pyi vendee ad


west system fp banner ad 1 15

diab big

Posts Tagged ‘alex thomson’

Article Separator

We couldn’t be more gutted for Alex Thomson and the UK-based Hugo Boss team after the world’s best known English-speaking ocean racer crashed headlong into the rocks on Guadeloupe Island at nearly 20 knots.  Thomson was able to motor his smashed Open 60 off the island, finishing the Route Du Rhum first-in-class a day later, though the 24-hour penalty he copped (for firing up the motor) from the International Jury drops him well out of first place.  Alex was half a day away from winning his first-ever Route Du Rhum  – the most prestigious race in the entire Open 60 world after the Vendee Globe – when, according to the above post-race interview, a sleeping Alex’s proximity alarms failed and only sideways reality and the sound of crunching, smashing carbon woke the Brit.

Just a couple of days earlier and in a commanding, 230-NM lead over the Open 60 fleet, Thomson ironically told the fans in a video interview that he just needed to avoid making mistakes.  He then went and made the most dangerous mistake of all – taking a nap surrounded by rocky bits of land.  As the world’s most important solo sprint race, the RdR has seen dozens of crashes due to sleep deprivation over the years, and it won’t stop anytime soon.  And while it’s a bummer to see the current VPLP/Verdier Hugo Boss take a hit like this to the foil and hull, the team thinks it will be able to repair the boat and continue the campaign to sell what is clearly one of the fastest Open 60s on the planet.  If you’ve been eyeing the sexy black beast, maybe it’s time to put in a lowball offer?

The english-language portion of the RdR arrivals video including Alex’s interview is above, and it should start automatically at around 8:30.  Rewind to beginning for the French portion.  The thread is humming with info about the race, the penalty, and the various other collisions and capsizes on the course.  Go there.

Here’s a translation of top sailors’ thoughts regarding the grounding and penalty (from a Ouest-France piece, with thanks to SA’er Bebmoumoute for the translation):

Alain Gautier

Whoever laughs at Alex aboutt he situation doesn’t understand anything about sailing! It is very sad, even stupid. But you have to understand, after 12 day’s racing, it is very hard on the body. Did he fall asleep on purpose or not? When you are that tired, you don’t control anything: you can sit at the chart table et fall asleep in a fraction of a second. Alarms? If he didn’t chose to fall alseep, he didn’t put them on. We all did it anyway, it buzzes, you press the button to stop it, and just close your eyes for 10 seconds…

It is quite common in Figaro. We’ll have to wait for the jury decisions, but Paul and Yann have had a great race as well, wherever they finish. Yann impressed me! He fell in a wind hole at Cap Finisterre, didn’t have any luck in the low pressure, and since then he pushed really really hard, very impressive! I am a bit more surprised about Vincent. His broken wind mode on his autopilot doesn’t justify everything for me, I bet there are more problems. Even in compass mode, he should have been able to go faster.

Jean Le Cam

An alarm? You can have all the alrms you want, sometimes they won’t wake you up when you are that exhausted. If the pilot what in wind mode, the boat just followed the wind. It happened to Joyon after his round the world record – same thing. He ended up int he rock in North Finistere. I once had to fend off rocks under my Figaro. My pilot was in wind mode, and we ended up in rock mode!

Aaprt from that, well done to Tripon, 3rd on the line. Congrats! Beautiful victory. And what Paul and Yann are doing, it is also great. Yann was 50 nm behind at Cap Finisterre. Since, he pushed so hard, what a nice job he did! I guess he is still 100%. I know him: I raced halfway round the globe with him. He never lets go, he is a great competitor. Whether he is solo or not, he is always thinking about everything to stay at the front. Hell of a job Yann!

Yves Le Cornec

I think Alex kind of let go when approaching Guadeloupe, with his 180 nm lead. When you finish that race, you are proprely fried. I remember in 1990, getting closer to the finish, I was told about Florence Arthaud’s victory, I was really happy for her and I stopped thinking about the race for a bit. My 20/30 min naps turned into a 4 hour one, despite all the alarms! There is a limit when you so tired and you just stay awake due to stress. I think Alex slept deeply and for a long time. He must have gone down for 30 minutes and didn’t wake up.

Non-sailors will say that it is unbelievable to make such a big mistake and still possibly win! It is not that crazy. It was a tough race on tough boats. He gave 100% from the start and built fatigue. I think he is exhausted! It is not the same rythm on a Vendee Globe or Route du Rhum. When ou know what Route du Rhum is like, it is understandable. I can only imagine what a nightmare it’s been. What a way to wake up! Hit the cliff at 19 knots in the dark and wake up in the middle of the rocks, mayhem! He mustn’t have known if he was dreaming or if it was reality! You can’t wish that happening to your worst enemy. I have been there, it is a big cliff!  He was lucky to get away, he could easily have lost his boat, ehich would have been really sad. DSQ? I leave this to the jury, but in my opinion he still deserves to win! It could be a 10 hour penalty. And for Paul, Yann or Vincent, winning like that is never satisfactory. In the 1984 OSTAR, Yvon wins when Philou was the first over the line. What a sad story, none of them really won at the end.

