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Displaying items by tag: Alex Thomson

Having established himself as a daredevil of the sport of sailing, this latest stunt involves frequent Cork Harbour visitor Alex Thomson, on a kiteboard, chasing his IMOCA open 60 HUGO BOSS boat upwind and attaching himself via a rope to the top of the boat’s mast. The solo skipper then utilises the speed of the race boat to propel himself 280ft into the air, sending him surfing above the vast yacht. When Thomson reaches the peak of his flight, he detaches himself from the boat and expertly controls his descent back down, landing the kiteboard on the water in true Alex Thomson style, all whilst wearing a stylish BOSS suit.

Thomson is captured during the feat in a series of remarkable still images, as he kitesurfs more than twice the height of his HUGO BOSS mast, a height equivalent to a 25–story building.

With a passion for pushing himself to the limit – and having previously executed two other death-defying challenges out on the water - solo skipper Thomson was keen to complete the trilogy of stunts.

The Skywalk was carried out by Alex Thomson Racing, in partnership with sponsors HUGO BOSS and Mercedes-Benz. In total, 35 people were involved in the planning, co-ordination and execution of the stunt, including Alex Thomson Racing Operations Manager Ross Daniel, professional kite-surfer Susie Mai and kite-surfing coach Ray Kasper.

Having safely returned to dry land Thomson commented: “The previous two stunts that we carried out - The Mastwalk and The Keelwalk - were so successful that, as a team, we just knew we couldn’t stop there. We were all in agreement; we wanted to do something even bigger and better.

“I’ve always had a love for all things wind-powered so naturally a stunt which involved kite surfing was the next step. The idea of combining two of my favourite sports and executing something which, to our knowledge, had never been done before was really exciting.

“The team and I have been planning the stunt for a long time. There were lots of things that could have gone wrong. Perhaps most concerning for the team; was the prospect of an uncontrolled descent, causing me to come back down too fast. Water can be as hard as concrete if hit with enough velocity, so this was one of the most dangerous aspects of the stunt. But I had a brilliant team around me and, with their help; we managed to pull it off.”

“What’s next? Who knows?”

This is the third daring stunt to be unveiled by the 41-year-old yachtsman and his team. Videos of The Keelwalk – a challenge which involved Thomson walking along the orange keel of his racing yacht, whilst heeled over and sailing at high speed – and The Mastwalk – which saw the skipper climb the 30 metre mast of HUGO BOSS and dive from the very top into the water – have now been viewed by more than 4.5m people around the world.

Thomson will compete in the pinnacle event of the Ocean Masters race calendar – the Vendée Globe - later this year, a race which begins on November 6th. The non-stop, solo, unassisted, round the world race takes approximately 80 days to complete. In the last edition of the race, back in 2013, Thomson finished in third place. This time around he is determined to be the first Brit to win the prestigious title.

Published in Solo Sailing

#AlexThomson - A remains of a yacht abandoned by sailing superstar Alex Thomson a decade ago have been discovered on a remote stretch of South American coastline.

According to Yachting & Boating World, the Hugo Boss skipper was forced to abandon the IMOCA 60 after a broken keel caused a capsize just five weeks into the first leg of the 2006-2007 Velux 5 Oceans offshore race.

But a decade on, Rolex Enterprise Award winner Cristian Donoso was kayaking in the Patagonia region of southern Chile recently when he found what remains of the Hugo Boss hull, located for the first time after it was set adrift in the Southern Ocean.

It's thought that the yacht travelled around 20,000km from the spot off South Africa where Thomson and crew were rescued by fellow Velux racer Mike Golding – moving east across the Indian and Pacific Oceans – to the shoreline at Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, north-west of South America's most southern city Punta Arenas.

Thomson, a regular visitor to Ireland whose replacement Hugo Boss Open 60 stopped off at Cork Harbour in April 2014, is now making arrangements for the boat's retrieval. YBW has more on the story HERE.

Published in Offshore

With just nine months to go until the Vendee Globe begins, Alex Thomson Racing has unveiled the first in a twelve part series, documenting Thomson's preparations and progress ahead of the race.

#RoadtoVendee will bring viewers closer than ever before to Thomson, not only as a professional yachtsman but as a brand ambassador, husband, father and loyal team member.

Episode one, unveiled today, sets the scene as the Alex Thomson Racing team prepare for the start of the Ocean Masters Vendee Globe. It features a unique insight from the legendary Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Managing Director of Alex Thomson Racing, Stewart Hosford who hails from Cork Harbour. In 1969 Sir Robin Knox-Johnston became a hero for being the first man to perform a single-handed, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe.

