When you’re preparing to sail in a race that hearkens back to an earlier age, a time when the equipment of the average ocean going yacht was much simpler, it makes sense to look for a boat that was a star of that era. When Marco Trombetti and Isabelle Andrieu, co-founders of the international translation company Translated, looked for a boat to sail in the fully-crewed Ocean Globe Race 2023, they chose a Swan 65 with a globe-girdling pedigree: ADC Accutrac was once owned and raced by British sailor Clair Francis. Aboard ADC Accutrac, Francis and crew finished fifth in the 1977 Whitbread Around the World Race after 126 days and 20 hours at sea.
The rules of the Ocean Globe Race put a premium on competitors in the 2023 race recreating “the spirit of the 1973 Whitbread Round the World Race” on the 50th anniversary of that event.
A Sparkman & Stephens design, ADC Accutrac was launched in 1974. After the 1977 Whitbread, Francis sold the boat and it went through a series of owners. When asked why he and Andrieu chose to sail in this boat, Trombetti responded in an email: “We opted for a Swan 65 for two reasons. First off, to take part in the Ocean Globe Race 2023, a celebration of 50 years since the first edition of the Whitbread Round the World Race, one of the requirements was to have a boat built before 1988. We analyzed which models had performed best in the early editions of this epic regatta and discovered that the Swan 65 was the most successful of them all. It was Ramón Carlín on board a Swan 65 — Sayula II — who won the first edition, while in the second edition, three Swan 65s — King’s Legend, Disque d’Or and ADC Accutrac — placed second, fourth, and fifth respectively.
“The Sparkman & Stephens Swan 65 is an iconic boat crafted from Nautor Swan’s ambitious and winning design. It is considered by many to be the queen of the seas – a perfect blend of performance and looks.
“Our Swan 65, Translated 9, is the one that came fifth in the second edition. Back then, it was captained by Clare Francis, the first female skipper to take part in the Whitbread. This adds a fundamental value to our company’s boat: as a pioneer in artificial intelligence to support human creativity, Translated believes that human values — rather than technology — are the key to achieving ambitious goals. And it was precisely to promote these values, and our motto of ‘We Believe in Humans,’ that we decided to participate in the OGR 23, the most human race there is.”
At one point in its history the boat was named Force 9 of London and had fallen into disrepair. Italian sailor Nicola Parolin got the boat back in shape and sailing again. Trombetti and Andrieu then purchased the Swan 65 and renamed it Translated 9.
The boat underwent an extensive refit by VMV Yacht Design at Marelift in Fano, Italy. Trombetti commented on the work: “Our refit was intended not only to bring the vessel in line with the rules of the Ocean Globe Race 2023, where no technology or modern materials are allowed on board, but also to restore the boat to its original design and to its former glory.
“The refit was led by Vittorio Malingri and assisted by many of the crew members who will compete in the Ocean Globe Race. It was crucial for the members of our crew to know and understand every single detail of Translated 9 so that, if anything were to break down in the middle of the ocean, they would know exactly where to go to work.
“The restoration involved all areas of the boat. We dismantled and restored it from top to bottom, and the refit covered some of the internal structures, all the onboard equipment including the tanks, and the engine room. We carried out structural testing of all the steel, including the rudder shaft and the propeller shaft, and we replaced all the pieces of the deck, setting up a new layout with the construction of a doghouse. Lastly, we replaced the masts.”
As a tune-up for the Ocean Globe Race Translated 9 sailed in the 3,600-mile Cape Town to Rio Race in January 2023. In addition to Marco Trombetti and Vittorio Malingri, the crew for the race was chosen from a pool of 1,400 applicants all new to ocean sailing.
When asked about the Rio race Trombetti wrote: “The boat performed really well in the Cape2Rio. Considering that we were already in trim for the Ocean Globe Race, so we didn’t have modern technology on board, we managed to finish fourth. Translated 9 rode the waves perfectly and made excellent use of the winds.
“With an international crew of young people under 24 who grew a great deal during this ocean journey, after an excellent start and a few periods of dead calm that slowed our progress, we managed to mount a comeback and finish just a few hours behind the first three boats, which had technology on board. For the last three days, when the wind was reaching speeds of 50 knots, Translated 9 flew across the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It was an important test. We became aware of our potential and identified the areas where we need to improve.
“We are convinced that the journey, and above all the growth that takes place during the journey, is the most valuable element of any adventure in sport and in life.”
The next challenge for Trombetti, Translated 9 and its young crew is the Ocean Globe Race, slated to begin in September 2023 from Europe (the starting and ending port have yet to be announced) and stop in Cape Town, Auckland, New Zealand and Punta del Este, Uruguay before returning for a finish in Europe. According to the company the selection process for crew to sail on Translated 9 in the OGR 2023 is still open, and “anyone who wants to and believes they can take on a challenge as extreme as it is extraordinary” can apply at www.translated.com/9. n