Wednesday, 26 October 2016

VolvoOceanRace, Interesting Latest News.

New Hydro-Generator for VO65

Over the last week VolvoOceanRace management has made a number of very interesting changes, additions and news to what we know as the VOR races.

I reported already on the change in Crew gender rules, see my former post.

There is a new shake up of OBR (OnBoardReporter) style of working. With the improved communication systems (see later) the OBR is thought to have to become more a live reporter of issues, challenges and stories from the Boats. The idea is that a bit more raw and direct stories from the teams is shared and that it will come faster than before to us. A thought is even to have a team of OBR's that could rotate leg-by-leg or after some legs over the different Boats. This, I am afraid, could work also negative as the bonding between team and OBR could be lost, on the other hand it will give different views on the Boats over different legs.

The VO65 will be equipped with Hydropower generators. This is a kind of propel alike an outboard motor, but now the water will push the propeller, while sailing with some speed. The propeller will with a generator deliver the power required for the electronics on-board and fill the batteries and thus reducing the use of a diesel-generator.  It will of course add some draft to slow the boats, but a trial is reporting as the impact is negligible. I trust that the unit and support is sturdy enough, as in a previous race, (I think it was the Vendee Globe) showed some breakages.

The Scoring system will be changed with the intention to challenge the Boats in taking some risks e.g. in choosing alternative routes.

  • The scoring will become a High score system, Boats with maximum points will win.
  • Three Legs will score you a double amount of points, these Legs are the 2 Southern Ocean legs and the North Atlantic Leg.
  • The Winner of each Leg will earn one bonus point
  • To honor the importance of rounding Cape Horn, there is a bonus point for that Boat that round this Cape as first
  • A bonus is given to the Boat with the best total elapsed time overall in the race
  • The In-Port races will have a separate scorecard, that will only be of influence to break a tie int eh standings. 

Sailors on Board can use the Social Media to communicate their adventures with their friends and followers, all possible by the improved communication Hardware and Satellite systems. This could improve drastically the information from the boats and Sailors will have to ability to keep their followers abreast of their challenges and performances, though, I guess that for competitive reasons not all that much information on sailing strategies will be posted. 

The system, however, is made such that no outside communication can be send to the Sailors, as not to allow outsider assistance to profit the different Boats. 
I hope that either VOR improves a regular strategic view on performance and preview as last VOR had a lousy story on that; or we do need  regular reports from Mike Chisnell, who is writing fantastic good reviews and previews and strategies given the wind conditions.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

New Crew Rules to enhance opportuniities for best World's female Sailors.

The Success of SCA-Team in the previous VolvoOceanRace, 3rd in In-Port Racing and winner in an Off-shore Leg, have been pushing the idea to offer more opportunities for the World's best Female Sailors. It was felt the SCA-Team was stuck to a ceiling not able to gain more experiences to up their sailing game.

This Rules change, will offer different options to form a crew, either for an all Men or for an all Female or for a mixed Team. The last option will allow female Sailors to sail alongside the Male Sailors and to learn and experience professional sailing in order to elevate the experience level in Female Sailors. 

New Crew Rules offer different options, some on a Leg-Leg bases

The optional choices in the 2nd row, would influence the crew for the In-Port sailing as well, as the In-Port crew shall be the same to either the crew in the previous or the subsequent off shore Leg. (exception for a 7_male team, that can have 1 female sailor extra during the In-Port race).

This way Female Sailors can sail and train with the Best Sailors. 

Btw the rule for under-30 crew to promote youth sailing is continued: 2 crew members must be under the age of 30 at the end of the race.

see also Mark's comments on this video