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#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

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

After unsuccessfully attempting a repair for several hours at sea, Transat Jacques Vabre competitors and frequent Irish visitors Alex Thomson and Guillermo Altadill onboard HUGO BOSS have made a partial repair but it will not allow the duo to cross the Atlantic so the difficult decision to proceed to Vigo, Spain has been made.

The current sea state and weather forecast have not aided the situation onboard.

The technical team is currently en route to Vigo, Spain, to join the crew and try to complete repairs.

Technical Director Ross Daniel explains; 'It is disappointing that the current sea state and approaching weather system have forced us to return to land to make the repair. But it is early days in our training programme as we understand the new boat and work towards the start of the Vendee Globe 2016. We will do everything we can to try and return to the Transat Jacques Vabre as soon as possible.'

Published in Offshore
Tagged under

#Open60 - There was plenty of action on the water in and around Cork Harbour this afternoon (Sunday 12 July) as the Atlantic Youth Trust's IMOCA 60 Kilcullen Voyager took on the Alex Thomson-skippered Hugo Boss in a special challenge race as part of this weekend's SeaFest events.

Indeed, it's not every day Cork Harbour plays host to not one, but two of the world's highest performing ocean racing yachts - particularly one with a record-breaking offshore pedigree, and the other sailing with youth sail trainees taking up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get on-deck experience at sailing's pinnacle.

Despite the relative lack of experience on the Irish boat, they certainly gave Thomson and crew a run for their money today, closing a significant gap to cross the finish line only a minute or so behind the professionals.

Published in Offshore

#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

#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

#barcelonaworldrace – 14 days into the race and 2 race records broken, Alex & Pepe were making brilliant progress in the Barcelona World race until HUGO BOSS lost their rig yesterday evening at 21.02 GMT, 370 nautical miles off the coast of Brazil.

Alex Thomson, a frequent visitor to Ireland, and Pepe Ribes, skippers of the IMOCA 60 HUGO BOSS, which was leading the Barcelona World Race, this evening lost their mast overboard at 21.02 GMT. The yacht was reaching in moderate conditions when there is reported to have been a rigging failure and the mast fell over.

Briton Thomson, 40, and Spaniard Ribes, 43 will now cease racing in the Barcelona World Race 2014 -2015. The skippers and the shore team are currently evaluating how to get the boat to the nearest landfall, which is likely to be Salvador de Bahia in Brazil which is a significant distance from the boat's current position.

Below posted only yesterday on facebook hours before the dismasting, a look back at the 2nd week of The Barcelona World Race onboard HUGO BOSS as Alex & Pepe hold onto their lead over the rest of the fleet: 

 

 

Published in Offshore

#bwr_2014 – In the Barcelona World Race British entry Hugo Boss have consolidated over the course of last night, gybing back from their position in the east of the pack, to line up in the front of their rivals with a lead cut to just over 11 miles this morning. As well as their desire not to pin themselves out to the west, the trade winds were a little quieter for them so close to the African coast, and so the move back to the west made sense.

Cheminées Pooujoulat have been quick through the night and are back up to third at about eight miles up on GAES Centros Auditivos. Hugo Boss gybed just in front of Neutrogena which is now second.
The east-west separation between Hugo Boss' course and that of GAES Centros Auditivos is 30 miles and Anna Corbella and Gérard Marin are slightly faster than Alex Thomson and Pepe Ribes, at just on 17.8kts.

The fast pace should continue for the coming days, probably until Friday. The next strategic decision will be at the Cape Verde islands tomorrow when they must decide how to pass this island group. To he west there is slightly more wind on the forecast, but the same situation as the Canary Island holds true again, but there will be up to 30kts of NE'ly trades to ensure sailing will be fast and furious.

The motorway south is well and truly working for the fleet. The leaders are a likely to gybe west again this evening as the breeze appears lighter close to the Mauritania coast. But up ahead the Doldrums do not look too active at all and a reasonably easy passage through to the Equator does seem likely, the overall race pace very similar to the 2010-2011 edition.

Once again conditions through the night will have been excellent with the full moon and little or no cloud cover, temperatures are very pleasant.

One Planet One Ocean remain in good wind pressure on their course, but they too will have to adjust to the west and when they settle on their course south then the speed differential between their older boat and the newer generations will start to really show and they might expect to lose 40-50 miles a day. Correspondingly We Are Water can start to see steady gains on their nearest rivals once they are on the fast route south.
Spirit of Hungary had some good, faster sailing through the night but it will only really start to get into the stronger trade winds today, a chance to enjoy the speed potential of their newest IMOCA 60.

Published in Offshore
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