To ensure safety and stability of the boats competing in the Volvo Ocean Race, each is put through a series of tests and measurements to comply with the Volvo Open 70 Rule. The boats are evaluated both on and off the water in order to produce boats that are seaworthy and suitable for long distance racing, along with being fast and easily driven.
Among those measurements is the pull down test. With a halyard attached to a point on the shore, the boat is wound down to a heel of approximately 50 degrees while the keel is canted fully to the same side. The automatic keel centering mechanism is then activated to make sure the system works and the boat returns upright.
The pull down test simulates the worst case scenario should the keel system fail, and it makes sure that the keel system and structure are sound. Part of the Volvo Open 70 Rule 3, the test was instituted after the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 when multiple boats in the fleet experienced keel problems.
A member of the Volvo Open 70 Measurement Group visited the PUMA Ocean Racing training base in Lanzarote, Spain, last week to put PUMA’s Mar Mostro through the pull down test. It’s ready to race.