If you thought the new Puma il mostro was wild looking from a graphic-design standpoint, Team Russia’s new steed is currently the heavy-weight champ of “different” from a design perspective. The boat, designed by UK-based designer Rob Humphreys and built by Green Marine (also in the UK), features distinctive spray rails on its bow section; long chines that run from the stern forward, past the chainplates, to their intersection with the spray rails; a bluff bow, as well as a wide, powerful stern. The boat also sports a distinctive cabinhouse and a simple-but-tasteful paint job.
By far, the biggest eyebrow raiser is the wide-and-tall traveler track, which the crew must step over to reach the helm stations. Given the bucking-bronco nature of a Volvo Open 70, adding an additional hurdle is a possible safety concern, but one that Humphreys obviously weighed against the gains of having a longer traveler track.
Says Team Russia’s CEO, Michael Woods, “We started building her in August last year. It’s been a fantastic team effort, from the design by Rob Humphreys, the hard work by Simon Smith and the team at Green’s and the expert management and comitment shown by Tim Dean our project manager, also, the incredible hours of hard work behind the scenes by all our Team. It’s a great day for us, to finally see her in the water.” According to Team Russia’s press release, the build took roughly 34,000 man-hours to construct.
It will be interesting to see how Team Russia stacks up against the other boats, and to see if Humphrey’s “out-there” design elements will prove fast. For sure, this next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race will be a contest of designers, as each team has used a different design and build team. This alone is an important evolution, as the 2005/2006 race featured two designers, one of whom walked away with the race. Not only are these Version 2.0 boats far more refined than the previous boats, there’s no question that having five different designers involved in the mix will bring out new, faster ideas. Can you say “trickle down”?
For more information, check out www.teamrussia.org
Posted: May 27, 2008