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Posts Tagged ‘hugo boss’

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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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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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While the Macif foils have finally been revealed, details on the latest and greatest VPLP/Verdier Open 60s remain scant, in part because the secrecy in IMOCA world is exceeded only by that of the America’s Cup.  Fortunately we’ve got connections, and our Senior Editor headed over to England last night to become (we think) the first reporter in the world to sail on an offshore foiling monohull.  He’s headed offshore tonight with the one guy who continues to keep the torch lit for anyone who wants to see a non-Frenchman take the Vendee Globe trophy: Alex Thomson.

Alex and his Hugo Boss team have had unprecedented success with sponsors and the media over the past decade, but less so on the race course, with Alex able to grab a few victories in low-profile events and a couple of hard-fought 24-hour solo distance records. Bad luck ended his two strong chances to win the Barcelona World Race, but his 3rd place in the last Vendee (with a now 3-generations old boat) cemented his credibility as a potential race winner, if he could only build a competitive ride.

That has now happened, and we’ve got a couple of days to dig into Alex’s program and his new boat, and more importantly, to answer any questions you guys can come up with – as long as they’re not about the details on the foils, and if we told you about them, we’d have to kill you.  We’ll have a report on the boat and on the new Mercedes-Benz stickered Hugo Boss before the TJV begins, and if you ask your questions today over in this thread, we’ll put them to the team. 

For a fond look back at the two-generations old Farr Open 60 that Alex took his Vendee podium with (and Ryan Breymaier is about to doublehand across the ocean), check out the very cool video above. ‘cause boats have souls…


October 13th, 2015 by admin

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Alone in the sea of brand-new foiling(ish) Open 60s is the UK’s Alex Thomson and his new Mercedes-Benz sponsored Hugo Boss, the sort-of sistership to the new VPLP/Verdier monsters that are dropping in the water seemingly every week as the TJV gets close.   Speaking of the French doublehanded classic, there are a jaw-dropping 21 IMOCAs registered for the start in Le Havre.  Will you be there?  Sailing Anarchy will.

We’re a bit shocked to see the Hugo Boss change color from the silver that we assumed was such a perfect fit for Merc (and its silver arrows racing brand) but we forgot to check in on the team that HB seems to get all its design inspiration from.  Sure enough, they just turned black this year as well.

More pics on the ATR Facebook page, and the world’s best source of breaking information about the IMOCA fleet is, of course, right here in the Ocean Racing Anarchy forums. Title shout to a great song for a blind date…or a stalker.

September 5th, 2015 by admin

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go hardReviving a famous rivalry between the Royal Galway and Royal Cork Yacht Clubs; the 2015 Galway Plate was a brilliant race between two IMOCA 60s. Kilcullen Voyager, skippered by Enda O’Coineen faced off with Alex Thomson’s Hugo Boss in Cork Harbour.

Finishing the triangular course in under 3 hours, the boats finished a minute apart with line honors going to Hugo Boss, who stole the lead from Kilcullen Voyager with a swifter sail change. The race boasted ocean racers of the highest calibre including Mike Golding, Wouter Verbraak, Guillermo Altadill and younger talent in the form of Nico Boidevezi, Jesse Naimark-RoWse, Will Ayliffe, Dave Kenefick and Cillian McGovern.

The €10,000 prize is to be donated to the Atlantic Youth Trust and a rematch on Galway Bay aka “the blue playground” is lined up for 2016. Photo credit to Mark Killeen.


July 15th, 2015 by admin

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One of the well-proven adages in business is to spend, spend, spend during a recession.  Marketing hard and growing fast when the markets are down is a great way to build market share, and it seems that the big names in the United Kingdom sailboat racing business are doing just that, despite all kinds of fears about austerity measures and deficit problems.  Here are three quick bits to illustrate.

The Great Contender

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 10.24.53 AMRussell Coutts chased off the most serious challenger for the next America’s Cup.  Then he pulled the rug out from both his own hometown and the team that came a couple of minutes away from ending his run at AC34.  Just one of those is fully funded by a billionaire, but it’s the less well-funded one – Ben Ainslie Racing – who currently has the best chance of ending Larry Ellison’s reign of bullshit and the constantly waffling hypocrisy from the Russell Coutts Flying Circus.

Why, you ask?

Because Ben and his team are genuinely not in it for cash, but for nation, for country, for all those things that the rest of the world finds quaint and anachronistic.  Their hashtag is #BringTheCupHome, and that resonates like a motherf&%*ker.

That’s how he got longtime Mclaren Formula 1 team boss Martin Whitmarsh involved, and that’s where Red Bull Formula 1 designer and aerodynamic wunderkind Adrian Newey came in.

