'The challenge of designing one of these boats is fascinating,' HUMPHREYS said. 'The Volvo Open 70s are getting into the crossover zone between fast sailing and power boat performance and the interface between power and sail needs a totally different mindset.
'We are essentially coming at it cold even though there is obviously some data and some history of the class available. The new course will also shape our thinking as there is going to be more upwind work.
'We have gathered feedback and analysis from the boats in the last race. Obviously ABN AMRO ONE was the class boat of the field last time. That's not to say we will replicate an ABN AMRO design but it would be foolish not to absorb some of the design thinking.
'Our intention is to leave the R&D window open for as long as build time permits. We have an extensive tank testing programme planned for the next six weeks. That will take place alongside CFD [Computational Fluid Dynamics] work that we are running in-house.'
Green Marine, also Lymington-based, have created six previous Whitbread/Volvo challengers. Most recently they were responsible for the construction of the Ericsson and Pirates of The Caribbean Volvo Open 70s for the 2005-06 race.
The build is expected to start in late August for a launch in the spring of 2008.
HUMPHREYS has designed a wide variety of round the world race boats over the past 20 years including the 1989-90 Whitbread maxi Rothmans and the Dolphin and Youth Whitbread 60 for the 1993-94 event.
The Russian entry, backed by St Petersburg businessman Oleg ZHEREBTSOV, will be skippered by former Austrian Olympic Star sailor Andreas HANAKAMP.
The announcement of a Russian entry in May brought the number of confirmed entries to seven with crews racing aboard one class of boat, the Volvo Open 70, the world's fastest monohull racing yacht.
The 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race will be the 10th running of this iconic ocean marathon. The race, established in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race and lasting more than nine months, will journey more than 39,000 nautical miles and visit up to 12 countries and ports on its new route.
After its start in Alicante, Spain, in mid-October 2008, the fleet sails via Cape Town in South Africa to the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia before its stop in China ahead of its longest leg to South America. It then stops in Boston on the US East Coast and sails to Galway on Ireland's west coast on the way to a Baltic port finish.
The race now has seven confirmed entries with crews racing aboard the Volvo Open 70, the world's fastest monohull racing yacht. The new route will provide huge challenges in physical and mental endurance as well as technology.The Volvo Ocean Race is an ISAF Special Event. For more information on the Volvo Ocean Race, the Volvo Open 70 and the teams competing, visit the official Volvo Ocean Race website - www.volvooceanrace.org.
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