Published in Vendee Globe
Tagged under

British sailor Alex Thomson and his co-skipper Guillermo Altadill are looking towards the 2016 Vendee Globe after an extraordinary sequence of events ended their participation in the Transat Jacques Vabre this weekend. The pair were rescued by the Spanish coastguard on Saturday afternoon after a rogue wave caught the new HUGO BOSS while the yacht was in a hove to position. The boat, which sustained damage to its rig in addition to taking on water while inverted, was later successfully brought to the dock in A Coruna, Spain, after a swift response from the Alex Thomson Racing Team.

The weather conditions in the first few days saw wind speeds in excess of 50 knots (75 km/h) and waves up to 10 metres high. Alex and Guillermo made the decision to take the safest route, passing the weather system to the south. Whilst travelling south west the yacht incurred some structural damage and the skippers took the decision to head for A Coruna, Spain 120 miles away.

The yacht was hove to, whilst Alex and Guillermo waited for the next weather window allowing them to proceed to port. Unexpectedly a rogue wave caught the racing yacht causing the yacht to turn upside down. Alex and Guillermo managed to close the hatches and secure the situation whilst inverted. Alex immediately hit the keel button, bringing the yacht back upright. They then alerted the rescue services and technical team of an emergency situation. The yacht had taken onboard a substantial amount of water and the rig had sustained damage requiring the skippers to leave the yacht.

Alex Thomson explains “I have never experienced anything like it. I was asleep and woke up to a boat upside down rapidly filling with water. Guillermo and I responded together as a team to the difficult situation and now that my boat’s back safely we can focus on our Vendee Globe campaign as a team. We have overcome problems before and I am as determined as ever to succeed.”

Always at the forefront of innovation, the team are pushing the boundaries with an advanced new boat design and know that race conditions provide the ultimate test.

Alex and Guillermo were aiming for a podium finish in the Transat Jacques Vabre, and remain determined to succeed in the Vendee Globe. They will now focus their energy on further improving the yacht and honing its competitive edge.

CEO of Alex Thomson Racing, Stewart Hosford, explained; “We are delighted to have the boat back on the dock and I am grateful to all of our team and the coastguard for their hard work and support. The team will now be working hard to assess and resolve the issues as quickly as possible so that we can resume our training programme. We are as determined as ever to get the boat back sailing and in race condition and continue to focus on the Vendee Globe.”

Published in Offshore

The dramatic scene as Hugo Boss was rescued yesterday is captured by Spanish Coastguard helicopter.

Alex Thomson and Guillermo Altadill are now back on land after a successful rescue from the Spanish coast guard.

The Alex Thomson Racing Team is now heading back out to sea to bring HUGO BOSS safely ashore.

The skippers had made a second repair and were hove to (this is where the yacht is stationary and comfortably sits head to wind). The reason for slowing the racing yacht was to prevent any unnecessary damage. Whilst waiting for the weather to clear a rogue wave caught HUGO BOSS causing the yacht to turn upside down. Alex and Guillermo managed to close the hatches and secure the situation whilst inverted.

Alex immediately hit the keel button, bringing the IMOCA back upright.

They then alerted the rescue services and technical team of an emergency situation. The yacht had taken onboard a substantial amount of water and the rig had sustained damage requiring the skippers to leave the yacht.

Alex Thomson explains ‘It was an incredibly unusual event and we need to understand why it happened. It was a rogue wave, but we should not have inverted the way that we did. I am now going to go with the technical team and ensure a successful recovery of our new racing yacht.’

Published in Offshore
Tagged under

Alex Thomson and Guillermo Altadill, skippers of yacht HUGO BOSS in the Transat Jacques Vabre set off their emergency beacon this afternoon at 13.25UT. The Spanish Coastguard was informed and sent a rescue helicopter to their location 82 nautical miles from the Spanish coast. Both Alex and Guillermo were rescued from the location by helicopter and are on their way back to land. See rescue video here.

As Afloat.ie reported earlier this week, HUGO BOSS incurred some structural damage earlier this week forcing Alex and Guillermo to stop racing. The Skippers had made a repair and were on route to A Coruna where the technical team were waiting to meet them. After sailing for a period of 36 hours in high seas and strong winds, the structure of the boat deteriorated further and the boat started to take on water and sink. The technical team are in A Coruna, Spain awaiting further information from the coast guard.

In October Thomson and the brand new Hugo Boss made a pit stop in Cork Harbour because of  'small issues with the keel ram' but there is no information if this issue is in any way connected with today's evacuation.

Managing Director Stewart Hosford expresses ‘Our first concern is with Alex and Guillermo and when they are safely on the ground we will address the situation with our IMOCA 60 and begin the salvage process. We are grateful for the swift response from the rescue services in this situation.’

Published in Offshore

British solo sailor Alex Thomson was back in Irish waters yesterday when he returned to James O'Brien's Cork Harbour Marina for a pit stop on his new IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss yacht.

