Techno-share for top ocean racers

For the first time in solo ocean racing two British teams, Aviva and Ecover, have agreed to develop and test their boats against each other in the search for optimum performance

Dee Caffari and Mike Golding, two British entries in the 2008 Vendée Globe, have today announced they are forming a technical alliance to share key technical data on the development of their new Open 60 yachts.

The Vendée Globe has, to date, been dominated by the French, who have won every single one of the five editions. This alliance will boost British hopes in this single-handed, non-stop round the world race.

Caffari, the new recruit to the Open 60 class, is aiming to become the first woman to sail around the world in both directions in the Aviva Ocean Racing campaign (Golding was the first man to accomplish the feat). Caffari will face a steep learning curve as she steps up to the challenging world of Open 60 racing. This technical alliance will facilitate her campaign to catch up with the latest technology and boat building techniques.

Mike Golding is Britain’s most successful solo sailor and has extensive experience in the Open 60 Class. Up until now his technical data has been a very closely guarded secret, however his latest attempt to win the Vendée Globe will see him sharing his knowledge with a fellow British campaign. A structured two-boat testing period built into the alliance will be an important element that will ensure that both boats are as fast as possible.

The relationship between the two sailors goes back some eight years when Golding gave Caffari her first job in professional sailing. Despite this close relationship however, the two sailors will be competitors on the start line in 2008.

The alliance will include the sharing of data during the boat building process to produce two near identical boats, the two-boat test sailing will help to optimise set up of each of the yachts and gain both skippers invaluable experience in extracting the best performance from these complex yachts.

Both skippers are hoping to not only improve the performance of their respective boats, but also give themselves a psychological advantage over many of their rivals who will not have such a structured development program.

Mike Golding, Skipper ECOVER, said, “This is a new departure for us and one, that I believe will reap longer-term rewards. We (Mike Golding Yacht Racing) have always prided ourselves on our excellent technical preparation for races and this has helped to many successes on the circuit including two world championship wins. The support that we can offer Dee and her team will also serve us to further develop our technical advantage over many in the fleet. ”

Dee Caffari, Skipper Aviva, said, “The support the Aviva campaign will get from Mike will be invaluable in making sure we are at the forefront of boat build and design. The two-boat testing will give both our campaigns an added dimension that could give us an edge over our rivals.”

The first step in the new alliance will be the sharing of the tooling information for Mike´s new Owen Clarke design Open 60 that is currently under construction at Hakes Marine in Wellington, New Zealand. It is anticipated that the new ECOVER and Aviva will begin two-boat testing in early 2008.

Merfyn Owen of Owen Clarke Design commented: ¨We are thrilled that Mike and Dee have agreed to this technical alliance. It gives us a unique opportunity to evaluate two designs side-by-side and further develop what we had already considered to be a leading-edge design.