by Lucy Harwood
At approximately 1820 GMT on Sunday (15/11/09) HUGO BOSS crew Alex Thomson and Ross Daniel, reported a collision with an unidentified object in the water. HUGO BOSS was lying in 4th place when the damage was sustained and it was reported that they were taking on water. A pump worked overnight and the crew confirmed that they were managing the ingress of water.
On inspection in daylight this morning (16/11/09) skipper Alex confirmed the damage is located on the starboard bow and although fairly localised it is allowing a fair amount of water in the boat. The skippers are discussing the damage with their shore team to finalise a temporary fix which will allow them to make for the nearest land which is The Azores. Although the damage is small it will not be possible to stop the water until the area is free from water, something not possible in the ocean. Regrettably today at 1300 GMT Alex and Ross made the difficult decision to officially retire from the race.
HUGO BOSS will shortly be heading towards The Azores. The skippers remain in regular contact with Race Director Jean Maurel and their shore team. They are expected to arrive into the port of Horta in The Azores on Thursday 19th November.
Reporting from onboard this morning, skipper Alex Thomson stated,
“We assessed the damage this morning, frustratingly it is clear that we will not be able to affect repairs whilst at sea. This is a massive blow for the team as we were racing really well. HUGO BOSS had survived the very worst of the storm force conditions that had battered the fleet over the last week. On Friday we were knocked down several times by enormous breaking waves and despite a broken daggerboard the boat took it in her stride with no problem.
"It amazes me how the team of engineers and boat builders can build something strong enough to handle such conditions but they did and we were fully confident in the boat. We were in a strong position on the race course and although we had lost some miles due to our daggerboard our northerly route had paid off as we remained in touch with the leaders. We still had half the race ahead of us but the hard part was well and truly done and we had trade wind sailing to look forward to.
"I am brutally disappointed that somebody's discarded waste has stopped our race. If the hull had not been breeched or if we could stop the water ingress we could carry on no problem and I felt confident we would have done a good job for the rest of the race. As I said last night we feel like we have done the hard bit, so this is a tough blow for the whole team.”
Alex Thomson Racing
Transat Jacques Vabre