Ecover II to be launched in July next year 5/9/06

The news of Mike Golding’s continued support with Ecover yesterday see previous news story here 
coincided with the news of a new boat for the 2008 Vendee Globe. The new Open 60, to be named Eco ver II, will be designed by Owen Clarke Design (OCD) who’ll be working with Team New Zealand designer Clay Oliver. Hakes Marine in Wellington, New Zealand has been selected to build the new boat.

Mike Golding chatting about the new boat said: “This is a truly fantastic project for me – to have had the opportunity to develop one evolutionary boat in Ecover I was amazing, now we can take everything that we’ve learned and develop Ecover II, drawing on the combined Open 60 experience of my team and that of OCD and their associates. Clay Oliver’s involvement adds a further new perspective to a design for the IMOCA 60 class.

“This next Vendee Globe race will be the most competitive ever, with the very best names in sailing competing one-on-one in boats from the very best designers and builders around the world. Vendee 2008 is an event that I could not imagine missing and now, with the announcement of this new design and build, we are on a path that will give us the very best chance of competitive success.

“I have been delighted with the design and performance of Ecover I. Merfyn Owen and I have a long relationship spanning two decades, and I have enjoyed working with the OCD team who create an environment that is conducive to delivering high performance boats.”

While this is the second boat OCD has designed for Golding, the remit is to go back to basics and revisit the whole process.

Merf Owen chatting about the new design added: “This is what we call a full development design – a complete revision based on all the previous work we have done. We will be looking at new engineering, new dynamics, alternative keels and rudders – the whole thing is a complete new boat starting from first principles.

“We’ve wanted to work with Clay Oliver on a new design for some time and the whole project just seems to fit perfectly. We’ve never been in a stronger position as a design team and I’m delighted.”

Selecting the builder was more difficult, continued Golding. “There are many great builders around the world but few with Open 60 experience. We had heard about Paul Hakes and his team at Hakes Marine through reputation. Hakes have something new to bring to the mix – a wide experience of building grand prix boats for America’s Cup, Volvo Ocean Racing, and the highly successful TP52s. However, our choice here was not simply based on these past successes. Paul and his team, like us, are really excited by this project and this fits well with our philosophy of creating a unified and motivated sailor/designer/builder team that we believe is best suited to delivering the complete winning package.”

The build will start at Hakes Marine in October and the boat will be launched in July 2007. Paul Hakes is relishing the project: “Technology-wise Open 60s must be among the most advanced boats out there. Owen Clarke’s experience in these boats will facilitate the build in many aspects and for us this is a new and exciting challenge.

“As far as our infrastructure is concerned, we are going to extend our main oven, as well as invest in other areas. My team are fizzing about this project and just can’t wait to get started,” he concluded.