Thomson sets sail on Vendee qualifier

Hugo Boss back in the water after post Barcelona World Race refit

Thursday May 8th 2008, Author: Gail Willows, Location: United Kingdom
While many of the Open 60 fleet are getting ready for the start of the Artemis Transat, Alex Thomson aboard Hugo Boss has started his solo 2500 mile Vendée Globe qualifying passage. Thomson left Portimao, Portugal today at 0830 CET. He will head to waypoint 51degN 38degW, situated off of Nova Scotia, before returning to the UK to complete the qualifier.

Hugo Boss has been based in the Algarve since 21 February following Alex and Andrew Cape’s second place finish in the Barcelona World Race. The duo completed the round the world race in 94 days and were fundamentally happy with the performance and systems on board Hugo Boss.

The refit has been relatively easy and painless and Portimao has proved to offer excellent facilities. The rudder problems experienced during the Barcelona World Race have now been fully resolved and await full testing over the coming 12 days. Cracks were found at the head of the keel at the end of the Barcelona World Race and although not proving to be structural, designers Finot-Conq and the team felt it was prudent to replace the head and restore 100% confidence in this critical area.

This will be Alex’s first solo trip on Hugo Boss since it came out of the build shed in June 2007. “ Hugo Boss is back in the water and ready for my qualifying passage which I am looking forward to. Portimao has been a great refit base for us and the team have really enjoyed working here, everyone has bent over backwards to help. Time now for me to find out how Hugo Boss handles with just one driver, I will miss Capey for sure” said Alex before departing.

All skippers looking to complete in this year's Vendée Globe need to complete a solo 2,500 mile passage before 1 July 2008.

Looking at the current weather systems the qualifying passage is estimated to take approximately 12 days, with Hugo Boss expected to finish in Plymouth by 20 May.

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