Bernard Gallay

Alex had a great race, it is really sad it is ending up like that. For me, the only opposition for him was Charal, but the boat was too recent.

DSQ? I don’t know. I didn’t really give it much thought, but for me, he can’t win. He would never has gone off the rocks without using his engine. I can’t see how you can grant him the victory in these conditions. It is complicated and could lead to strange things in the future. An english jury would’nt even think about it… unless if the other ones are 3 days behind… and even though… It is a complicated story! It is difficult to give him a time penalty, with no engine,he would have been DNF! I am not part of the jury though…



November 16th, 2018 by admin

Article Separator

Given that this $2M, 3100-horsepower branding exercise/penis extension doesn’t even use Mercedes engines, I guess it’s…nothing? How long til the concept car, the boat, and Alex Thomson’s Benz-sponsored Open 60 do their photo shoot together?  Might be silly, but still sexy as…

Image credit Cigarette Racing.  Thoughts?


February 17th, 2018 by admin

Article Separator

With both foils extended and the Open 60 getting almost entirely airborne as she gets healthily into the 30+ knot range, Alex Thomson Hugo Boss looks as much like a huge bird as she does an oceangoing yacht.  Hitting a top speed of nearly 34 knots on this reach with never a hint of nosediving, this vid is a great example of the conditions where so-called ‘Dali foils’ absolutely destroy a non-foiler setup.  The video is an instant classic; a great antidote for those who are already tired of the VO65’s somewhat more ponderous ways, and the shoot’s location makes us think that perhaps the Hugo Boss organization has another ‘walk’ coming?

November 26th, 2017 by admin

Article Separator

Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 1.12.51 PMBig Pimpin’

What do the Vendee Globe champion, the Volvo Ocean Race winner and the solo mono 24 distance record holder all have in common? They all trust one company to keep them warm and dry wherever the hell on the globe they find themselves.

Armel Le Cle’ach and his entire Banque Populaire team stood out amongst the throng in the Vendee start village with their smart and sexy shoreside Musto gear, while Armel showed just how smart he is offshore with a brilliant, textbook race that let him finish some unfinished business.   Congratulations to both Armel and Alex and to Musto – pwning offshore for generations. Learn more at Musto’s site.

January 20th, 2017 by admin

Article Separator

vendee winner

UPDATE: French sailor Armel Le Cléac’h has today won the Vendée Globe, setting a new record for the solo non-stop round the world race in the process. Le Cléac’h, 39, from Brittany, crossed the finish line of the race in Les Sables d’Olonne, France, at 1537hrs UTC after 74 days, 3 hours, 35 minutes and 46 seconds at sea on his 60ft racing yacht Banque Populaire VIII.

His time sets a new record for the race, beating the previous record of 78 days 2 hours 16 minutes set by French sailor Francois Gabart in the 2012-13 edition by 3 days, 22 hours and 41 minutes. Le Cléac’h, the runner-up in the 2008-09 and 2012-13 editions of the Vendée Globe, covered 24,499.52 nm at an average speed of 13.77 knots during the race, which began from Les Sables d’Olonne on November 6 last year.

Armel benefitted significantly from the early-race foil breakage of what most believe to be a much faster design in Hugo Boss, but despite Alex Thomson pushing Armel as hard as maybe any human could have, we once again will have to wait another four years for the chance of a non-French winner to emerge from this quintessentially French race.

We continue to be amazed at Thomson’s ability to remain glued to Le Cle’ach’s transom for the better part of 70 days despite the damage to his boat, but Le Cle’ach played the game more as a wise owl than a sneaky jackal, and sailed a masterful covering match race from Cape Town all the way home.

While Armel had all the pressure of the favorite, once again, Alex has proved he belongs in the solo racing Hall of Fame with the performance of a lifetime.  Beating his own 2012 race time by nearly 10 days and setting the Vendee Globe and outright solo monohull 24 hour distance record in yet another edition (only exceeded by four crewed boats in the record books), Thomson really is the only hope for taking the title away from the French – and only if he comes back and gets it right, this time without the bad luck.  Photo © Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / VENDEE GLOBE

Ask Alex and Armel ANYTHING!  We are 99% sure that we’ll be doing audio or video with both these top dogs in the next day or two for the Sailing Anarchy Podcast, and as usual, we like your questions better than our own.  Ask Alex and Armel your own questions in this new thread and we’ll see if we can get them answered.

Join the Vendee thread for the latest chatter.

