Grant Dalton, skipper of the Nautor Challenge men's crew, announced he will race the V.O.60 designed by Nautor's Swan Frers design house

Grant Dalton, skipper of the Nautor Challenge men’s crew, announced he will race the V.O.60 designed by Nautor’s Swan Frers design house.

Nautor Challenge, Nautor’s Swan round the world racing team, has built two new yachts, one from the drawing board of the Milan-based Frers design office and the other from Annapolis-based Farr Yacht Design. Stringent tests have been carried out on both yachts over recent weeks to determine which yacht will be raced by the men’s team, skippered by Grant Dalton and known as Amer Sports One, and which yacht will be entered by the women’s team, skippered by Lisa McDonald and known as Amer Sports Too.

Dalton commented, “It’s appropriate that we’ll be racing the V.O.60 designed by Swan’s designers. We’ll be aiming to use this to emulate Swan 65 Sayula II’s victory in the first ever Whitbread in 1973/74.”

Dalton went on to say; “We have hard data on the performance of each boat in various conditions. We have taken that data and run it against weather data from previous races. It was close between the two boats. Some years the Frers would have won and in others it would have been the Farr.”

He continued, “Then we ran our performance data against data on the weather likely to be encountered from September 23. This is where accurate data comes into contact with knowledge of historic weather, intuition, gut feeling and to an extent, crystal ball gazing.”

“In the end it was a subjective decision. We could have played it safe and taken the Farr boat because the Farr designers are very experienced to the v.o.60 rule and we knew we would have a boat which is equal to the other Farr boats in the fleet. The other option was to go with the Frers design because in the testing it has shown the potential to be a hard boat to beat.”

The Nautor Challenge men s crew skippered by Grant Dalton will race the v.o.60 designed by Studio Frers, based in Milan. The yacht will be known as Amer Sports One.

The women s crew, skippered by Lisa McDonald, will sail the yacht designed by Farr Yacht Design Ltd. of Annapolis, USA. The yacht will be known as Amer Sports Too.

Dalton said the decision was not easy: There was nothing in it. I would be happy to sail either boat around the World.

Lisa McDonald said, “We have a superb race yacht, the equal of any of the Farr designs in this fleet. It has been carefully prepared. We have been given a really good opportunity to do well and make history in this race. We have the boat and now it s up to the crew to sail smart and show the seven male crews in the VOR that we’re competitive.”