For those who aren’t familiar with iconic sailor Alex Thomson, now is the time. Thomson is the youngest skipper ever to win a round-the-world yacht race. When he triumphed in the 1998/1999 Clipper Round-the-World Race he set a record which still stands today. He also holds the British solo, unassisted round-the-world monohull record which was set in 2017 with a 74 day, 19 hour and 35 minute finish of the Vendée Globe race. Alex and his team have their sites set on becoming the first British team to win the 2020/2021 edition of this gruelling race with the launch of a new boat.
After more than two years in development and build, British sailing team Alex Thomson is preparing to introduce the brand-new IMOCA race boat, HUGO BOSS. The team have confirmed its debut for October in the classic double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre race from France to Brazil.
Seven-time Volvo Ocean Race sailor, Neal McDonald, has been announced as Thomson’s co-skipper for the 5395 nautical mile TJV. Currently the performance manager at Alex Thomson Racing, McDonald holds more than 30 year’s experience in professional sailing. Before his career in offshore racing (which includes races such as Whitebread Round the World, the Sydney to Hobart and the Volvo Ocean Race), McDonald represented Great Britain in the 1988 Summer Olympics, before becoming the International 14 world champion and 49er European Champion in 1989.
Thomson and McDonald will take to the starting line of the TJV together on Sunday, October 27th. The race will be the first opportunity for all to witness the new HUGO BOSS in all its glory.
“The launch of the new boat is a pivotal moment for our team, as we look ahead to the Vendée 2020.” said Thomson. “It’s crucial that we use every available moment before November 2020 to gain as much insight as possible into the performance capabilities of the boat. The TJV will be a key part of that learning process, and it’s a fantastic race that we would of course love to win. Neal is not only an incredibly talented sailor, but he already has a great relationship with our team so he was a superb choice of co-skipper for this race”.
Following the TJV event, the team will go on to compete in the New York to Vendée race in May 2020, where Alex will compete solo in the 3100nm leg. This race sets the stage for the Vendée Globe itself. All eyes will be on the Briton this time after securing a third place in the 2016 edition.
Finishing off the team’s 2019-2020 calendar will be the iconic Vendée Globe, beginning in November 2020 in Les Sables d’Olonne, France. This race is an unassisted, 24000nm, solo, non-stop stretch around the world. It has been the focus of Thomson and his team of 25, and, having finished the last two editions of the race in third and second, their target is victory for 2021.
CEO of Alex Thomson Racing, Stewart Hosford, said:
“We’re delighted to share with fans our schedule for the remainder of 2019 and 2020. For the past two years our team, together with VPLP and Carrington Boats – have worked tirelessly to build a boat which we believe has the genuine capability of winning the Vendée Globe. That process continues today, as we prepare to launch this summer. It’s an exciting time for everyone involved and I speak for the whole team, as well as our partners, when I say that we cannot wait to see HUGO BOSS hit the water.”