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January 24, 2006 09:26 by The Times Online | 0 comments

It is hard to imagine the Ferrari Formula One team agreeing to discuss the technical specification of their race car with rivals such as McLaren Mercedes for the good of the sport, but that is in effect what is about to happen in the Volvo Ocean Race.

The technical failures afflicting the four Bruce Farr designed entries have so seriously damaged the race as a sporting spectacle that the organisers have called a crisis meeting in Melbourne at which representatives of all seven teams will talk about shared solutions.

Just as in Formula One, this type of openness goes against the grain in professional yacht racing, a sport famous for its secretiveness in which battles between designers and engineers often play as big a role as those between sailors.

Glenn Bourke, the Volvo Ocean Race chief executive, told The Times yesterday that he was still unsure how much real co-operation would be evident when the teams get down to discussing the details of the repeated keel ram failures and structural problems that have afflicted Ericsson, Movistar, Brasil 1 and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Bourke is hoping that the keel and structural issues can finally be overcome during the next two weeks as the teams prepare for the in-port race in Melbourne on February 4. Asked if there was enough time between now and then to make the necessary improvements, he said: “I don’t know to be honest. That won’t be borne out until the meeting. I doubt anyone’s looking at a lot of extra time to do what they need to do.” — Ed Gorman in the Times of London, full article at


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