Tuesday, 31 August 2010

VOR: Designers Announced for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

Jason Carrington hired as Technical Manager, and Farr Yacht Design will design and build the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Volvo Open 70 for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing backers. Image copyright ADTA.

by Sophie Luther

Shortly after announcing Ian Walker as skipper for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Team, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) has confirmed that Jason Carrington has been hired as Technical Manager for the team, and that Farr Yacht Design will design and build their Volvo Open 70 for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12.

Farr is known for creating race winning yachts, yachts that have been successful competitors in more than 40 World Championships and numerous grand prix events including the Volvo Ocean Race and America's Cup.

"Farr Yacht Design was selected because of its ability to tailor to our specific requirements and its strong commitment to research and design which has been ongoing since the conclusion of the 2008-2009 Volvo Ocean Race," said His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, ADTA. "We anticipate being able to announce the appointment of the yacht-builder early next month after finalising selection of six tender qualifiers from throughout the Middle East, Europe and the Far East."

FYD president, Patrick Shaughnessy, stated that every member of the FYD team spent considerable time sailing Volvo Open 70s during the 2008-09 race. "The experience we gained has allowed us to view the design challenges a little bit differently," he said. "That real world experience is added to an always evolving set of tools that we bring to bear on any R&D project."

"The Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team has made good decisions in its key resource appointments, starting with Ian Walker as skipper," Shaughnessy continued. "We believe the team will have a well designed yacht, a well built yacht, and a well sailed yacht."

One of the most important topics in FYD's design planning will be adapting the project to the 2011-12 rule changes, one of which is the reduction of sails each team can have. "These restrictions place a large priority on sail inventory planning, and ultimately sail reliability. The choices we make during the design process regarding sail inventory have large consequences for the way the yacht will be used throughout the race," explained Shaughnessy.

ADTA has also hired Jason Carrington of Great Britain as Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Technical Manager, another knowledgeable addition to the team. Carrington is a professional offshore sailor, and is also known for being one of the world's most experienced boat builders over the last two decades, having built five Volvo Ocean Race Yachts, project managed three campaigns and raced around the world more than once.

Carrington has competed in more than 30 top-level international regattas, but his first Round the World experience was on Fortuna in the 1993-94 Whitbread Round the World Race (former name for the Volvo Ocean Race). After this taste of ocean racing, he continued his sailing career, joining Silk Cut for the 1997-98 Whitbread Round the World Race, Assa Abloy in the 2001-02 Volvo Ocean Race and finally he sailed with the Ericsson Racing Team, for the 2005-06 race.

FYD will now enter a five-stage research and design process, where Ian Walker, double Olympic medallist, will play an important role in the research, creation and design of the ADTA's Volvo Open 70. The design process is scheduled to finish in late September, when the build will begin with a builder yet to be decided.

The selection process is in its final stages for the rest of the crewmembers for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and with the help of Walker, the ADTA will decide the last members that will be on board the Volvo Open 70. The ADTA is committed to including a national UAE crewmember in the sailing team and another two on the Shore team.

Volvo Ocean Race