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Southern Spars

Stationary Hugo Boss Holed, Dismasted by Fishermen

by Nancy Knudsen on 18 Oct 2008
Hugo Boss Skipper Alex Thomson after the incident - Photo Telegraph/PA .. .
The AIS, about which so much has been written, does not protect against all craft. While stationary outside a French port, world class racing yacht Hugo Boss has just been holed and dismasted by a fishing vessel which was obviously not keeping a lookout.

The fast racing boat had just crossed the English Channel from Gosport to les Sables D'Olonne, and was waiting for dawn to transfer some of the technical team onboard, ready for the start of the Vendée Globe race.

At the time of the incident, Hugo Boss was highly visible with its navigation lights, trim lights and stobe light on. Its radar and AIS systems were also working.


The 60 ft French fishing vessel struck the racing boat on the starboard side forward of the cap shroud, holing her and bringing the mast down.

The crew then cut away the mast and sails before motoring into les Sables d'Olonne for assessment of the damage. As well as the boat's skipper Alex Thomson, Boat Captain Ross Daniel and Rigger Giles Waterhouse were on board, but noone was injured.

'I'm devastated, but I'm glad everyone is ok' said Alex.

Fishing vessels often do not watch where they are going. With limited crew, they are often busy with their duties related to fishing. Such vessels can be found in all parts of the world, and seem to have read from the same rule book.

Not, like most ships, being party to any AIS convention, they do not carry AIS, and unfortunately, they are often not detectable even by radar because of their wooden construction.

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