It has been 43 days since the Vendee Globe 2016/2017 began and Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss, powered by Doyle Stratis, has performed exceptionally well to date.
Currently lying in second place after an impressive start that saw him lead for a large percentage and better three race record marks, Thomson is now more than half way around the world and chasing first place.
Thomson has been delighted with the performance of his sails and his decision to work with Doyle Sails New Zealand once again, following a long term collaboration with the Kiwi loft that includes Thomson’s third place in the Vendee Globe 2012/2013. “There is lots of talk about the different foils we have on Hugo Boss but as always the speed edge we have does not come from one place and the other place where we are completely different to the other IMOCA 60’s is our sails, which obviously play a huge part in this race,” says Thomson, speaking from on board Hugo Boss.
“The number of sails we can carry is limited to nine and they have to be light enough to be used single-handed and strong enough to survive the world’s toughest yacht race, so it’s a tough challenge for sail designers. The design team at Doyle Sails New Zealand, led by Richard Bouzaid, put in a huge amount of effort in the last two years to help us come up with the right suit of sails for Hugo Boss; the Stratis product lends itself brilliantly and I would be very surprised if anyone has anything as light and as durable as we have. It just goes to show that if you want something different, something fast, if you want an edge, it is best not follow the crowd.”
The Doyle Sails New Zealand team have been closely following Hugo Boss’ progress around the world and have been hugely proud of his performance to date. “It’s great to see Hugo Boss going so well, and such a shame that one of the foils broke so early in the race,” says Richard Bouzaid, Director of Design at Doyle Sails New Zealand. “Having sailed from the UK to Portugal twice with Alex on the boat in pre-race testing, the foils and sail combinations make a dramatic difference.
These new Open 60’s are cutting edge, fun to sail and incredibly fast, as video from the Southern Ocean shows, and the guys like Alex who race these boats at the front end of the fleet at break neck speeds are incredibly talented sailors. I’ve really enjoyed working on this challenge with Alex and the great team he has around him, and I’m looking forward to taking lessons learnt from this race to the next level for future events. I’m certainly glad Alex is happy to not follow the crowd!”
In addition to long term collaboration on sail design, including on-site support from Bouzaid, Doyle’s role in the Hugo Boss campaign has included ongoing support from other members of the Doyle Sails NZ team and long term development of the sails alongside all other key aspects of the build of the new boat and overall campaign. Sam Molesworth, Kitroom Manager at Doyle Sails New Zealand worked with the Hugo Boss team for two years, spending a year in Gosport with the crew as head sailmaker and taking part in sail trials on board Hugo Boss.
“Doyle committed to me spending so much time on the UK because we wanted to work closely on developing the sails and ensuring they were the optimum package for sailing around the world,” says Molesworth. “We definitely put in the hours but it was awesome to work alongside such a great team.” Watching the results of this long term campaign has proved hugely satisfying for Molesworth and all the Doyle Sails NZ team. “Seeing Alex perform so well on the race track makes it all worthwhile for me, and it makes you realise how Alex has such a long term relationship with his sponsors; he is a great guy who is determined to succeed in every way possible.”
Follow Thomson’s progress on the official Vendee Globe tracker by clicking here
The video above is the full-cut of Hugo Boss undergoing sea trials off the Southern Coast of England before the start of the Vendee Globe race.
by Ellie Brade