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Posts Tagged ‘alex thomson’

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screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-2-16-48-pmOur continued coverage of the Vendee Globe is brought to you by Musto, Torqeedo, Doyle Sails New Zealand, And Ocean Planet Energy.

With Vincent Riou limping off to safety after cracking his keel, Seb Josse losing hours to repair UFO-damaged rudder linkage last night, and Alex Thomson somehow holding on to a 100+ mile lead with just a stub of a starboard foil, it’s clear that the biggest hurdle to winning the 2016 Vendee Globe may very well be floating – or swimming – in the water.  With PRB down it’s also clear that it ain’t just a foil thing, and don’t forget the famous secrecy of some teams; we may only be hearing a portion of the actual damage reports.

With Thomson seeming to easily hold off Banque Populaire at sustained speeds of 20+ knots, we asked his team for a photo of the Hugo Boss damage to address some of the speculation that Alex is playing head games with other teams and that there was no collision.  We were told there were no pics yet because the stump is under water and spray at 20 knots, and said we’d all see pics and video of Thomson’s foilectomy when the weather moderated.  We’ve also just learned exclusively that the non-French ocean racing world’s biggest hope may not be over at all, thanks to a spare starboard foil aboard the Boss!  Alex will attempt to cut away and jettison the remaining stub and insert the spare downward from the deck openings ; it is a very tricky operation but they’ve practiced it at least once, and it’s the reason for their unique deck/foil exit configuration.

The reality of the situation is dramatic enough, but we loved SA’er ‘nedev’s explanation of Thomson’s problem way more.

To be honest, structural failure and hitting stuff in the open ocean both seem quite unlikely to me… After all, the engineers know what they are doing right? And in that vast ocean, what is the chance to hit a teeny tiny floating object?

If you ask me, I think the most likely thing that has happened is that aliens visited AT and try to abduct him and perform scientific experiments on him. In his blind panic, AT ripped off his own foil with his bare hands and used it as a blade to fight off the extraterrestrial intruders. Stunned by this display of will power and strength, the aliens didn’t know what to do and decided that there would probably be easier test subjects to be found elsewhere on this weird planet. What they didn’t know was that during their stay on the big black boat, one of the landing lines of the UFO got wrapped around the rudder. So when they tried to fly away, the rudder got pulled up and the UFO got destabilised mid flight, causing it to crash into the ocean and sink into the depths.

So I think we should all be grateful for Alex’s heroic actions, saving humanity from the alien invasion. Quite possibly, humanity would have been wiped off the planet if AT hadn’t sacrificed his own foil to save us all!

Talk about these discoveries and more in the Vendee Globe thread.

 

November 23rd, 2016 by admin

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With jagged bits falling off his now-wrecked starboard side foil, Alex Thomson has tapped into his inner Brit, keeping the proverbial ‘stiff-upper lip’ despite watching his huge 120NM+ lead erode sched by sched.  How long can he hold the charging Armel and Seb off?  It all depends on the wind direction, and the closer they charge toward the Antarctic Exclusion Zone, the less choices Alex will have to make.

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-7-28-41-amWestern France is collectively breathing a huge sigh of relief to see the rosbif’s game-changing race begin to falter, but they shouldn’t count their Maitre Coq before it hatches; this edition of the Vendee has been noteable not only for the dominance of Old England, but for the incredibly lack of attrition up to this point.  It won’t last, and if one foiling 60 can wreck a foil, they all can…

Meanwhile, we’re not sure who made it, but props to the Anarchist who brought the beautiful Windyty streamlines to the Vendee Globe tracking data to produce this ‘world’s best’ tracker for the VG.  Check that link here, go over here for a full-fleet performance graphing option, and of course wade into the thread if you love the Vendee.

 

November 21st, 2016 by admin

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Alex Thomson’s trilogy of sailing stunts – the mast walk, the keel walk, and the sky walk – have succeeded beyond all expectations, but the next generation is even better at this shit.  Check out young Stan Thuret and his extremely creative Frozen Kite Walk.  If you want a little of the real deal, here’s a Facebook Live Q&A that Alex did a few minutes ago from the balcony next to our desk…

 

November 4th, 2016 by admin

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The haters will whinge at yet another Alex Thomson/Hugo Boss Sailing stunt while the marketing wonks will nod in admiration at the latest in the now trilogy of Thomson’s ‘walks’, but when we first heard AT had another stunt in the chamber after the Keelwalk and Mastwalk, we winced a little in fear.  I mean, would anyone really be surprised if Alex put on a vintage leather biker jacket and jumped an actual shark?

So with full expectation of a shark jumping moment, we sat back with quickened pulse and watched an earlier version of the video above.  And motherf^&ker – they did it again!

They’re calling it the Skywalk, and whether or not you think it somehow sullies the honor of your ‘sport’, you have to admit – it’s a seriously badass bit of stuntery and they make it look damned good.  There’s a reason these pieces work so well; they are slick, ballsy, and push the envelope a little further each time, in a sport that seems made for extreme stunts – what other athletes carry around a hundred foot carbon fiber stunt pole? Alex’s enthusiasm doing his own stunts shines through and a small fortune spent on production make the new Skywalk pop and crackle; if only Hugo Boss’s coming Vendee Globe qualification run and transatlantic race are as successful…

Pics and more behind the scenes tomfoolery at Merc.

 

March 14th, 2016 by admin

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A fascinating story from a great storyteller; Alex Thomson tells us the why, the how, and way, way more about the Hugo Boss damage, dismasting, rescue, and recovery.  You won’t wanna miss this classic SA Skype ‘Innerview’, and you can see the written index of the chat here and add your thoughts or arguments here.

