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The Story Begins: Volvo Ocean Race Assembly Period

What is the VOR assembly period and why are we here?

The 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race teams have been busy sailing, tweaking their boats, and getting in as much time on the water as possible before the race start on October 22nd. On Monday, September 18th this came to an end when the teams turned their boats over to the dedicated crew at the Boatyard for mandatory prerace preparation ahead of the grueling circumnavigation.

What is the Boatyard?

For those of you who haven’t heard of the Boatyard, it is a dedicated service center that travels around the world with the Volvo Ocean Race to tune, maintain, and repair the boats at each stopover. Their aim: to make sure the best one-design fleet on the planet is completely prepared and ready for the start and each restart in the 45,000-mile race around the world.

This is made possible by the Volvo Ocean 65 one-design concept, which means all the boats are identical. An even cooler aspect of the Boatyard is that during stopovers, the facility is open to the public, with viewing platforms for you to see first-hand the specialist work carried out behind the scenes!

So what does Harken have to do with the assembly period in the Boatyard?

Our dedicated Tech Team of seven technicians form part of the Boatyard’s Deck Gear group. As the boats in the Volvo Ocean Race are one-design, they all have exactly the same Harken hardware onboard, allowing our team of specialists to check and service all  the hardware so it is in peak condition for the race start.

With almost 9,000 nautical miles between Lisbon, Portugal and the next big service in Cape Town, South Africa, and an estimated 12,000 nautical miles of prerace testing already carried out, our team will be very busy making full inspections in preparation for the challenging conditions ahead.

Harken Tech Team Volvo Ocean Race fact

Did you know that in total the boats have 56 winches, 35 gearboxes, and 21 pedestals? During the Lisbon assembly period, this equates to approximately 572 man-hours of service for the team, 35 tubes of Harken grease, and at least 200 cups of coffee!

Follow the untold story

This year we will tell the untold story of the team behind the hardware—the good, the bad, the ugly, the tough times, and the great times. We want to share it all with you, starting right here in Lisbon during the assembly period.

Follow us via the links below for the latest videos, photos and interviews with the sailors, Tech Team, and everyone else that helps make this epic adventure come to life.

“To guarantee the best level of service, the Boatyard uses the original manufacturers to maintain the equipment on the Volvo Ocean 65s.

This means that, for example, Harken will work alongside the Boatyard hardware specialists to service the winches.”

Neil Cox, Head of the Boatyard
(Extract from Volvo Ocean Race news release)

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