Saturday, 14 November 2009

TJV: Into Survival Mode on Hugo Boss

Hugo Boss. Image copyright Alex Thomson Racing.

by Lucy Harwood

The fleet has been once again been battered by storm force 9 conditions (over 50 mph) in the North Atlantic, and face another tough 24 hours ahead before conditions will ease and the racing can begin once more.

As Alex said from onboard today, “it’s horrific out there, just horrific, I have no other words to describe it. These are boat-breaking conditions. You can’t do anything on the boat right now.” HUGO BOSS has gone into survival mode as the IMOCA class battles the 50 knot winds and squalls.

There has been damage across the fleet. Veolia Environment has reported mast track damage, Mike Golding Yacht Racing is still without major instruments and Artemis have sustained damaged to their sail battens and boom. For HUGO BOSS, Alex and Ross are doing a great job to keep the boat in one piece, “we have storm jib and 3 reefs in, but the boat is not liking these conditions, we need to head south as quickly as possible, the quicker we get south the quicker this wind is going to drop.” It was BT who suffered the worst damage today after reporting the coach roof was torn and the boat was two thirds full of water. They set off their emergency EPIRB and are currently awaiting rescue 200 miles from the Azores.

The fleet will be hoping to survive the night and make the turn south west towards the Azores High. HUGO BOSS remain the most northerly boat in the fleet still, with a massive 700 mile north south split between HUGO BOSS and the most southerly boat Foncia. The mood onboard remains as up beat as possible, “All onboard is ok, we did have a bit of a problem with our J3 unfurling in 50 knots of wind, and Ross was on watch so he managed to get it furled away with no damage. Ross is suffering a little bit, he banged his wrist on the first night he has been a real trooper onboard.” This is the first IMOCA race for Ross who has been long term boat captain to Alex over the last 8 years. “Do you know we haven’t had a cup of tea since we left port, and Ross and I are avid tea drinkers!” joked Alex this afternoon from the live broadcast onboard.

1600 GMT positions
Speed: 10.8 knots
Position: 45 33.78 N – 29 53.10 W
Miles to leader: 70 miles
Miles to finish: 3501 miles

Alex Thomson Racing
Transat Jacques Vabre

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