It has been a week since the incident involving a French fishing vessel and HUGO BOSS. The team at Alex Thomson Racing have been working around the clock to manage the repair to the boat. HUGO BOSS was moved from her temporary home in the commercial docks of Les Sables d’Olonne to a local boat yard called ‘Feeling’ owned by Alliaura Marine on Tuesday. The 25 strong build and operational team is now in place and work on HUGO BOSS is underway.
The build team set about cutting a section of the damaged hull yesterday (23/10/08). The damaged area, approximately 3.5m x 2m, has been removed and prepared for the new single skin to be fitted. The section which has been cut, is larger than the damaged area itself, this is needed in order to create a structurally sound section when it is re-built. The single skin, (made from carbon fibre), has been manufactured from the mould of another Open 60; Generali. A team from Multiplast in Vannes, France have been producing this new section. It is expected to be delivered to HUGO BOSS later this afternoon (24/10/08) and the team will begin work fitting the new skin on Saturday morning. Southern Spars New Zealand, have produced the new section of mast which will be delivered to Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday evening. The team headed up by David Barnaby from Southern Spars have already begun preparing the damaged sections of the existing mast, and the sleeve repair process should begin on Monday (27/10/08).
Other suppliers such Future Fibres are hard at work to deliver components to the team on the ground. For Future Fibres this requires replacing all the rigging to the boat in time for the race start. “Hugo Boss is an extremely important customer for Future Fibres. The moment we heard about the incident we began to prepare the for an emergency set of rigging around an already full production schedule. Once the call came from Alex giving the go ahead we started work immediately. The complete set of rigging will be dispatched within six working days. Future Fibres CEO, Ewan Mclellan, owner Tom Hutchinson and myself will be in Les Sable for to ensure there are no last minute problems. Everyone at Future Fibres wish Alex and his team the very best of luck with the repairs to the boat and look forward to seeing him on the startline!” Miles Amin, Technical Sales, Future Fibres.
The priority for the team on the ground right now is to manage a strong repair, but also a fast one. This will be a difficult to balance, but crucial to the team’s goal of making the start line. Once the structural repair has been completed the boat will need to be lifted back into the water and the mast stepped. It is crucial to the preparation for the Vendée Globe that the team at Alex Thomson Racing has the opportunity to test the boat on the water before the start of the race on November 9th.
“We have a team working around the clock to get the job done. There are a huge amount of logistics involved, not only in getting all the parts here, but making sure they are here on time. If the repair goes as planned, we hope to have a small window in which to test sail the boat and make sure the systems are in working order. This will be crucial in making sure the repair has been a success,” Harry McGougan, Alex Thomson Racing Operations Director.