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.