The new Volvo Ocean 65 is taking shape

The new hull © Mark Sommerville
The new hull © Mark Sommerville

Lamination of the hull of the first One Design boat has begun at Persico in Italy and the first carbon layer for the first deck has been completed at Multiplast in France. It’s happening!

With four European boatyards actively working on it, construction of the new One Design boat for the next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race is quickly moving forward. Persico in Italy is in charge of the hull and Multiplast in France takes care of the deck while Decision in Switzerland builds the bulkheads. Green Marine will carry the final assembly in England.

Two major milestones have just been passed at the Italian and French boatyards. At Persico, lamination of the outer skin of the hull has now begun, while at Multiplast the first carbon layer for the deck has been completed.

Built out of a carbon-infused mould, the 65-foot carbon hull will take 20 people and eight weeks to be produced. Once fitted with the bulkheads provided by Decision, it will be shipped from the Italian boatyard to Green Marine in late February 2013.

“The curing process has to be dealt with extreme care,” says Persico operations manager Mark Sommerville. “The temperature inside the oven needs to increase and later decrease at a very steady and accurate pace, 12° per hour, because any sharp variation could compromise the process, the resin could go soft and not catalyse properly.

"It takes approximately six to seven hours to get to the right temperature and back. During this phase we work in shifts to ensure the process is monitored constantly.”

Meanwhile at Multiplast the Volvo Ocean 65 deck’s outer carbon layer has just been finished. 

“We are four weeks away from taking the deck out of the mould,” confirmed director Yann Penfornis. “Then we will have six to seven weeks of pre-piercing the deck fittings for grinders, organisers and deck stiffeners.

"The first deck will be delivered mid-February to Green Marine and we will be working on the second one by then. From then on, a new deck will be produced every seven weeks.”

The first boat off the production line is expected in late June 2013. There are still many challenges ahead, but the plan is to have each new boat sailing within three to four days of leaving the boatyard.

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