Looking for all the world like a prop from the latest Batman movie, the new Hugo Boss 'Bat Boat' came out the shed this month after a two year process of design. With a black deck and black hull, this HUGO BOSS is the first ever all black yacht for skipper Thomson.

Pulling into the Irish south coast, Thomson said there were 'small issues with the keel ram'.

The VPLP/Verdier and Alex Thomson Racing Team designed yacht has a honeycomb pattern on the deck, designed by industrial artist Konstantin.

See below for the facebook video of initial keel tests in Gosport, it's worth a look...

HUGO BOSS completes the 180 righting test, this is an important moment before Alex and Guillermo can begin sail testing and training. Alex first needs to prove that the hatch to the stern of the yacht is accessible whilst upside down and that he can right her using the Keel. This is worth a watch, enjoy!#BackToBlack #SailSurviveSucceed #OceanMasters

Posted by Alex Thomson Racing on Wednesday, 23 September 2015
Published in Cork Harbour
Tagged under

#mastwalk – The latest stunt created by Alex Thomson Racing saw the single handed skipper take a dramatic dive from the tip of the HUGO BOSS mast. The #MastWalk has been a viral sensation with his channel boasting over a million views in a matter of days. The stunt required organisation and attention to detail. Alex Thomson Racing had to modify the vessel to achieve this magnificent stunt. Hazards and dangers with completing the footage required Alex Thomson and his team to plan, train and of course find the perfect conditions. The crew worked together to ensure a global media sensation. The helmsman had little steerage as the tip of the rudder skimmed the surface of the sea.

The yacht HUGO BOSS had to remain heeled over at 60 degrees to ensure Alex could walk the 30 metre mast and dive from great height, with this amazing racing machine on the edge of broaching. Philip Burghaus Marketing Manager from HUGO BOSS said "We did not expect to win this award but as a major sponsor of sailing, we believe sailing as a sport provides outstanding sponsorship value as demonstrated tonight" Alex Thomson Racing achieved the #MastWalk viral sensation working alongside the media production company WING and their PR agency PHA media boasting over 1.5 million views in a matter of days.

Working alongside HUGO BOSS Alex Thomson Racing produced a unique and innovative way to create an award winning Digital PR campgain.

Published in Solo Sailing

#haulbowline – Marine minister Simon Coveney says there has been no final decision taken on an 'Ocean Yacht Racing Hub' within the Naval Service base at Haulbowline island in Cork Harbour.

In this morning's Irish Times newspaper, marine correspondent Lorna Siggins writes that a British yacht racing consultancy has met Government agencies as part of a 'grand plan' for haulbowline island, site of a former steelworks site. The plan for the yacht base was first mooted by British solo racer Alex Thomson when he called into to Cork Harbour for repairs last April before heading across the Atlantic Ocean.

As Afloat.ie reported last October, Thomson, together with his shore manager Stuart Hosford, a Cork native, returned to the harbour and gave a public lecture about his solo sailing success that also included comment about the potential to develop the harbour site. The visit was part of an 'Innovation Week' in Cork where Cork Institute of Technology, the Irish Naval Service and University College Cork promoted the first Imerc Innovation Week.

Interest in the Haulbowline site focuses on the substantial graving dock where large yachts measuring up to over 100–foot in length or more could be lifted in an out of the water in a deep water environment with convenient access to the Atlantic. 

Haulbowline has been making headlines for years because of cancer-causing residue, left over from the Irish Steel plant that once occupied the land. It has been confirmed that a cache of 500,000 tonnes of slag and toxic waste material were buried at the former steelworks. Afloat reported on the hot site in the harbour in 2011.

More in the Irish Times on the Yacht Hub story here.

Published in Cork Harbour

#BarcelonaWorldRace - "One of the most painful experiences of my sporting life" is how Alex Thomson describes the dismasting incident on the IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss that took him and Alex Pepe out of the Barcelona World Race.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the pair were in the lead of the global two-man-crew offshore challenge when they lost their rig on Wednesday evening (14 January) some 370 nautical miles off the Brazil coast.

Speaking from the South Atlantic yesterday (15 January) en route to Salvador, Brazil, Thomson outlined exactly what happened on board their monohull.

“At about 9pm Pepe and I were doing a sail change in 18 knots of wind. As we dropped one of our headsails, the furler broke and flew into the air.

"For a few seconds the mast hovered, before falling backwards and into the water. Pepe reacted quickly and we cut the rest away, losing the mast, boom and rigging.

"Of course we are devastated and disappointed. As offshore ocean racing sailors this is a peril of our sport, but it is still painful."

Though the pair are now out of the race, their focus is entirely on attempting to "assess and analyse the problem and learn from this, but we will remain ever determined and resilient to come back stronger and succeed.”

See more on this story at the Alex Thomson Racing website HERE.

Published in Offshore
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