Amidst the excitement of the first IMOCA race to depart from Lanzarote, racing enthusiasts were treated to the arrival of Alex Thomson Racing and the sleek and powerful Hugo Boss. Make no mistake, this team is out to win and an impressive team of experts covering design to data engineering have been working around the clock since the Transat Jacques Vabre and ensuing drama; through an intensive yard period and now down to the Canaries before a qualifying passage to Bermuda and then the New York-Vendee.
Yesterday, outside Puerto Calero, flat seas and some typical breeze finally brought the results that everyone had been waiting for. “We were averaging 26 knots and achieving a top speed of 29 knots in just 20 knots of breeze. The team is still buzzing from the rush”, described team manager Ross Daniel who has worked with Alex Thomson since the beginning of the project. “Our expectations were high having studied the numbers but this was the first time that we could put the theory to the test. It was a tremendously satisfying moment.”
This is the first time that Hugo Boss has visited the Canaries and the team able to take advantage of the 820-tonne travel hoist in Marina Lanzarote to lift the boat and carry out some minor repairs. “We haven’t visited any other location where in only two hours we can move from the dock and be ready to start work. The lift’s ample dimensions save us from having to remove the deck spreaders and mast, and the keel pit enables everyone to work at a safe height without the need for a complicated support set-up. It’s really a perfect solution and saves us two entire days of preparation.”
Asked about future plans in the months leading up to the epic Vendée Globe, the manager remarked: “Returning to train for a couple of months’ training prior to the Race is a very serious consideration for us. Good clean, clear air, ocean swell and minimal current, all nice and close to the berth is exactly the combination we are after.”
The boat is due to depart tomorrow with light winds forecast for the days ahead. Having spent some time in Lanzarote with fellow IMOCA skippers racing in the Calero Marinas Solo Transat, now mid-Atlantic and contending with unsettled weather systems, Alex Thomson voiced his approval of this new Vendée qualifying opportunity, saying “I think they made a wise choice take part in this event; it is true that each has had to contend with some pretty atypical conditions but this race suits their needs; it’s good to see them out there sailing and getting a feel for their boats.”
Follow Alex Thomson and Hugo Boss: alexthomsonracing.com
Find out more about the Calero Marinas Solo Transat
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