While the bulk of the IMOCA fleet was sailing the Vendée-Arctique race, there was very notable absence; British sailor Alex Thomson and Hugo Boss. A stalwart of the fleet, Thomson has a reputation for training in privacy in England and then shocking the French-centric world come race day.
Right out of the gate in last year’s Transat Jacques Vabre, the new Hugo Boss showed great pace and battled with Charal before the lead early on before a botched tactical flyer and eventual Keel failure took them out of the running entirely. Though the boat was on life support and being motored to the Cape Verdes with no keel just nine eight months ago, she is now back and better than ever.
“This was the first time I’ve sailed solo on the boat and, I can tell you, she is a real pleasure to sail on your own. I’ve been blown away by her performance and I’m super happy with the set up. Being inside the cockpit, protected from the elements, is a real game changer, particularly as foiling offshore takes much more of a toll on the body”, Thomson said shortly after returning from his recent 2,000 mile solo qualifying voyage on the recently repaired boat.
Now that he is officially qualified for race, Thomson has to be considered one of the pre-race favorites for this next Vendée Globe, along with the top three from the Vendée Arctique. With such a long and fascinating journey in the IMOCA class thus far, we’re stoked to see what Alex will do in the Vendée Globe come November.
Had it not been for a broken foil in the last race, he likely would have won. And remember, that boat had been on life support a year before the race as well! – Ronnie Simpson.