Friday, September 05, 2014

Alex Thomson announced today that he will be building a new 60-foot IMOCA

English: SAFRAN, a 60' IMOCA monohull (built 2...
English: SAFRAN, a 60' IMOCA monohull (built 2007), under medium wind in the Quiberon Bay (Brittany, France), on Saturday 20 October, 2007. Photo by Guillaume Le Masson & Jerome Samson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Alex Thomson announced today (Monday) that he will be building a new 60-foot IMOCA for the 2016 Vendée Globe. The monohull designed by VPLP-Verdier is likely to be built at Green Marine. She is due to be launched in the summer of 2015, in order to enable Alex Thomson to compete in the Transat Jacques Vabre, and to achieve his main goal of attempting to win the 2016 Vendee Globe.  
Whilst the IMOCA class has made a number of rule changes to reduce the costs of the class, the investment is still upwards of €3million. The Alex Thomson Racing Team have been sponsored by Hugo Boss since 2003 and have secured continued sponsorship until 2018.  The Team has chosen Guillaume Verdier and the VPLP Team to design the new Hugo Boss. Technical Lead from Alex Thomson Racing, Ross Daniel said “To date we have had an incredible experience with working together with Guillaume and Vincent at VPLP/Verdier. These guys are incredibly down to earth, extremely talented, and have a passion for creating winning IMOCA boats.” 

Aware of the importance of delivering the project on time and on budget, the team understands the significance of having the right project manager and the right builder to lead the project. The Team are currently in negotiations with Hythe based Green Marine to complete the build. Simon McGoldrick, the Team’s Naval Architect said “We hope and believe that the team at Green Marine are the right partner for this project, they are experienced and capable in building custom composites on time and on budget.  Given the choice we would always chose to build the boat in the UK as we are a British Team and want to support the industry and local suppliers that we rely on day to day”.
With or without foils?
Concerning the design features to be found on the new monohull, McGoldrick added, “This Vendèe Globe cycle will be particularly exciting as we will almost certainly see the use of foils not too dissimilar to those used in the Americas Cup.  The foils should significantly increase the performance of the boats, an increase we have not seen since the canting keel was invented.  Today all the simulations are theory based and of course theory can be very different to reality, so it is going to be a fascinating next 12 months to see what emerges”. 
The boat will be launched in summer 2015, with the objective to be race ready to compete in the Transat Jacques Vabre. The believes it is crucial to ensure the build is in phase with the competition.  There are four new boats that have already been announced- Safran, Banque Populaire, Groupe Edmond de Rothschild and Saint-Michel-Virbac. Stuart Hosford, CEO, We want to take advantage of the very latest design thinking, but also get the boat in the water early enough to ensure reliability.  We have a simple objective and that is to put Alex Thomson on the start line, with a boat that is as good, if not better, than all the other boats that will line up on the Ocean Masters circuit”
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