Please select your home edition
Edition
Gul 2019 CODEZERO EVO Leaderboard
Product Feature
Rooster PolyPro Balaclava
Rooster PolyPro Balaclava
Boat Insurance from Noble Marine


Full racing risks
New for old cover
www.noblemarine.co.uk

Britain's Alex Thomson and co-skipper Neal McDonald set sail in Transat Jacques Vabre

by Alex Thomson Racing 27 Oct 13:18 GMT
Alex Thomson and his co-skipper - fellow Briton Neal McDonald - departed from Le Havre - Transat Jacques Vabre 2019 © Alex Thomson Racing

British sailor Alex Thomson today began the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre, his debut race onboard the new HUGO BOSS racing yacht.

Thomson and his co-skipper - fellow Briton Neal McDonald - departed from Le Havre, France this afternoon to begin the double-handed 4,350mile race, which finishes in Salvador, Brazil.

In what is the 14th edition of the classic offshore race, a record 29 yachts within the IMOCA class will compete, each looking to finish on top in the famous 'coffee route' sprint.

The race marks the first time that fans of Skipper Thomson and his team will witness the new HUGO BOSS boat in competitive action, following the yacht's launch just last month on The River Thames in London.

HUGO BOSS - the name carried by each of the team's previous IMOCA 60 yachts - marks a significant step forward for the ocean racing team. More than two years in design and build, the ground-breaking yacht is the result of 80,000 hours of labour by more than 100 designers, architects, engineers and boat builders. The boat also features new, cutting edge technologies, developed alongside with the team's Technology Partner Nokia Bell Labs.

Thomson remains 'one to watch' in the highly competitive IMOCA class. In 2016 he broke the British record in the solo, non-stop, unassisted Vendée Globe, topping the third-place finish he secured in the 2012-13 edition of the race, which remains the pinnacle event in the IMOCA calendar.

And the British sailor finds himself in good company as he tackles the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre. His Co-skipper, Neal McDonald, is a seven-time Volvo Ocean Race competitor, and former Olympic sailor, with more than 30 years' experience in professional sailing.

Now Performance Manager at Alex Thomson Racing, McDonald has worked closely alongside Thomson and his team since 2016. The Transat Jacques Vabre, the pair believes, will be a prime opportunity to work together to learn more about their ground-breaking new boat:

"This is a learning and testing opportunity, first and foremost" said Thomson as he prepared to begin the race today. "The race will give us the opportunity to understand just what this boat is capable of, and it will undoubtedly inform the next stages of our development as we head towards the Vendée Globe next year".

The boat has been built with that very goal in mind; to win the 2020 Vendée Globe, a race that remains one of the toughest sporting challenges in the world today, one which has only ever been won by a French sailor. With just two competitive races in the team's schedule before then (the Transat Jacques Vabre and the New York-Vendée race in June 2020), the British team plans to maximise every available opportunity to familiarise themselves with what they hope will be a boat worthy of Vendée Globe gold.

"We of course know the Transat Jacques Vabre very well." Thomson continued. "We finished second in this race in both 2003 and 2015. However, this time around - with a new boat - the goal is to reach the finish line with the boat in good condition, and with a great deal of knowledge gained along the way. If we can do that, then I believe we place ourselves in a very good position for 2020".

The new HUGO BOSS is one of five new generation IMOCAs in action in the Transat Jacques Vabre. As the skippers begin their 4,350 mile journey, each will be hoping that the decisions they made during the laborious design and build stages will pay off, and that they successfully - and safely - make it to the finish line in Salvador de Bahia.

Related Articles

Transat Jacques Vabre: Hugo Boss arrives safely
Alex Thomson and Neal McDonald forced to retire The incident, which occurred on the morning of Sunday 3rd November - when Thomson and McDonald were just over a third of the way into the race - left the pair with no choice but to detach their 4.5m long keel from the yacht. Posted on 8 Nov
Transat Jacques Vabre: Hugo Boss update
Alex and Neal are safe and making good progress "Alex and Neal are safe and making good progress onboard HUGO BOSS. They are now around 300 miles away from the Cape Verde Islands, sailing with caution at around 10 knots." Posted on 6 Nov
Transat Jacques Vabre: Alex Thomson Racing update
Sailing to the Cape Verde Islands without a keel, around 800nm away “Together with Alex and Neal, our technical team has today been evaluating a number of different options. The decision has been made that the safest course of action is for the skippers to sail to the Cape Verde Islands, around 800nm away. Posted on 5 Nov
HUGO BOSS detaches keel
Ballast tanks filled and foils fully extended for stability Last night Alex and Neal were both able to get some rest onboard HUGO BOSS. In the early hours of this morning the skippers resumed their attempts to stabilise the keel. Posted on 4 Nov
Hugo Boss retires from Transat Jacques Vabre
Skippers are continuing to work to stabilise the boat in order to sail safely Britain's Alex Thomson and his co-skipper Neal McDonald have been forced to retire from the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre, the team's debut race onboard the new HUGO BOSS boat. Posted on 4 Nov
Transat Jacques Vabre Day 3 HUGO BOSS update
Alex Thomson records this video from onboard they yacht Hi everybody. Well I finally get a chance to make a video. It's been pretty tiring out here for the first days, lots of little niggles and stuff. Not quite right. But still, very happy with how we're doing. Posted on 30 Oct
Transat Jacques Vabre Day 3: Hugo Boss update
Alex and Neal are now committed to the western route Alex and Neal are now committed to the western route onboard HUGO BOSS. Over the coming days, it will appear on the race tracker that the boats which took the southerly course are further ahead, ticking more miles off towards the finish line. Posted on 29 Oct
The new Hugo Boss boat hits the water
As Alex Thomson Racing bids for Vendée Globe glory British sailing team Alex Thomson Racing is announcing the completion of the new racing yacht, which it hopes will lead the team to victory in the 2020-21 Vendée Globe round-the-world race. Posted on 5 Aug
Introducing the new HUGO BOSS boat
Built with one goal in mind - to win the Vendée Globe in 2020-21 Designed by Alex Thomson Racing and naval architects VPLP, and built by world-renowned boat builder Jason Carrington, the new HUGO BOSS boat is the first of its kind in the world. Posted on 4 Aug
Alex Thomson awarded top honour by French Embassy
Presented with the prestigious French National Order of Merit British skipper, Alex Thomson, has been awarded the prestigious French National Order of Merit ("Ordre national du Mérite") by French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Jean-Pierre Jouyet. Posted on 14 Jun