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Team of 25 work on HUGO BOSS repairs

by Veronique Teurlay on 22 Oct 2008
Alex Thomson studies Hugo Boss damage in Les Sables d’Olonne Vendee Globe 2008 © http://www.vendeeglobe.org

The team from Alex Thomson Racing have been working around the clock since the collision with a French fishing vessel last Friday. The full technical team from Alex Thomson Racing have been drafted in to help get Alex and HUGO BOSS to the start line.

In addition to this, Sir Keith Mills (Chairman of Alex Thomson Racing) has brought in support staff from Team Origin in the form of Team Director Mike Sanderson, Shore Operations Director David Duff and others to assist Alex in making the start line a reality.

The damage that Hugo Boss suffered through the collision was severe. The mast, which came down during the incident was broken 5 metres from the deck, but luckily it was recovered on Friday evening. David Barnaby from Southern Spars has been on site and the mast has been deemed repairable. All the sails were recovered and remarkably were undamaged, they have been sent to North sails France to be serviced.

Hugo Boss was hit just forward of the mast bulkhead, which is a structural forward keel bulkhead, which took the brunt of the impact. If the boat had been hit 2 metres aft or forward of this point, the boat would have been cut in half and there would have been a serious threat to the crew onboard. Both structural keel bulkheads are damaged, which are difficult to repair.

The size of the damage in the side of Hugo Boss hull is 5m x 2m (roughly a third of the length of the boat). French Vendée Globe skipper Yann Eliès and his team have kindly offered the mould from Generali. The boats are fairly similar and the team plan to make a new section of the hull from the mould and fit it to the boat.

The team have been working alongside Pascal Conq the designer at Finot Conq, structural engineer Dr. Paolo Manganelli from SP and Multiplast in Vannes to decide the best way to repair the extensive damage. The team have also brought in specialist in ultrasound to assess the structural damage. The priority right now is to find a solution that allows a strong repair but also a fast one. This will be a difficult to balance, but crucial to the team’s goal of making the start line on 9 November.

Hugo Boss was lifted out of the water into the commercial dock in Les Sables d’Olonne on Saturday and the keel removed. The boat was moved from the commercial dock to a local boat yard in Les Sables d’Olonne owned by Alliaura Marine Tuesday afternoon. A team of 25 will now begin work on the damage to the hull and deck; the repairs to the mast have already begun.

Alex Thomson and his team have been preparing for this Vendée Globe for the last four years. There are 19 days remaining until the start of the race, so the task is huge.

Till Pohlmann – Head of Sports Sponsorship for Hugo Boss

'We have been briefed by Alex and the team in France regarding the damage to the boat. Hugo Boss is committed to support Alex Thomson Racing and the team through this difficult and challenging time. We will do whatever we can to assist Alex to get to the start line on November 9th'.

Alex Thomson – Skipper Hugo Boss

'We have an incredibly dedicated team that are on site who are determined to make sure I am on the start line on November 9th. I cannot explain the devastation the team and I felt on Friday and it has been a tense few days as we work out how we can fix the issue at hand. The support we have received from the local community, the race organisers, other teams, my sponsors and from back home in the UK has been overwhelming.

I would particularly like to thank Lisa Radineau from Alliaura Marine as without their offer of yard space the task would be impossible. We think that this is an achievable task, but we cannot do this without everyone’s continued support. The goal is not longer winning the race but getting to the start line. That will be a huge achievement in itself'.

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