 

November 4th, 2015 by admin

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This shot of the outside of Hugo Boss’s hull shows the impact that broke the ribs of Alex Thomson’s brand-new Open 60; the first in a series of cascading failures that led to their near-sinking in the Bay of Biscay a few days ago.  Alex is 99.9% sure this presumed collision was the root cause of the rest of the issues,  but that’s not the most surprising thing we learned in our Skype interview with him this afternoon.  You’ll have to tune back in to this page for the rest of the story early tomorrow, exclusively on Sailing Anarchy.  It’s a good one!  We’re also pleased to report that VPLP and Verdier seem to be completely on top of it, with their top guys working hand in hand with all the teams with issues.  Stand by for more.

TJV thread here.  Boss Sinking thread here.

November 3rd, 2015 by admin

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UPDATE: BOSS IS BACK ON THE DOCK!

We’ll have more information directly from co-skipper Alex Thomson as soon as he has had some rest.

We spoke to  exhausted ATR Managing Director Stew Hosford a few minutes ago as he boarded a plane for Vigo, Spain, and he was glad to have the chance to update Alex and Guillermo’s fans around the world.  Here’s the exclusive report on what happened and what’s coming up from Mr. Clean.

1) As you may have already read in their early-morning statement, Alex and Guillermo were on their way back to port after a temporary fix of several broken ribs – the same problem noted by at least two new other VPLP/Verdier boats – when they were rolled and dismasted.

2) In fact they’d stopped the boat and were hove to on port during the little unforecasted bomb of a depression that developed off the NW coast of Spain two days ago.  Alex was asleep down below and Guillermo was on watch when a massive breaker capsized the boat.

3) From inside the boat, Alex found the canting button and moved the keel to the other side.  The boat snapped back upright, coming up without a rig and with plenty of new damage, including a broken foil.

4) The boat was full of water, the electronics were fried, and it was time to GTFO.

5) On reaching shore, all Alex could tell his technical crew was ‘I’m going to get my boat.”  The team wasted no time chartering an oceangoing tug, and they are already on station about 100 NM to the Northwest of La Coruña with Hugo Boss.

6) The dewatering is going well, the boat will be cleaned up and made as safe as possible today, then towed back to Spain overnight.

As soon as Alex has had a big of sleep and his boat is safe and sound, we’ll have an extensive interview.

Still no statement or word from VPLP or Verdier, who have a very difficult route to negotiate themselves right now.  Between the insurers, race organizers, teams, and the ocean racing community, Vincent and Guillaume have very few options in how they handle this situation if they are to avoid becoming known as the next JuanK.

Check back soon for more info; watch the thread for the latest.

 

November 1st, 2015 by admin

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Sinking, dismasted – basically, fucked!  That’s the Hugo Boss as shot by the Spanish Salvamento Maritimo crew who winched the IMOCA duo to safety.  First look at the boat is a screenshot from the video – complete with random rockin’ soundtrack – of the rescue, shot from the sky.

Jump in the discussion thread here.

 

October 31st, 2015 by admin

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We’re extremely pleased to know Alex and Guillermo are safe ashore in Spain after they could presumably no longer keep up with the water ingress on the sinking Hugo Boss after her abandonment of the Transat Jacques Vabre.  The structure on the new Hugo Boss continues to break down while Alex and Guillermo and the shore team are meeting as we speak to figure out if and how a salvage will happen.

While the 6 new VPLP/Verdier boats are the most complicated and technologically advanced ocean racing monos ever created, there are only a couple of really ‘new’ things about their structure: The foils and cases, which look to have been a major problem with one boat, and the ultra-thin rib-and-skin construction of the hull, which took out another.  It’ll be a little bit before we know which problem started Boss down her cascade of failure, but one thing is for sure: With four out of five new boats broken, at least one of them catastrophically, the designers have a lot to answer for – something we look forward to from the typically pretty straightforward folks at both VPLP and Guillaume Verdier Design.  Note that these boats were built at at least three different facilities…

The fact that the fifth of the new foiling boats is streaking away from the rest of the IMOCA fleet at a ridiculous pace doesn’t really help; a small turn of fate and instead of being on shore, Alex and Guillermo are adrift in a raft.  Or lost forever.

Designers are finally starting to get around to accepting the fact that keels should not be ejectable.  Their next challenge?  Hulls need to be built to last past the first delivery.

Talk in the thread here, and track what remains of the fleet here.

If you haven’t seen our one-hour interview with Alex on the deck of the now-sinking HB, get to it!

 

October 31st, 2015 by admin

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UPDATE: After unsuccessfully attempting a repair for several hours at sea, Alex Thomson and Guillermo Altadill onboard HUGO BOSS have made the difficult decision to proceed to Vigo. This partial repair will not allow the duo to cross the Atlantic serenely.The technical team is currently en route to Vigo, Spain, to join the crew and try to consolidate repairs.More information tomorrow.

With two of the newest VPLP/Verdier foiling 60s already out of the TJV, it comes as no surprise that a third is now on the ropes.  With just a few days of sailing under her keel before the start of the race, Alex Thomson’s Hugo Boss is the newest of all of ’em all, according to Facebook, Alex and Guillermo Altadill will spend the next few hours hove to in the North Atlantic as they dig into unspecified technical issues and try to save their race.  On one hand, the attrition rate of the new boats is a big failure for the teams; on the other hand, reliability is never great at the extreme edges of any development box…especially on the first real outing as they build up to the big dance next year.

Our Senior Editor sat down with Thomson just before the Boss left for France earlier this month to chat about everything Open 60, with questions mostly provided by you Anarchists.  It’s another great chat between Clean and AT, and there’s plenty to listen to as you wait to see if they get back in the race.  You can download the full video from Vimeo here to play later. Track the TJV fleet here.

October 28th, 2015 by admin

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