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Project Plan for Whitbread World Sailboat Race

Project Plan for Whitbread World Sailboat Race

This paper will evaluate the project strategy of Bjorn Ericksen, who is the manager of the project. It is based on the planning for the race of Whitbread World Sailboat, which is well known in the UK. The strategy is processed by considering two paths, one is based on boat designing and another is on training of crew. The task of designing, constructing and training the crew for the race will be completed by Ericksen within 45 weeks. Ericksen appointed Karin Knutsen as a chief design engineer for designing the boat and Trygve Wallvik as a master helmsman for training the crew.

Boat designing includes the designing of hull, mast and accessories required for the boat. Crew training includes the implementation of strategy for giving training to the members. Bjorn and his team evaluate the critical path of project activities in order to identify different ways to meet out the time restraint on the project. Bjorn and his team establish some resources to maintain the performance and for the timely completion of the project in the budget limit of the project. In the last section of this project, the implementation will be discussed, which takes a normal time period for the project completion.

Bjorn Ericksen Project Strategy Analysis

Ericksen has been appointed as the project manager for this project because of his expertise and the title of “best designer of racing sailboats on the world” (Gray & Larson, 2005, p.305). Ericksen feels proud to be chosen for the opportunity of designing, building, selling and testing the boat for the project. This project has two paths with the help of which Bjorn and his team will complete the project: one is designing the boats and second is training the crew members (Global Leisure Equipment and Products, 2007).

Karin works on the designing and construction of the boat and Trygve works on developing the team and getting them trained for the new vessel effectively. Until the new boat is prepared, the boat from last year's race will be used to provide training. The main objective of this project is to have the boat and crew prepared for the upcoming race within 45 weeks, when the new entry must appear in the UK for the race. In the kick off meeting, the main programs for each path are discussed.

Karin will start off with designing process, which is stated for about 6 weeks. Once the designing is completed, the construction of the hull can be started, which will take 12 weeks. Apart from this, the mast, the sails, and accessories will be placed on order, which will take up to 15 weeks to arrive. The longest lead time will be taken by accessories. After the completion of hull, ballast tanks will take 2 weeks for the set up. The mast & sails will take two weeks and the accessories will take six weeks. After the completion of these activities, task of the building the deck and coating the hull will be accomplished simultaneously. The boat will be ready for testing after the duration of around 5 weeks, according to the plan. On the basis of this plan, the estimated cost will be $2,520,000 and time duration will be 36 weeks for the completion of the project without any indirect cost.

Another path is crew training, which is focused on ensuring both the crew and housing. After the arrival of crew, the task of equipment selection and order can be done. In the same way, old vessel can be taken for the purpose of establishing a routine sailing and maintenance program. After the establishment of maintenance program, the crew will be able to utilize new equipment and this will take 15 weeks.

After the completion of beginning practices, the deck will be finished and various parts of boat will be prepare for set up. When the crew maintenance training is finished, attempts for starting the sail training will correspond to the boat testing attempts. After the completion of initial training, 8 weeks will be estimated for sea trial. On the basis of this plan, the agenda will take 38 weeks for the completion of project at the cost of $270,000 which is a direct cost. Apart from this, there is an indirect cost of operating the boat, which will be around $162,000 out of which $60,000 is the cost of old vessel and $102,000 is the cost of new vessel.

The final attempt will be the sea trials by the new boat, which will take 8 weeks and the direct cost of utilizing the boat will be $200,000 and indirect cost will be $48,000. On the basis of routine and plan lay out, the total estimated cost of project will be $3,200,000, which would meet the budget of the project. The routine time for designing the path will take 44 weeks, but the schedule time period for crew training by sea trial will be 46 weeks. As the starting, two weeks were invested in estimating the cost structure, which indicates that the routine should not cross the limit of 43 weeks. All of this may indicate that there is a need to decrease the duration for meeting the objective of reaching at the starting point of the race on specified time.