Title should to the movie adaptation of a classic Forsyth spy thriller.


January 19th, 2017 by admin

Article Separator

screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-1-11-41-pmWe suspect this little nugget is simply yet another example of the mess that is the Vendee Globe’s official English coverage, but maybe – just maybe – there’s more to the lower/thirds title slip up caught by an observant Anarchist watching the 28 Dec “Vendee Live” show on Facebook.

Look carefully under Alex Thomson team member “Neal McDonald” and you’ll note it says “Alex Thomson Racing Volvo Race Skipper”, and we’re not quite sure why.  Did the VG producer simply forget to put Mac’s ‘title’ on another line, or did someone sending over title graphics make a freudian slip because they know too much?  Could it be possible that Alex – and Hugo Boss’s – next big challenge will be a crewed one?  VOR boss Mark Turner and Thomson go way back and there’s precious little going on in IMOCA world for quite some time…and of course, much stranger things have happened.  What do you think?


January 2nd, 2017 by admin

Article Separator

Armel Le Cle’ach rounded Cape Horn on a sunny summer day, once again showing he can do no wrong in this edition of the Vendee Globe.  His 47-day tally from France to the Horn shaves an incredible 5 days off Francois Gabart’s record-destroying benchmark of just four years ago, and with Hugo Boss more or less useless upwind on one tack, it’s all over but the cryin’ for him – and in fact, Jeremie Beyou on the Master of Cock has a real chance of reeling in the unlucky Thomson.

Stephane LeDiraison got the worst of recent bad luck, and he blames his dismasting quite specifically on a shattered Harken runner block.  Here’s some of his words as translated by SA’er Laurent:

It is middle of the night, there is 6 Beaufort, The sea state is already well-developed; I am ahead of a cold front. The boat is doing about 16-17 knots.  The boat speeds up in a gust, and I hear something like a gun shot. A very violent noise, something very sudden, very short, very loud.

I run outside, and when I turn around and look forward, I realize that…the mast is gone.  Almost nothing is left. There is a 1 meter piece of the mast still tied to the deck and another 4 meter long piece, with shrouds and spreader attempting to punch holes in the deck.  Everything else, the rig and the sails are dragging in the water.

So I go back inside, put on my survival suit, a harness, take with me some spotlights and go back on deck to do a quick assessment, which ends up very dire, of course. Not only the rig is gone, but I have damaged the daggerboards, stanchions are gone…and the rig is threatening to hole the hull.

It takes me several hours to clean up the mess. You have to understand the conditions: breaking waves washing the deck, wind is getting stronger and stronger…Very cold water, all in the middle of the night. It is really not easy to manage…First, I keep the rig and the sails attached to the transom, thinking that I will be able to recover some sails. After several trials, it is obvious that it is impossible to do. It is even dangerous, because the whole rig behaves like a sea anchor, attached to the transom, stopping the boat in the breaking waves. The wind is now 8 Beaufort, the swell is about 5 to 6 meters high, so each breaking wave is crashing in the cockpit, sinking the rear of the boat. It is now puting the boat, and therefore myself in danger. So I decide, heartbroken, to cut off everything and let the rig go.

Watch it all unfold in the thread here.


December 24th, 2016 by admin

Article Separator


The Hugo Boss team’s ‘replacement rudder’ headfake failed to effect a charging Armel Le Cle’ach, but Alex is happily hurtling along towards Cape Horn in the hopes that the Jackal will find some bad luck along the way.  In the meantime, illustrator Francois Denis and our friends at Ino-Rope continue to memorialize this Vendee Globe in cartoons, one of the latest featuring Denis’s take on said spare rudder.

The caption reads “Sailing Anarchy knows the truth!”

Check out more of Denis’s amazing cartoons over here.

December 9th, 2016 by admin

Article Separator

Clean Report

Finally, we get the answer to the all-consuming question of whether or not Hugo Boss is carrying a spare foil.  If so, how will he fit it and when?  If not, how will he deal with ‘ol’ stumpy’? How does Alex feel about getting passed by Armel Le Cle’ach for the lead (while we speak to him live)?  How did he hold him off for so long?  All that and much more in this half hour more worth of questions from the Anarchists and Clean. It’s Hugo Boss skipper Alex Thomson, live from the Southern Ocean!

EDIT: We’ve brought up Alex’s audio for those of you who had issues with the Facebook Live vid or those who just can’t stand Clean’s face – you can listen in loud stereo over here.

Title shout to the bubblegum punk that is Eve6.



November 27th, 2016 by admin

Article Separator

Our own Mr. Clean and RailMeat get bylines in an excellent short vid that gives you a real taste of the Vendee Globe from the perspective of New York Times sailing editor Chris Museler.  Watch it in the original spot here.

November 26th, 2016 by admin