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Vendee Globe: On board the new IMOCA60 Hugo Boss

by Daily Telegraph/Sail-World.com/nz 4 Aug 18:21 PDT 5 August 2019
Latest images from the radical new Hugo Boss aimed at the singlehanded Vendee Globe round the world race © Lloyd Images

Latest images and previously published video of the new Hugo Boss, designed by VPLP and Alex Thomson Racing as she was wheeled out of builder Jason Carrington's facility.

She is aimed at winning the Vendée Globe in 2020-21 - an event in which Alex Thomson set two single handed distance sailing records, before breaking a foil in the approaches to the Southern Ocean.

Hugo Boss will carry Doyle Sails - continuing the partnership into a third Vendee Globe Race.

Alex Thomson Racing team, led by Design Manager Pete Hobson worked with esteemed French naval architects VPLP. The new Hugo Boss IMOCA60 represents a different approach in the world of short-handed high performance trans-oceanic sailing. The team says the boat is the product of more than two years of painstaking design and build work, undertaken by more than 100 naval architects, designers, engineers and boat builders. Most of the entries in the 2020/21 Vendee Globe Race will be of French origin.

The Telegraph's sailing correspondent Tom Carey was given a look at the latest statement in short-handed racing, which is designed to race without any fossil fuels.

Here's some out-takes from Carey's visit to the building facility near Gosport, UK:

- Built in an unassuming boatyard near to the team’s base in Gosport, it has taken a team of designers, boatbuilders and architects 26 months, 50,000 man hours and the small matter of the aforementioned £5.5 million to get to this point (although as Thomson notes: “£5.5 million and it still doesn’t have a toilet!”).

- They were happy for their rivals to see the 60 black, grippy solar panels across the deck and coach roof, for instance (Thomson is aiming to complete the Vendee Globe without the use of fossil fuels and, in doing so, prove that being more sustainable can actually have performance advantages). Or even to the cockpit, which intriguingly has been moved further forward and appears to be, to some degree, enclosed, with multiple exit points or hatches. But they were coy about showing too much of their new foils, which they believe represent a significant development from the previous generation. The foils (short for hydrofoils) are basically arms which extend out of the side of the boat and lift its hull out of the water as it moves along, reducing drag.

- With new rules allowing the foils to move on two axes rather than on one axis, as was the case last time, the challenge for everyone has been to come up with a solution that allows sailors to change the boat’s “angle of attack” as efficiently as possible. This is what keeps the boat “flying” out of the water at the fastest speed.

- Thomson says the idea for his foils was fleshed out while sitting in a car with Pete Hobson, his design manager at Alex Thomson Racing, and Andy Claughton, who used to design for the America’s Cup. “We were waiting for the ferry, and I’m trying to explain to Andy what I mean and he’s drawing the foil in the condensation of the car windscreen,” Thomson recalls. “We then went home, Pete drew it up and we sent it over to [French architects] VPLP.”

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