Skipper Grant Dalton got his first taste of the new generation of VO60s when he sailed their new Farr-designed entry for the Volvo Ocean Race

Grant Dalton took the helm of the boat that will carry him round the world, possibly for the last time, in the Volvo Ocean Race, starting from Southampton on 23 September. Despite the throng of extras on deck, Dalton came away from his maiden sail optimistic about the boat’s fortunes.

“We liked what we saw in a breeze that went from 0-10 knots even though we were laden with boat builders, riggers, sail makers and engineers,” said Dalton.

“It was another significant milestone for the campaign achieved in only a few months. We have two boats in the water and sailing. The men’s crew has been selected and nine of the 12 members of the women’s team are confirmed. We might not be ready to race yet, but we’re well on the way.”

Lisa Charles-McDonald, skipper of the female-crewed Frers-designed Nautor Challenge boat, took out her fledgling crew – five of whom arrived the day before – for overnight training in the Mediterranean from their base in La Ciotat, France.

Thick fog frustrated their progress. “We did some sail testing and got everyone familiar with the boat and working together as a unit but it was not much of a test,” said Lisa.

The boats will leave La Ciotat on Thursday bound for Porto Cervo, Sardinia, where both boats will be christened on Monday 30 July. Thereafter, they head out on their 2,000-mile VOR qualification passage and arrive at their final training base in Sanxenxo, Spain around 8 August for three weeks of dawn ’til dusk sail training.