The new HUGO BOSS boat, set to be raced by British sailor Alex Thomson, launched last night at an official christening ceremony on The River Thames in London.
The yacht sailed publicly in front of London’s iconic Tower Bridge, before being officially christened by British model and actress Poppy Delevingne in front of special guests in attendance.
The IMOCA 60 racing boat was designed and built in a partnership comprising of the Alex Thomson Racing technical team, led by Design Manager Pete Hobson, naval architects VPLP, and boat builder Jason Carrington. These leaders in their fields worked towards a singular objective: to create a ground-breaking yacht capable of winning the 2020-21 Vendée Globe.
Considered the most gruelling sporting challenge in the world, the Vendée Globe sees the most accomplished solo sailors push their minds and bodies to the limits onboard high-speed vessels, purpose-built to withstand the extremities of the world’s oceans. A showcase of design, technology, and on-water aptitude, the solo, non-stop, unassisted round-the-world endeavour has only ever been won by a French sailor. However, after finishing third in 2013 and second in 2017, Thomson will seek to realise a lifelong ambition and etch his name into the history books by winning the race in 2021.
“The new HUGO BOSS is the culmination of the last 16 years of this team’s work.” said skipper Alex Thomson. “We’ve brought together the very best people – across every area of the project – to create a boat which is ground-breaking in so many ways, a boat which we very much hope will allow us to achieve our ambition of winning the Vendée Globe.”
Every part of the yacht, which weighs 7.6 tonnes, has been intricately designed and custom-built with two key factors in mind: weight and reliability. Made almost entirely from carbon fibre for lightness and durability, the boat’s hull features a raw carbon finish, while the iconic BOSS logo has been created from silver carbon, making it a structural element of the hull for the first time. The boat’s hydrofoils have been radically redesigned, while the cockpit has been moved inside the boat to offer greater protection from the elements – something never before seen in this sport.
Mark Langer, CEO HUGO BOSS AG, said: “HUGO BOSS and Alex Thomson Racing have always shared the same drive to succeed and to innovate. This has formed the basis for this long-term partnership, and we are excited about this new chapter in our collaboration.”
Sustainability has been carefully considered in the design of the new racing boat. Solar power will be the primary source of energy, powering Thomson’s onboard communication and navigation systems via custom-built solar panels on the yacht’s deck and coach roof. An electric motor and battery system has also been installed with the ultimate goal to sail around the world competitively without any fossil fuels.
The boat also utilises cutting-edge technologies, developed in partnership by Alex Thomson Racing and Technology Partner Nokia Bell Labs. From onboard sensing devices, designed to enable Thomson to better understand his mindset and performance, to camera systems, the yacht features ground-breaking augmented intelligence technology designed to bring the relationship between man and machine even closer.
The yacht’s brand identity, meanwhile, was devised by Industrial Designer Karim Rashid who chose to utilise a unique shade of pink, never before seen in the IMOCA class. Rashid emblazoned the boat’s coach roof, keel, and rudders with this colour, while a pattern inspired by the weave of carbon fibre is featured on the boat’s foredeck and sails.
The yacht will race for the first time on October 27, 2019 when Thomson competes alongside co-skipper Neal McDonald in the Transat Jacques Vabre race from France to Brazil. Thomson will go on to compete in the solo New York to Vendée race in June 2020 before the Vendée Globe itself – ‘the Everest of sailing’ – begins on November 8, 2020.