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The Story Begins: Volvo Ocean Race Lisbon Assembly Period

by Hannah Cotterell 21 Sep 2017 14:45 BST 21 September 2017
Harken winch servicing on the Volvo Ocean Race fleet © Hannah Cotterell Media

This year Harken will be telling the untold story of our Tech Team behind the hardware of the Volvo Ocean Race boats. The good, the bad, the tough times and the great, we'll share it all with you, starting right here in Lisbon for the assembly period!

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

The 17-18 Volvo Ocean Race teams have been busy sailing, tweaking and preparing their boats, getting as much time on the water as possible before race start on October 22nd. On Monday 18th September, this comes to an end as the teams will be handing their boats back to the dedicated team at the Boatyard for some mandatory pre-race preparation, ahead of their gruelling round the world race.

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 every stopover. Their aim: to make sure the best one design fleet on the planet are ready for their 45,000 mile race around the world.

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

So what do 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 team. As all the boats in the Volvo Ocean Race are one-design, they all have exactly the same Harken hardware on-board. The reason Harken are part of the assembly period is to allow our team of specialists to get their hands on the boats to check and service all of the hardware, ensuring the gear is in peak condition for race start day.

With almost 9,000 nautical miles between Lisbon and the next big service in Cape Town and an estimated 12,000 nautical miles of pre-race testing already carried out, our team will be very busy doing 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 be telling 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 for the assembly period.

Follow us on the Harken At The Front dedicated website, or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for the latest videos, photos and interviews from the ground with the sailors, Tech Team and everyone else that helps to make this epic adventure come to life.

#HarkenVOR #FollowTheStory

"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)

Got a question for our Tech Team? We'd love to hear from you!

Tweet us at @harkentechteam or contact us here!