Safety is a Volvo brand value. In fact, it is the very thing most people would mention first when they think of Volvo cars. The Volvo Ocean Race is an extreme sport, where boats, equipment and crew push the limits at very high speeds, over very long distances and out of reach for any coast guard. Since Volvo bought the race in 1997, safety has been improved for each race.
A new design of boat, the Volvo Open 70, was introduced for the 2005-06 event. It is faster and more dynamic than any boat previously sailed in the race. This state-of-the-art class of boat, with canting keel and a sail area as large as three tennis courts will be used again in this race, with some slight modifications.
Here are some of the many safety measures that surround every Volvo Ocean Race:
Brand values reflected in the Race
In Volvo Cars' brand value pyramid, safety is followed by care for the environment and Modern Scandinavian Design. Both are tied into Volvo Ocean Race, but in different ways.
When it comes to the environment, sailing is still one of the purest and most nature-minded sports, where the competition depends only on the wind as the source of energy. The Volvo Ocean Race covers vastly different weather conditions and climates from the ice cold winds down in the Roaring forties, the 40th latitude south, to the hot and windless Doldrums by the equator.
Each Volvo Open 70 has two Volvo Penta engines onboard that are provided by Volvo. One is an engine that can propel the boat, the other creates electricity for all the equipment onboard: the navigation gear, the desalination device etc. The waste is stored onboard and is recycled in the ports.
Effect of ballast water
The 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race is part of a pioneering project aiming at finding out how the oceans have been affected by ships exchanging of billion of tonnes of ballast water. The teams are to take regular water samples to help scientists analyse the biomass of the water in open seas. They want to see how foreign invaders found in ballast water are upsetting the eco-systems in the world's great oceans. Since the Volvo Ocean Race goes in waters where very few, if any, other boats go, it is perfect for the task.
The events in the ports involve considerable shipping of pavilions and equipment form port to port. Also, there will be a lot of guests flown in to the various ports. In order to learn how to minimise the carbon dioxide impact of the competition, Volvo Ocean Race will undergo a thorough environmental audit together with DNV (Det Norske Veritas).
The audit will involve and include the race organisers, the sponsors of the race as well as the teams and their boats. The main objective is to clearly identify areas for environmental improvement as well as creating a benchmark against which to measure future races.
UN conference on sport events
All major sport events face similar environmental challenges. Therefore, a major United Nations conference on sport and the environment was held in Alicante in conjunction with the start of Volvo Ocean Race. The conference focused on how to make global sport events more sustainable.
In the Volvo brand value exhibition in the Pavilion, there are simulators where the guests can try EcoDriving, play CO2 games and other activities to better understand how a car driver can make a difference.
Boat design inside the cars
When it comes to Modern Scandinavian Design in an Ocean context, there is plenty of that in the Volvo Ocean Race editions of some models of Volvo Cars. The colour and trim designer Maria Thunberg has looked closely at the sailing sport and incorporated numerous details to the interior of the cars. Some examples are zigzag stitching in the seat that is inspired by the way sailmakers put their signature on the sails. Aluminium corners to the floor mats are inspired by the enhancing of the part of the sail known as clew. The load cover is made of sail material and has a large, but discreet, Volvo Ocean Race logo printed on it.
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