Sponsorship of offshore racing has big risks. While Hugo Boss has been getting loads of media coverage over the last few weeks, it’s not the kind they would have been hoping for.
Alex Thomson has officially retired from the Vendee Globe race today. The damage sustained to his IMOCA Open 60 yacht HUGO BOSS on Monday night is not repairable by next Wednesday’s restart deadline. It is thought the damage was sustained by a collision with a submerged object.
There is a transverse crack that runs through the outer and inner skin of the boat. The crack extends 5 metres to almost the centreline. The unidirectional fibres that make up the outside layer of the boat have peeled off from the start of the crack to the back of the boat. There is also a 10cm x 10cm compression to the hull which has pushed the core in and a deflection inside the hull.
Alex Thomson speaking on news that HUGO BOSS cannot be repaired in time for the restart: “They think that the repairs are going take a matter of weeks not a matter of days, so it means I’m out of the race, that that’s, the end. So four years and this is where we get to, it’s very disappointing. But enough’s enough, we’ve looked at it and if there was a possibility of fixing it we’d fix it. But apparently there isn’t a possibility. ”
“It’s just awful, not just for me but the team, you know we worked really hard and built a new boat, just to get ready for this one race, and to be out of it just three days in just doesn’t feel right at all, it feels very hard to be back here again.”
Asked if Thomson’s dream of completing the Vendee Globe is over: “We will be back here in 2012 to do it again, we are not going to give up now. We know we’ve got a great team of people and the dream isn’t over for sure, we’re just going to have to put it off for a while .”
“It’s gutting, I feel very sad not only for me, but also my sponsors and the team. These things happen in sailing, you just have to pick yourself up and move forward, my Vendee dreams are not over.” Concluded Thomson.
Speaking to Pascal Conq this morning he explained their thoughts on what could have happened to cause the 5metre long crack. “There is an area of compression on the hull, which has also pushed the core in, plus there is a deflection inside the inside the hull which would signify an impact with something underwater. We have ruled out panel failure from the boat slamming into the waves as the panels run in the wrong direction for the crack.”
Asked if the structural damage was in anyway related to the fishing boat impact last month. “Of course at this stage we can’t say this isn’t anything to do with the fishing boat impact, we will continue to investigate.” Explained Pascal Conq, the designer of HUGO BOSS.