‘Hugo Boss’ Skippers Abandon Ship and are Rescued off Spain

What a huge bummer for Alex Thomson and Team Hugo Boss. In a “shakedown” of sorts – and a rather aggressive one, at that – Thomson and his co-skipper for the 2 man Transat Jacques Vabre Race, Guillermo Altadill, started the 5400 mile Transat Jacque Vabres race from Le Havre, France to Itajai, Brazil on Sunday the 25th of October.  On October 31, a scary day indeed for the 2 sailors, they set off their EPIRB requiring a rescue from their brand new, sinking IMOCA 60 monohull, Hugo Boss.

The entire fleet who set off from France on the 5,400 mile double-handed race to Itajai, Brazil, confronted seriously damaging winds and huge seas and many of the boats were forced to retire from the race. Thomson and Altadill had turned Hugo Boss around to head back to Spain to look into repairs needed to repair “structural issues” to the new boat, and in the 36 hours heading back to shore, the boat continued to break and it became obvious that it was starting to sink forcing the rescue some 82 miles off the coast of Spain.

Once the 2 men arrived safely back on land, the team began the effort to recover the damaged boat and tow it safely back to make further repairs in hopes to get the boat in shape to race in Alex’s goal: the Vendee Globe which starts on 6 November, 2016. Plenty of time, we would hope, to get the boat in proper ocean going shape for a round-the-world adventure. Thomson hopes to become the first non-French skipper to win the Vendee Globe, a crazy solo, non-stop race around the world.

Check out the rescue video from the Spanish Coast Guard. They must have been very busy with all the retired boats off the coast of Spain. It is great news that Thomson’s boat has been recovered and is alongside in A Coruna, Spain.

Maybe they should have brought along some (lots) of THIXO? It’s boat repair magic…

Follow the team’s rebuild and news updates on their website: http://www.alexthomsonracing.com/news

 

Across the Atlantic in my Folkboat

Leo Goolden tells the story of his voyage from Falmouth, England to the Caribbean, much of it solo and without GPS, in his rebuilt 25-footer.
(Article of Courtesy Classic Boat Magazine) 

clas15-1544 I hoist the mainsail with the mooring lines still tied. A few curious faces peer over the railings. “Is that a Folkboat?” says an old fella’ with a bag of chips. “Where you off to?” “France!” I say. He gives me an odd look and wanders off down the stone quay. I hoist the jib, untie the spring, and flick the bow line over the bollard.

I back the jib, holding the clew to leeward on the foredeck until the bow falls off a little, and then give the wall a good kick from the stern. I take up the slack in the main sheet as Lorema bears away and the sails fill, the wake widens, and I hear the sound of the water accelerating over the clinker planks.

As I pass Trefusis point, I turn and wave goodbye to Falmouth and Cornwall and all the friends I have made there – until next time. After two years it feels like home, but I am finally embarking on the trip I have planned for so long, and I can barely contain my excitement and nerves. I am heading south, destination unknown, and it feels good.clas15-2234
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The New Hugo Boss: Boat Building and Aesthetic

British yachtsman, Alex Thomson, unveiled and launched his brand new IMOCA “Open” 60 foot racing machine this week with the same sponsor name emblazoned on the hull and sails: Hugo Boss. Another big name sponsor brought their brand to the boat as well, with Mercedes Benz coming to the team, also focused on winning a number of ocean racing events.

First up is the Transat Jaques Vabre which is a 5200 mile race from the coast of France to Itajai, Brazil. Thomson and a crew will race doublehanded along the route, setting out to prove that this boat can win not only Transatlantic races, but also nonstop solo around the world racing.

boss

The hull is state of the art, the design of the deck hearkens the deeply buried honeycomb heart of the carbon fiber machine and Thomson, who most recently had to retire from the Barcelona World Race with a broken mast, is looking to set course and world records with his new black boat. Watch the video and get psyched to watch Alex and team race Hugo Boss to the ends of the earth.

And from the madman files – we showed you his MastWalk stunt which followed his KeelWalk stunt – so who can even begin to guess what kind of a stunt he will next attempt…. it will be exciting to see Alex and his team put this boat to the test.

 

 

Transatlantic Race Records & Finishes

The Transatlantic Race 2015 is nearly done as some of the slower boats continue to finish off the Lizard, UK, some 2+ weeks after the first start. There were many notable finishes with some fun video footage and we will look at a few here! A running commentary of the finishes and race news can be found here on the Transatlantic Race’s website.
Also from their website is this wrap up which was too thorough to attempt to rewrite. The Chicago based Reichel/Pugh 63 Lucky has been confirmed as the winner of the Transatlantic Race 2015 by the event’s four organizers: the Royal Yacht Squadron, the New York Yacht Club, the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Storm Trysail Club.

This almost closes the latest chapter in what is the world’s oldest trans-oceanic yacht race. In 1866, just 15 years after they famously won off the British what would become the America’s Cup, the New York Yacht Club ran its first Transatlantic Race. Since then it has been held irregularly, the most famous occasion being in 1905 when it was of political consequence in the build up to the First World War. Intended by Kaiser Wilhelm II as a means of illustrating German supremacy at sea at a time when ‘Britannia ruled the waves’, he presented the solid gold ‘Kaiser’s Cup’ as the trophy for which the 1905 event would be raced. Ultimately the Kaiser’s yacht Hamburg was roundly dispatched by American Wilson Marshall’s Atlantic with Charlie Barr, the Russell Coutts of his day, driving the 227’ three-masted schooner from New York to The Lizard in just 12 days, 4 hours, 1 minute and 19 seconds.

The Transatlantic Race 2015 has once again proven that America rules the waves, with Chicagoan Bryon Ehrhart’s Lucky claiming the overall victory under IRC along with a Rolex timepiece. Jim Clark and Kristy Hinze-Clark’s 100’ maxi Comanche recorded the fastest monohull crossing in 7 days 11 hours and 35 minutes (outside of the course record of 6 days 22 hours 8 minutes and 2 seconds set by George David’s Rambler 100 in 2011), and Lloyd Thornburg’s MOD70 trimaran Phaedo³ the fastest multihull in a time of 7 days 2 hours and 4 minutes.

Towards the end of the race Phaedo³, at one point, recorded a peak speed of 41.2 knots when navigator Miles Seddon was driving. As Thornburg recounted: “The sea opened up before him. It was the biggest wave you have ever seen and we were pointing down it!” But it was the consistently big daily runs that were most impressive – four days at 610 miles/day and this was despite a generally short wavelength that required them to stack everything hard aft and have appendages and rig raked back to the maximum setting.
Matt Brooks and his team aboard the classic S&S, Dorade arrived in Cowes after finishing the 2015 Transatlantic Race. The team shaved over a day off Rod and Olin Stephen’s 1931 time in the race, covering 3,220 nautical miles in 14 days, 22 hours, 55 minutes and 57 seconds.
Dorade,Finishing the Transatlantic Race 2015, Photo Credit: Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Dorade,Finishing the Transatlantic Race 2015, Photo Credit: Paul Wyeth/pwpictures.com

Here are some videos from a few of the finishers. It’s been fun tracking the fleet and impressive to watch these teams prepare, get out there and of course to finish with little or no damage or drama. Kudos to Lucky for the overall win, to Comanche for the new speed record and to Dorade for another great trip across the big pond! Onward for many to more ocean racing – like the crew of Phaedo3 who is heading to the west coast for the TransPac!