And perhaps most importantly, Ben will have home field advantage, as we’ll see during next month’s ACWS event in Portsmouth.  Bermuda is unfailingly British, and there are we cannot find anyone from the United States who wants to see the betrayal of Ellison and Coutts go unpunished.

Don’t underestimate the power of the crowd; unlike the almost entirely mercenary teams (and Oracle Team NOT-USA just added yet another non-american to the mix), Ben can get talent like Whitmarsh and Newey to help him despite being unable to pay them what they made when they worked for the F1 juggernaut.  And the more one-design the boat, the more cerebral the game becomes – and the more morale and confidence come into the mix.  If you don’t know what we mean, head over to Portsmouth and listen to what an estimated half a million people sound like when they are cheering.  The biggest questions remain about Ben himself; is he a fast enough driver in foiling boats?

Longtime pommie sailing boffin Matt Sheahan wrote a solid profile of the team and its obstacles over at howtospendit.  Check it out here.

Long Overdue

The Extreme 40 has been long in the tooth for the better part of 5 years, but much of that time was devoted to ensuring the Extreme Sailing Series survival and OC Events future cash flow.  As the rest of the world’s catamarans innovated, the Extreme Sailing Series looked more every season like a race for lorries in a downtown parking lot.  But Mark Turner’s stature as one of the sport’s best organizers doesn’t come from his generosity; he is a master of spending only when necessary.  Thanks to a few years of downturn and the ineptitude of his ostensible competitors, the X40 got a bit of breathing room – but not anymore.

And while Turner has been saying for years that ‘foiling is not for them,’ on Wednesday the ESS announced just the opposite; 2016 and beyond will likely see the new Extreme boat flying.  Turner says they have ‘four options’ that they haven’t distilled down yet, but the clock is a-ticking.  The X40 hulls are a mess, with dozens of repairs adding weight and reducing stiffness throughout the fleet, and one-design something of a joke.  The design itself is as dated as you’ll see in a modern event, as you’d expect from a boat created more than a decade ago for the 2005 Volvo Ocean Race; the event that re-launched stadium sailing (though not a new concept; cf. the Formula 40 series in the 90s, the wildly successful 150,000-person Match Cup Sweden in the late 90s and early 2000s, the One-Design Grand Prix circuit, the…well, you get the point).

So there are a lot of reasons for a new boat and it’s almost imperative for it to happen quickly, but it is already pretty late for one of the brand new designs being evaluated by OC to impact the 2016 season.  Enter the GC32, currently the front-runner for the Extreme series next year.  It’s a bit small for much of the corporate PR and VIP work that’s the bread and butter for Turner, but Martin Fischer’s flying boat is furious and exciting in anything over 8 knots of breeze.  Perhaps more importantly, two years of now-solved foil issues has taken much of the value out of the GC32, and having spent millions on the creation of his dream boat and a relatively low-budget series, GC32 creator Laurent Lenne is ready to get back to racing instead of running a sailboat marketing company.  That could mean ‘bargain’ to the famously cost-conscious Turner, solving all his problems for 2016.  The only other option for next year is to modify the truck-like X40 for foils, but that’s crazy talk.

And for 2017, look for an all-new X36/X37/X38 – a straight or foiling daggered monster that looks as modern as possible.  Whether you are talking about markets, boat types, or formats, the world is a-changing, and Mark Turner and his group will continue to be one of the most important drivers of those changes.

Watch the final day of ESS racing from Cardiff today.

He’s Got The Look

WSince we couldn’t get a new rendering from the Alex Thomson Racing team, we’ll keep this one short, but a monster piece of sailing sponsorship news hit the wire this week providing further evidence that a good look, a strong marketing team, and a few successful PR stunts are far more important than performance when it comes to finding big money for sailing.  Thomson’s team announced on Thursday that Mercedes-Benz had joined the Hugo Boss/ATR racing program as a ‘Core Sponsor’ in advance of this summer’s launch of Thomson’s brand new VPLP/Verdier Open 60 HUGO BOSS.  The move comes on the heels of last years defection of Hugo Boss from the McLaren F1 team to the all-conquering Mercedes Silver Arrows, marking the end of F-1′s longest team sponsorship deal.  The best part about it?  Thomson doesn’t even need to change his color scheme.

With Alex scoring a 3rd in the last Vendee in a last gen boat, and telling us numerous times that he’s getting a bit old for all this noise, and with golden boy Francois Gabart sitting this one out in favor of a much faster singlehander, 2016 will mark Thomson’s best chance ever at the biggest win ever for an Englishman since Sir Robin beat Moitessier in 1969, nearly 50 years ago.  That is, if he can finish, unlike the last BWR, or the one before that, or…


June 21st, 2015 by admin

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