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Safety at Sea - Baltic - 1

Vendee Globe Race - Hugo Boss makes podium with Doyle Sails

by Guy Waddilove on 9 Feb 2013
Hugo Boss’ Alex Thomson finishes third in Vendee Globe Race 2012-2013 Alex Thomson http://www.alexthomsonracing.com

Vendee Globe Race. When Alex Thomson made the decision to use Doyle Sails for his third Vendée Globe attempt, he bucked the trend of the pack as the only Doyle skipper in the fleet. It was a decision that Thomson and his team believe paid dividends in his race.


'At times I was surprised by the performance of the boat and my ability to keep up with the newer generation boats and I put a lot of my pace down to the sail design program run by Richard Bouzaid at Doyle Sails NZ,' said Thomson, after finishing the race.

Thomson won a podium position with third place after a race time of 80 days 19 hours 23 minutes and 43 seconds. With that result he also became the fastest Briton to sail a monohull around the world, trumping the previous records of Dame Ellen MacArthur and Mike Golding. His performance was exceptional, staying part of the leading group throughout the race despite racing in an old-generation design.

Hugo Boss was powered by a full inventory of Doyle sails, produced by the New Zealand loft and designed by Richard Bouzaid, Head of Design at Doyle Sails NZ. Almost all the sails were made from Stratis laminates, using light weight taffeta and carbon and technora blends, rather than Kevlar or spectra fibres that are more commonly used on these types of sails. 'The sail program is a critical part of any sailing campaign but no other race demands performance and reliability over a 28,000Nm race track,' said Thomson.

Chris McMaster, MD of Doyle Sails NZ, and Bouzaid worked closely with Alex and his team throughout race preparations and through the race itself. 'The relationship with Alex Thomson Racing has been longstanding and everything we have done over the last five years has been working towards this goal,' said Bouzaid. 'We were constantly working to develop innovative sails that would give Alex an edge over his competition.'

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed] Prior to the race Bouzaid spent significant time sailing on board Hugo Boss with Thomson, including undertaking a Transatlantic crossing and sailing from the UK to the Mediterranean. 'All this helped give us a deeper understanding of how hard it is to sail these boats, and the kind of sails they need to help them be sailed single handed,' said Bouzaid.

'When we started this project together, Doyle made it clear that they wanted to do it properly and gain the right experience before the main event,' said Thomson. 'Together we built seven mainsails, over 20 upwind jibs and more than 30 code sails in the quest to find the right blend of material, weight, performance and reliability. We did not always get it right but we were always committed to finding the limitations, defining the boundaries and developing from there. We were also able to benefit from Doyle’s investment in Sanya’s Volvo 70 program and Mike Sanderson’s experience in the IMOCA and Volvo world.'

'We are looking forward to continuing working with Alex Thomson Racing,' said Bouzaid. 'We have lots of new ideas to move forwards with and the team are great to work with in that respect. They are always open to innovation and new ideas.' Thomson too is looking to the future. 'The great thing is we are not stopping here, there is always more we can do and I am looking forward to debriefing with Doyle Sails NZ and refining the product further so that all of Doyle’s customers can benefit from the investment we have made. My sincere thanks to everyone at Doyle for their commitment to our project and helping me attain third place in the world’s toughest sporting event,' Thomson concluded.




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