What happened with that trawler?

Update: On Friday Alex Thomson’s Open 60Hugo Bosswas holed and dismasted when she was hit by a fishing boat. She was waiting to enter the harbour at Les Sables d’Olonne.

There has been no additional information concerning the repairs planned by Alex Thomson and the Hugo Boss shore team, and the evaluation process continues. A large part of the internal structure of the boat has been damaged at the level of the starboard shroud chain plate, and it will be necessary to rebuild and fill a five metre long, two metre high hole in the side of the boat using the original Hugo Boss mould. For the mast, Alex Thomson believes the solution of repairing the spar, which broke in two, is the most realistic. The conclusions are now likely on Tuesday.

Listen to Alex Thomson’s press conference after the collision. 

On Friday Alex Thomson’s Open 60Hugo Bosswas holed and dismasted when she was hit by a fishing boat. She was waiting to enter the harbour at Les Sables d’Olonne.

At a press conference after the event, Alex Thomson explained what happened. “At 3 a.m. on Friday morning as Hugo Boss was stationary 1.5 miles south of Les Sables d’Olonne with just her mainsail up, with all her lights on, when a fishing boat hit the yacht on the beam. This caused a lot of damage and the mast fell and broke. We quickly cut away the mast and the sail to avoid any further damage and laid down a marker to recover it. We managed to enter the harbour in les Sables d’Olonne at around 4h30 this morning and since then , we have been assessing the damage to know what type of repair is possible and how long it will take.

For the moment (17h00), the Hugo Boss team is in the process of recovering the mast and sail to inspect the rig. For the time being, I haven´t any other information. I have spent four years preparing for this Vendée Globe and I don´t intend to quit now! There are three weeks and two days left before the start. I´m lucky to have a great team around me and have already faced some tough challenges, and on each occasion, we have found the solutions. Until someone tells me I can´t line up for the start on 9th November, you can count on me being there!”

What is the situation with the mast?
“There are several solutions for the mast: the first is to repair it, the second is to make a new one and the third is to use a spare mast from another team. Some of the other teams have offered their help: Dominique Wavre, Yann Eliès and Sébastien Josse.”

Will the repairs be carried out in Les Sables d’Olonne or elsewhere?
“For the moment, Hugo Boss cannot leave Les Sables d’Olonne because of the gaping hole in her hull, which is close to the waterline. We´re going to have to put her into a boatshed to repair her. But the boat will never be quite the same, as so much work has gone into her? “

What did the fishing boat do after the collision?
“She circled around us to make sure everyone on board was safe and sound. Then, she entered the harbour in Les Sables d’Olonne. Then, some sailors came back out in a dinghy to check everything was O.K. My first priority was to ensure the well-being of my crew and the boat, then we informed the emergency services. We were in no immediate danger, which explains why it took a while for this story to spread ashore.”

How many of you were on board?
“Three, with two sleeping and the third person on the deck with all the rigging lit up like a Christmas tree! We had the radar working and the echo-finder? I think it may have been difficult to spot this boat coming up on us, as she was advancing so quickly: the man on watch tried to start the engine, but it was already too late. There were a lot of fishing boats around us with their red or white lights on, in addition to the town lights? Moreover, we were not in the harbour channel to Les Sables d´Olonne.”

Three weeks does not leave you much time?
“It´s not easy to know. We´re going to have to wait for the assessment? The boat´s designers (Jean-Marie Finot and Pascal Conq) have been on board since two this afternoon.”