

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We thank everyone who entered our Line Honors/Moth Worlds Flexfit Cap giveaway, and your hats will be on their way next week.  And now, we’ve something just as cool – a chance to win an exclusive Volvo Ocean Race “The Boatyard” t-shirt!  We call this one “Show Us Your Boatyard,” and all you have to do is send us a picture or video of your own personal Boatyard.  Be as creative as you can, send your entry to clean@sailinganarchy.com, and the beautiful and accomplished girls of the Boatyard will choose their favorite SA Boatyards for each leg and get you a sweet bit of kit.  Watch the video for details, and game on!

 

January 20th, 2015 by admin

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