Grant Dalton reckons changes that will alter the face of the Volvo Ocean Race are a move in the right direction, but still not far enough to tackle the cost obstacles dogging the race.
Emirates Team New Zealand head Dalton, who’s been involved in the round-the-world race since 1981, says the introduction of a strict one-design boat for the next race in 2014-15 is a “positive move”.
Dalton’s Camper is one of just six entries in the current race, which starts the final leg to Galway on Monday NZ time. Race organisers have pinned their hopes on between eight and 10 of the cost-saving one-design boats being on the start-line of the next two editions.
“The central problem with our sport at the moment is cost, and anything that controls cost has to be good for the sport going forward,” Dalton said from Lorient where the announcement was made last night.
“What’s to be seen yet is how they address the people problem, in terms of cost. That is about 60 percent of the actual cost.”
The 12-15 million euro race CEO Knut Frostad predicts it will cost a syndicate to compete in the race includes 4.5 million euro to buy a complete boat – designed and built, with a sail wardrobe. The boat budget is around 1 million euro less than it was in this race.
Costs would be further reduced by teams sharing shore crew and spare parts. Crew numbers have been cut from 10 to eight, plus a media crew member, with the new Volvo 65 supposedly easier and safer to sail.
But Dalton believes the race organisers could still take their cost-cutting knife and do more.
“They’re starting to get it right but I think they can go further yet as we look forward to the future, because we have an economy that isn’t coming right in the next five years. So this is the mechanism to keep the Volvo Ocean Race alive and healthy for certainly the next two editions,” he said.
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