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Buckie Lugger

Velux 5 Oceans 2010 - 2011

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Clipper Ventures have announced details of the 2010 - 2011 Velux 5 Oceans.

 

http://www.velux5oceans.com/page/1011Artic...1283820,00.html

 

The main proposals are:

  • Starting in France or Spain, with stopovers in South Africa, Australasia, South America and the East Coast of the USA.
  • The race will be open to Open 60s and Eco 60s. The classes will race in separate divisions.
  • They're aiming for a fleet of around twelve boats, split fairly evenly between the classes.

Ah, so what's an Eco 60? According to the marketing speak it's a 60' race boat that's both economical and ecological. The basic rules are proposed to be:

  • The class is to be comprised of old Open 60s, that were built before 2004.
  • Sails will be limited to eight (five headsails, two spinnakers and the mainsail). Replacements during the race will incur a penalty.
  • Fossil fuels will be discouraged. There will be a fuel allowance, and using more than this will incur further penalties.
  • Structural modifications will only be allowed after prior dispensation from the class body.
  • The class will be run by the RORC.

My thoughts?

 

The route sounds good, as the 2002 Around Alone was a better race than the 2006 Velux 5 Oceans. However, having another two stopovers is going to put the costs up for competitors, and make it a longer race.

 

The Eco 60 class is vey interesting, and I've knocked similar ideas around in the past. But I'm not completely convinced by the idea of restricting it to older boats.

 

For a start the 2004 cut-off date means that Ecover / Mutua Madrilena, Virbac-Paprec / Cheminees Poujoulat and Artemis / Hexagon / Pindar will be significantly faster than the bulk of the older boats. At the same time it prevents newer boats that have been built to older designs from entering. I'd include Pakea, Maisonneuve / Galileo and Spirit of Canada.

 

I'm put the cut off date to the start of 2002, which would restrict it to the old generation 60s.

 

I don't think that an Eco 60 is going to be as economical as Clipper Ventures suggest. The cheapest 60s on the market are around 100 to 150K euros, but good boats from 2000 will be anything up to 750K euros. The old Ecover was for sale at 1.5 million euros last summer.

 

The cost of refitting a boat is not trivial. The sails, keel, and rigging would need to be replaced, and I'd expect a long list of maintenance and repair jobs would need doing, along with repainting the boat in her sponsor's colours. On top of that the mast, electrical system, electronics, engine, rudders, daggerboards and hydraulics might need replacing.

 

Offshore Challenges suggested that a budget of 750K euros as being the minimum for this kind of refit and race preparation. And that tallies with what Marc Thiercelin spent preparing Pro Form for the last Vendée.

 

I suspect that you can spend less. But with a new wardrobe of sails, rigging, and keel fin costing in total on the order of 250K euros, it's not going to be a huge amount less. All up, I think that it's going to be 500K to 750K to put a real budget boat together, with a serious entry being between 1 and 2 million.

 

My suggestion would be to develop a bigger version of a Class 40 for new Eco 60s. (OK, I've said this before, and everyone always ignores me. :) ) A fairly simple fixed keel, classic rig boat could come in at around 1.5 million euros. It should be cheaper to run (newer, fewer hydraulics), competitive with older designs (note how well Temenos and VMI did in the last Vendée with fixed keels), and have a much better resale value at the end of the campaign.

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Well, it will all depend on who particapates in this race. With so many new Open 60s and more people to enter the class, one would hope more would participate.

 

I agree with your sentiment on the suggested Eco 60´s, Buckie. PersonallyI would rather see a SOLOCEANS type boat adopted for the secondary lvl, strict one design with everyone sailing the same equipment. I am sure they had their reasons to come to the solution they present. Then again, I am not a big fan of running two official races in a race. Open 60 is supposed to be the formula 1 of shorthanded sailing. If people cant afford to race in OPEN 60 they should look for other classes. imo.

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The two problems with the 5 Oceans are that it clashes with the Route du Rhum and the next Barcelona World Race, and that it's no longer part of the official Open 60 circuit.

 

My guess is that there'll be few of the big teams entering, unfortunately.

 

Having had a brief discussion with the race director, the aim of the Eco 60 is to keep costs down. The fact remains that Open 60s are not cheap boats to run, and as Sam Davies said at the Petit Bateau conference a few months back, you can spend less but you won't finish.

 

A one design Open 60 could be interesting, but also expensive. The SolOceans boat is 1.7 million euros, and a 60 could well be more.

 

I agree about multiple divisions. The Minis handle it the nicest, with overall rankings for all boats, along with separate positions for Series and Protos.

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why not get rid of the ECO 60s and replace them with Class 40s? The class is growing very quickly and it is a lot cheaper to campaign than a 60 from what I've seen

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I think that the cheapest you're going to be able to buy an old 60 and prep her for racing is going to be somewhere between 500K and 750K euros. (You can get a 60 for 150K upwards, but will probably need news sails, keel fin and rigging.)

 

A decent 40 is between 400K and 500K ready to race, so the costs overlap. The running costs of a 40 will be a lot less though. :)

 

However, then 40s are slower than old 60s (just), so that would lengthen the race. And they've already got their own event in the Portimao Global Ocean Race.

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Grasping at straws to keep the Velux 5 Oceans going... They realize that none of the frontline poeple with new/penultimate boats (which will probably make up more than 2/3 of the next Vendee starters - conservatively) will do the V5O what with the RdR and BWR overlapping and the race not counting toward the IMOCA world championship. so the idea might be to attract people who aren't up to that level to grab some old 60s and compete. If you can find an old boat that is being actively sailed either in racing or in chartering then you might be able to do it for a reasonable amount of money as the boat should be in good shape but if you're picking up some boat that's been methballed for a few years then you're talking a lot of $$ to get it up to speed. Unfortunately since 60s don't rate well under any sort of rating system nobody sails them for anything but IMOCA races so if the boat hasn't been racing IMOCA races recently then chances are it rotting on a trailer somewhere.

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I'd agree about the overlap, Speng. It's possible that there will be boats that do both the Route du Rhum and Barcelona World Race, but it would be a very, very tight schedule.

 

Realistically, with the 5 Oceans, I think that the fleet is going to be split three ways, which isn't great.

 

I'd push the next edition of the 5 Oceans back a year to 2011. The TJV isn't a part of the IMOCA calendar anymore either, and isn't as big a draw as the RdR in any case. That would probably pick up some of the new boats for the 2012 Vendee, who'd use it as a shakedown, much like the Barcelona World Race was this year.

 

Whether you could find a ready-to-race charter boat is a different matter. I think that the ideal boat to acquire would be something like Roxy, if the team sells her after the next Vendee, as she'd be race ready.

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