British sailing team, Alex Thomson Racing, has announced plans to design and build a brand new 60ft IMOCA race boat for the 2020-2021 Vendée Globe race.
The boat, HUGO BOSS, will be designed by French naval architectural firm VPLP Design in conjunction with Alex Thomson Racing’s design and technical team, led by Peter Hobson. With the design phase now well under way, the boat build is set to commence later this month.
The announcement comes just six months after the UK-based ocean-racing team celebrated the renewal of its partnership with long-term sponsor HUGO BOSS, one of the most coveted partnerships in the sport of sailing. Together, Alex Thomson Racing and HUGO BOSS have broken numerous records, received countless accolades and enjoyed both second and third place finishes in the Vendée Globe, the gruelling non-stop, solo, unassisted race around the world.
For Thomson, a second place finish in the most recent edition of the race – which comes around just every four years – has helped position him among the favourites heading into the 2020-2021 race.
Thomson said: “This is a hugely important period for us. Everything we do over the coming months leads up to the Vendée Globe 2020 and so it’s vital that we put in place a team which has the expertise, and the passion, to deliver. I’m confident that we have done that.
“We wholeheartedly believe that – with the right minds and the right boat – we can become the first British team ever to win the Vendée Globe”.
Founded by Marc Van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot-Prévost, France-based VPLP Design is made up of a team of naval architects and designers who, collectively, have helped to develop some of the world’s most successful and innovative racing boats. Among those were the winning boats in the last two editions of the Vendee Globe – Banque Populaire VIII and MACIF, raced by French skippers Armel Le Cléac’h and François Gabart respectively. VPLP also co-designed the current HUGO BOSS yacht, which Thomson raced to a second place podium position in the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe, breaking the British record at the finish line.
Ross Daniel, technical director at Alex Thomson Racing, said: “VPLP of course has a proven track of designing world class racing boats. As the first design office ever to make the move to foiling monohulls, they hold an unrivalled knowledge in what we know will prove to be the most crucial area of design within the next generation boats.
“But our decision to work with the firm was also based on who they are as people. The process of designing, building and launching a new boat is an incredibly complex one, which requires everyone involved to work collaboratively towards one common goal. We are confident that, together, we can build the very best boat in the fleet, one which is both wholly reliable and has the capability of winning a race as punishing as the Vendée Globe”.