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Mastervolt, official power supplier to the next Volvo Ocean Race


Mastervolt, the industry specialist in autonomous power solutions; has once again been chosen to supply the power system for each of the eight identical Volvo Ocean Race boats.

With the official press announcement Nick Bice, Chief Technical Development Officer of the Volvo Ocean Race stated: “Mastervolt is the technical part of the boatyard and the Volvo Ocean Race.

And Mastervolt pretty much helped me to develop what I wanted a race supplier partnership to be. Last race they were onsite at every stopover, they supported us with what you couldn’t believe. So they are a fantastic partner of the Volvo Ocean Race, and we are very much looking forward to be working with them in the future”.

This race around the world is a gruelling and highly competitive event, and the Volvo Ocean Race edition 2017-18 will be even tougher than before. Not only will the yachts race further, there are also more stopovers, with more time spent in the Southern Ocean. Mastervolt was chosen again as the official supplier due to the excellent service provided and proven ruggedness of its installations, which will be powering everything from the large lifting keels right through to the watermakers and media centre.

Data captured from the previous race has proved invaluable, with each alternator spinning some 88.2 million times, and the advanced Lithium Ion Ultra batteries completing 275 deep cycles apiece, although this is still only 1/7th of the total life cycle capacity. The technicians at Mastervolt’s Power Lab in Amsterdam have been assessing the performance feedback of each component, and refined the system that will deliver dependable power at each extreme of temperature and humidity.

Moving with the times

The new design has also allowed the yachts to move with the latest technology, and take full advantage of the most recent product launches from Mastervolt, and its digital switching brand CZone. Each system has to be identical, right down to the last screw and the number of cable ties, yet the crews will still be able to determine the way they best use the available power.

By installing an AC Master 24/1500 to the off-grid main power, gives the crew enough amperage for a coffee machine – always good for morale in a storm.

We have also added a Combination Output Interface (COI) from CZone, which replaces a traditional fuse box and gives a greater intelligence to the charging system. The CZone digital control & monitoring network simplifies installation of electrical systems through the replacement of complicated, cumbersome wiring to switch and fuse panels, with state-of-the-art, robust interfaces.  It also provides a sophisticated solution via the automation of complicated control and monitoring issues associated with today’s onboard systems.

The NMEA cables have been swapped for higher capacity Ancor versions, and everything can now be monitored and controlled by the new CZone Touch 5 colour screens. These bright, sunshine-viewable screens are also fully waterproof, and are WiFi enabled.

All of the key components will be monitored remotely, with the data collected being used to continually improve the products. “A nice analogy is with the car industry,” said Ton de Winter, EMEA Business Leader at Mastervolt’s Dutch headquarters. “The development of high performance cars would not be where it is today without Formula 1 racing. By taking all this data from the entire system, we are able to improve all of our products. Customers who use our Lithium Ion batteries, for example, including those outside the marine industry, benefit directly from what we discover from the Volvo Ocean Race.”

Keeping it simple

Great emphasis has been placed on keeping the Mastervolt installations as simple and intuitive as possible for the next race.

“What we have learned is that the key to success is to make the systems easy to operate,” said Nick Holland. “The crew are all top athletes, and want to spend as little time as possible managing the electrical system. Therefore, it all needs to work instantly with a single push of a button, and with alarms going off only when absolutely necessary.”

For the 2017-18 race, each yacht will have an additional water-spun charging system, and the output from this and all the other charging inputs can be viewed in real time on the Power Project monitoring page on the official Volvo website.

The race will begin from Alicante in October 2017, and full details can be found at


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