HUGO BOSS onboard update: skippers safe and heading to Cape Verde Islands
Nov 4: Alex Thomson and Neal McDonald recount the moment that the HUGO BOSS boat hit an unidentified object submerged in the water and they were forced to free the keel from the boat, during the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre race.
Despite their very best efforts, it became clear that keeping the keel attached would put the boat at great risk. With the keel attached only by the hydraulic ram, and in an unstable position, there was a serious risk of significant damage to the hull. We did everything that we could to preserve the keel but collectively we determined that it was far too dangerous to keep it in place. Therefore, with guidance from our team shore-side, Alex and Neal set about cutting the hydraulic ram to free the keel from the boat. After many hours, they were successful in their efforts and the keel is now no longer attached to the boat. Alex and Neal have filled the ballast tanks onboard and fully extended the foils in order to keep the boat as stable as possible. They are currently in light winds and a slight sea state, and we are comfortable that there is no immediate risk to the boat or the skippers. More news here.Transat Jacques Vabre LIVE: Map & Ranking
Alex Thomson Racing Behind the Scenes:
Alex Thomson Racing: Transat Jacques Vabre Race Start 2019
3 Nov 2019: Alex Thomson Racing's HUGO BOSS withdraws. Alex Thomson and Neal McDonald are working on the safest place to navigate their damaged 60ft monohull, HUGO BOSS, after announcing their withdrawal from the 14th edition the Transat Jacque Vabre. Earlier in the day they informed the race office that they were withdrawing from the race with the keel of their brand new 60ft monohull attached only by the hydraulic ram after hitting something in the water while underway at around 25 knots, 09:57 UTC. HUGO BOSS had completed just over a third of the 4,350-mile course of this biennial double-handed race to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, and it will be of little comfort to Thomson that his situation would appear to be better than when he was helicoptered to safety after capsizing his previous boat in 2015.
At the front of the race, the leader, Charal, which has now completed half the race distance, was the only one of the leading group of 11 IMOCA to risk the wind shadow of the Canary Islands, threading between Tenerife and Gran Canaria. More news here.
Nov 1: The fascinating split in the IMOCA fleet is beginning to play out and the weather files continue to suggest it is going to be a tough weekend for the six westerners as they watch the southerners escape on the trade winds. The leaders in the south look to definitely be the leaders now given the evolution of the depression (metaphorical and literal) in the west. If there is less surprise at the identity of the two leading 60ft monohulls - Charal and Apiviaare both latest generation foilers - the speed of Britain’s Sam Davies and her French co-skipper, Paul Meilhat (Initiatives-Cœur) continues to impress. Likewise, that of the 29-year-old Frenchwoman, Clarisse Crémer and Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire IX), who is just over five miles ahead in the third place. Initiatives-Cœur. Both boats are two generations and almost ten years older than those ahead of them, but the upgraded foils have given them a new lease of life.
Transat Jacques-Vabre video below published Oct 31, 2019:
Day 4: HUGO BOSS onboard update
Alex Thomson's call with the Transat Jacques Vabre team, in which he provides an update on the performance of HUGO BOSS and how he and co-skipper Neal McDonald are managing life onboard.
Oct 31, 2019, Alex Thomson: “Yes, the routing doesn’t look very good now; it looks terrible actually, but with regard to what we’re trying to do, things are going very well really, couldn’t be happier. It’s a bit of a shame that this western option doesn’t look very nice anymore, but c’est la vie.”
Overnight from Wednesday to Thursday the odds lengthened dramatically on the bet in the west. Not only is the ridge of high pressure around the archipelago of Madeira looking much easier to negotiate for the southerners, but after emerging from a torrid low-pressure system, the westerners look like facing their own ridge. More Transat Jacques Vabre News.
Transat Jacques Vabre video:
Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss.
Oct 30: IMOCA: An upside down leaderboard? The extraordinary split in the IMOCA fleet continued yesterday with a band of five mavericks fully investing heavily in the west and heading into the large low-pressure system which they hope will slingshot them into the trade winds faster than the southerners. If they are right we will almost have to turn the leaderboard upside down as it currently shows Hugo Boss in 22nd place in the 29-boat fleet, 171 miles behind the new leader, PRB. Thomson said today (Wednesday) that heading west was not a strategy but had been forced upon he and co-skipper, Neal McDonald by sail damage – but that it might still pay off. “... at Ushant we had some sail damage. One of our reaching sails, the tack loops of it ripped off the sail for some reason so that was a bit of a pain. And hence we lost a load of miles and basically it stopped us from following the south route hence our push the west, which may still work out." With Thomson in the west are Boris Herrmann (Germany) and Will Harris (Britain) on Malizia II Yacht Club de Monaco; and three French boats, Bureau Vallée II, Maître CoQ IV, and Prysmian Group. The weather files show 35 to 40 knots and a very confused sea state for ten hours awaiting them. More news here.
Oct 29: The bulk of the fleet tacked on Monday night, led by Davies, who were the first to turn onto the more direct road to Salvador de Bahia. They were quickly followed by the bulk of the fleet. Was that a dilemma for the leader, Charal? Follow their route to south or join Hugo Boss looking for a western dividend?
Departure Oct 27, 2019, another view:
UPDATE 2019 Oct 28: overnight leaders Luke Berry and Tanguy Le Turquais suffered a dismast to their 40ft monohull, Lamotte – Module Creation. Both sailors are safe, arriving with their boat at Roscoff, on the north coast of Brittany, 16:00 (French time). The incident came just 18 hours after the start yesterday at 13:15 (French time) from Le Havre in what appeared not to be boat-breaking conditions.
“Around 07:00 (French time), before sunrise, we were downwind in an easterly wind under medium spinnaker with two reefs, we were not overloaded, and we were in manageable conditions,” the 33-year-old Berry said. “We pitched a few times before the last one…I was in the bunk, Tanguy (Le Turquais, co-skipper, 30) was at the helm. We don’t understand it, the conditions weren’t terrible. We recovered everything, we left nothing in the sea, the top of the mast went, then it broke in half. We managed to get everything back in the boat. We’re on our way to Roscoff. We ‘re really disappointed for everyone (involved in the project) especially since we were in the lead at that time.” More news here.Transat Jacques Vabre: Race Preview
On Sunday, October 27th, Alex Thomson and his co-skipper Neal McDonald will race for the first time onboard the new HUGO BOSS boat. Thomson is interviewed prior to the race start in Le Havre, France.
Transat Jacques-Vabre started Sunday, October 27, 2019, 13:15 local time @LH_LeHavre. Official website: transatjacquesvabre.org. The 14th edition of the 4,350-mile bi-annual two-handed race starts from Le Havre, France, and takes the crews across to the Equator to the finish in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. The Route du Café traces the historic coffee trading routes, and is the longest and toughest transat on the racing calendar. Having two skippers per boat allows each team to push the boats designed for one, to the limits. The Transat Jacques-Vabre, otherwise known as the "Coffee Route" or double Transat, is a double transatlantic race (two sailors on board). This race has been held every two years since 1993.
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