Plan to Reduce Project Duration

On the basis of strategy analysis it is observed that there may be a crisis in relation to the program overrun, which is based on the process of crew training and independent critical paths of designing & construction. Allotted time duration for completing the project is 45 weeks before next year's vessel must leave port for the UK for commencing the race (Gray and Larson, 2005, p. 305). Two weeks were spent in cost estimation and planning of the project by the team and after it, only 43 weeks are left for the project activities. To reduce the time duration of project the company can outsource the construction of the sailboat. For example, Karin can implement a pessimistic approach for scheduling its new sailboat in place of its 5 week duration. This will assist Karin to keep on the promise of delivery time in case the work of design is delayed. In the same way, Ericksen and his team can also implement reliability buffers, which are aimed to secure the whole project plan performance from the interruption of failures by independent activities (Park & Pe�a-Mora, 2004).

Table 1

It shows the deliverables and task of the project.

.Optimal Solution Implementation Plan

Action Item Deliverable


Who is Responsible

Kick-off Meeting

Week 1

Bjorn, Trygve and Karin

Project Schedule/ Cost Est.

Week 2


Select Crew

Week 3


Design of sail boat

Week 3-9


Close Housing

Week 43


Deliver Boat and Crew

Week 45


Return Old boat

Week 23


Project Celebration

Week 44


Secure housing

Week 1-3


Project close out Report

Week 48


The team should develop a priority matrix, which is based on various factors of important criteria for the project. On the basis of analysis, the three main factors are time, performance and cost, which play an important role in overcoming the problem of project overrun. Out of these, time is the main factor, so Ericksen should focus on those activities, which are responsible for the delay. Another way is to alter a finish-to-start relationship to a start-to-start relationship (Gray & Larson, 2007, p. 285). For example, instead of waiting for the final design to be approved, Karin can start ordering the sailboat pieces as soon as key specifications have been determined. After the completion of project, Ericksen will require shutting down it and for this, project closure is needed for the smooth functioning.

Project closure

In the implementation stage of project, it is the duty of Ericksen to maintain the eagerness of the team members for the completion of the project and also to hold them accountable for the project deadlines (Gray & Larson, 2007, p. 476). It requires the delivery of the acceptance from the client, locking up the resources and releasing them for the new uses. It also requires closing the accounts and checking that all the bills are paid. Evaluation of project team members and project manager is the important part of this stage. It is the post project audit, which is aimed to improve the team of project for future. On the basis of analysis of various parts, it is the best process for auditing (Gray & Larson, 2007, p. 462).

Ericksen needs to implement an effective plan for the performance appraisal of each team member as this is the key part for assessing their strength and weakness. On the basis of this, Ericksen will decide about the salary and merit of each team member. It will assist him to identify the contribution of each team member whether it is technical or social skill in racing sailboat project. Giving feedback to all the team members about their performance is the best way, as it will give them an idea on how well they are performing (Gray & Larson, 2007, p. 482). This project experience will add value to the future Whitbread Sail boat races and will be helpful for the conclusion statement of the project.


Ericksen has selected his team effectively as both the team leaders of different teams are efficient. Ericksen has identified the lacking in the proposal of Karin and Trygve and utilized the concept of the project priority matrix in effective way. By considering time as the main element of the project, he also follows other ways by taking cost into the consideration. The new project schedule, which is proposed in the plan, requires the implementation of buffers to minimize the uncertainty involved in the project. This is the reason why a well structured and detailed plan is necessary, as it will assist the project team to have a clear vision. In the final stage, Ericksen is required to take closure to the project when it is completed. The team and individual performance appraisal are important for future references and for the improvement of project managing process.


Global Leisure Equipment and Products. (2007, March). Industry Profile. Retrieved July 24, 2008, from Datamonitor.

Gray, F.G. & Larson, E.W. (2006). Project management: The managerial process (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Park, M., & Pea-Mora, F. (2004, September). Reliability Buffering for Construction Projects. Journal of Construction Engineering & Management, 130(5), 626-637. Retrieved July 24, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.