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Equipment on board the VOR65

The ultimate Grand Prix electronics system

The One Design Racing concept, introduced for the 2014-15 race, ensures that the race is won or lost by the teams on the ocean, rather than at the design stage. All teams race with the Volvo Ocean 65 and are kitted out with high performance navigation and instrument systems from the B&G Grand Prix range.

Explore the Volvo Ocean 65 below to discover the electronics on board and why they are required.

GPS Antenna

ZG100 - High-accuracy position, updated 10 times every second. The ZG100 GPS Antenna also houses an integrated multi-axis heading sensor, which allows it to carry out some clever damping of the GPS course over ground (COG) at very low boat speeds where normal antennas may become erratic due to normal GPS positioning errors. In extremes, it can also be used as a backup compass.


B&G Broadband 4G Radar and Wind Sensors On the mast, each Volvo Ocean 65 features a Broadband 4G Radar and dual wind sensors: one Vertical for separation from the wind disturbance effects of large square topped mainsail and one smaller unit for redundancy (no-one wants to climb the mast in a gale).

Mast Base

20/20 HV Displays x5 5 ultra-clear 20/20 HV Displays display crucial data to the crew in all weather conditions, day or night, rain or shine (or snow…). The custom high-contrast optically bonded displays provide super crisp, super fast data displays. When steering a fast yacht at night the crew are almost entirely reliant on the instrument displays – the 20/20 HVs sit within the helm’s line of sight to the sails and waves ahead, allowing quick and natural viewing of the most important data.

H5000 Graphic Displays

There are 8 H5000 displays located around the Volvo Ocean 65 – the key to performance sailing systems is to have the data that the crew need, where they need it. On the 65 the displays are on the steering pedestals, at the base of the winch pedestal, on the main bulkhead and at the navigation station.

The Navigation Station

The navigation station on board the Volvo Ocean 65 is the centre of the navigator’s world. Everything they need (except daylight…) is here. All performance data, weather data, competitor position data is available on the systems. The H5000 display provides quick oversight of all the sailing data, the PCs run tactical software connected to the WTP3 instrument system, Zeus³ multifunction displays provide sailing data, radar display, chart/AIS overview and also allow touchscreen control and monitoring of all on board systems via the digital switching system. There is a 2nd Zeus3 display forward in the yacht to enable other crew to control systems and view the radar.

Electronics Bulkhead

The WTP3 and associated modules are installed on the bulkhead close to the nav station, a relatively dry location alongside electrics and other electronic systems. The WTP3 is the heart of the system – it provides sailing data for the crew on deck, navigation data for the navigator and also processes the data from Volvo Penta engine, renewable energy system, sailing instruments and other yacht systems for transmission back to race HQ and onward to race followers on the Volvo Ocean Race website.

Heading Sensors

Each yacht has an HS70 GPS Compass alongside 2 Precision-9 sensors. The Precision-9 is a 9-axis compass with self-learning capability, for continuous improvement in accuracy. The sensors also provide Heel Angle, Trim (fore/aft) Angle and Heave data.

3D Motion Sensor

The WTP instrument system corrects the wind measurement for errors caused by the motion of the boat – it measures the pitch and roll rates, calculates the induced wind at the height of the wind sensor and corrects it. This allows the system to be used with lower data damping (smoothing/averaging) which provides more responsive data.

Depth Sensor

Not very exciting, but a “must have”. It doesn’t matter how good the rest of your system is if you are parked in the mud. The 65s run a networked depth sensor, available to view on any part of the system at any time.

Speed Sensors x 3

Yes, that *is* in the keel… for 2017/18 the 65s have a speed sensor in the keel bulb, alongside the more traditional hull sensors (though these are at the back of the yacht for optimum performance when reaching). The keel position gives some key advantages, the largest of which is that there is rarely any ventilation of the sensor with air – which often happens on a fast boat in rough weather with hull mounted sensors, this is also the reason that the 65s still run paddlewheel sensors. Teams will often switch to SOG at higher boat speeds (15kt+) in areas of low current.