Welsh sailor Alex Thomson, who has strong links with Cork Harbour, has announced the completion of the new racing yacht, which it hopes will lead the team to victory in the 2020-21 Vendee Globe round-the-world race.
For five formative years of his childhood, Thomson lived in the Crosshaven area and the young Alex saw his first sailing off Weavers Point but now the 45-year-old is preparing for the race of his life.
The IMOCA boat, HUGO BOSS, is the product of more than two years of painstaking design and build work undertaken by the ocean racing team, together with more than 100 naval architects, engineers and boat builders.
Designed in partnership by the Alex Thomson Racing technical team - led by Design Manager Pete Hobson - and French naval architects VPLP, the revolutionary new boat was built in Hampshire, England, close to the ocean racing team's home base of Gosport.
Spearheaded by world-renowned British boat builder Jason Carrington, the build itself began back in June 2018 and has involved more than 50,000 hours of specialist construction.
HUGO BOSS - the name carried by all six of the team's previous IMOCA boats - is a purpose-built 60ft long carbon fibre yacht, weighing 7.6 tonnes and featuring state-of-the-art hydrofoils. The boat's deck and coach roof, meanwhile, feature solar panelling, an addition which the team hopes will allow it to achieve its ambition of sailing around the world without the use of fossil fuels.
The distinctive black hull is in stark contrast to accents of fluorescent pink which can be seen across the boat's coach roof, keel and rudder. Devised by Industrial Designer Karim Rashid - the man behind the brand identity of the boat - the bespoke fluro tone is a first for the IMOCA class.
Thomson and his team will now undertake a period of on-water commissioning and testing before the new HUGO BOSS is officially launched and christened in September. From there, the boat will debut in the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre race in October 2019 before Thomson undertakes his first solo race in the New York to Vendee in June 2020, the penultimate race in the IMOCA calendar before the Vendee Globe itself in November 2020.