Advocating a multihull Volvo Ocean Race

Published on October 3rd, 2016

French offshore skipper Thomas Coville won the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race as part of Franck Cammas’ Groupama sailing team. But Coville’s roots are in multihulls, and when discussing how to improve participation and commercial engagement in the race, he sees the monohull format as a dead-end. Here he shares his opinion with Sail Racing Magazine

They want to reduce the budgets and doing that is not all about the price of the boats. If you reduce by nearly half the length of the VOR and have half the crew, you will reduce the costs by half. Only with multihulls is that feasible.

Plus, with multihulls you will make the public much more enthusiastic about the race because the boats will be faster and more exciting.

Then you have to consider the optimum size of the boats. We have been thinking about this question for a long time. Even on solo boats 100 or even 120 feet (approximately 30 metres), I would say is a good size.

Even without going to foils you are going to reduce the time on the legs by half and then you can make a huge exhibition at each off the stopovers so that Volvo get what they need to attract the public and to put on a show for their corporate guests.

Also, you could have many more people on board the boats in the stopovers and it would be much more exciting and fun.

It will be better for the fans too. The public will not follow when it’s three weeks of waiting on each leg. That’s just too long. Only the English can be passionate about a cricket match lasting for more than a week!

With the new multihulls even by yourself the Atlantic is a week and going to Brazil is nine days. Suddenly the public will stay engaged for the whole leg.

I’m sure you would get one or two French teams. I know I would do it in a heartbeat – as a crew or whatever. I don’t think I would do the Volvo Ocean Race again in monohulls, but if it moved to multihulls then I know I would absolutely want to be there.

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