Volvo Ocean Race: Hull prep is nearly one design too

Published on May 11th, 2015

As many of the one-design keelboats are dry sailed and lack bottom paint, the ritual of the early morning swim to clean the hull during multi-day regattas is a common sight. Rarely a desirable chore, but a necessary evil to maintain a fast, clean hull surface.

However, as speed polishes now available can keep hulls clean for days, or even weeks at a time, the dreaded early morning swim is getting replaced with 20-30 minutes to apply a speed polish to the hull prior to regattas.

But what if your one-design of choice is a V0 65? With race legs taking upwards of three weeks or more, teams require something that tests very fast over long periods in the water and is easy to apply and maintain during brief stopovers.

Mark Gardner of the Harken Service Team reports that every Volvo Ocean Race team is using McLube Antifoul Alternative Speed Polish under the waterline, with none of the teams using any kind of permanent antifoul bottom paint or other permanent coating, as was once typical in this race.

The boats are usually able to haul out of the water for cleaning and re-polishing at each stopover, though the Newport stopover does not allow the boats to come out of the water. After 17 days racing from Brazil, 12 days in Newport, and then the next leg to Portugal, the hull surface will be immersed upwards of 40 days.

After six of nine race legs, here’s how the top three teams are handling their bottom prep when hauled:

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing: Two coats of McLube Antifoul Alternative Speed Polish applied to the hull each time the boat is allowed to haul out at a stopover, and four coats on any area that has been wet-sanded.

Dongfeng Race Team: Two coats of the McLube Antifoul Alternative Speed Polish to the hull, followed by a light spray coating of McLube Sailkote over the entire underbody of the hull surface. This team also prefers two coats of McLube Hullkote Speed Polish on the daggerboards and rudders to help keep them fast and debris-free.

Team Brunel: McLube Antifoul Alternative Speed Polish applied under waterline, and Nanocoat on the topsides (Note: Nanocoat is a Team Brunel sponsor).

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Background: The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race began in Alicante, Spain on Oct. 11 with the final finish on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Racing the new one design Volvo Ocean 65, seven teams will be scoring points in 9 offshore legs to determine the overall Volvo Ocean Race winner. Additionally, the teams will compete in 10 In-Port races at each stopover for a separate competition – the Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Series. The seventh leg, from Newport, USA to Lisbon, Portugal (2,800 nm), begins May 17 with an ETA between May 22 and 29.

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