Brit Alex finishes Barcelona Race in style
At 05.34 GMT today, HUGO BOSS, the Open 60 racing yacht skippered by Alex Thomson (GBR) and Andrew Cape (AUS), crossed the finish line of the inaugural Barcelona World Race, just off the city of Barcelona, Spain. Exactly 94 days, 17 hours, 34 minutes and 57 seconds since starting the non-stop round-the-world race from Barcelona last November, HUGO BOSS returned to the Spanish host city to a dawn welcome of flares, family and friends. Renowned for doing things a little differently, Thomson and Cape ditched their oilskins as they crossed the line and finished their adventure in style dressed in slick Hugo Boss suits.
The race finish comes as a huge milestone for Briton Alex Thomson, who was dramatically rescued from the Southern Ocean after suffering gear failure during the Velux 5 Oceans race in 2006. The new Open 60 HUGO BOSS was designed and built specifically for Thomson and launched in June last year. After testing the boat’s potential with a third place finish in the Rolex Fastnet Race, this tough 25,000 nautical mile (nm) marathon has proved her true pedigree. In early December, Thomson and Cape broke the 24 hour distance record for a 60 foot monohull yacht, covering 500 nm at an average speed of 20.8 knots.
HUGO BOSS was sadly forced to stop for rudder repairs at Christmas, incurring a 48 hour time penalty in Wellington, before heading back into the treacherous Southern Ocean. With over an 800 nm deficit on the leader after leaving New Zealand, Thomson and Cape reeled in the miles as they approached the Straits of Gibraltar on the final sprint home. They finished the Barcelona World Race less than 57 hours behind the winner, both thrilled with the boat’s performance and vowing to compete in the next edition of the race.
“It’s fantastic to be back here in Barcelona and to see so many supporters welcome us in,” said Alex Thomson on the dockside, relishing the feeling of being back on dry land. “Thanks to Capey for being such a superb co-skipper and to all our team for their support. We got really close to Paprec Virbac during the race and it was a shame we had to stop in Wellington for repairs, but I think they had the edge and deserved to win.”
Thomson continued: “Not finishing the Vendée Globe and then losing a boat in the Velux 5 Oceans race certainly changed me as a sailor. The thought of something breaking is constantly on your mind, especially with so many other boats suffering problems during this race. I hope this proves to everyone that I can finish a race and sail competitively, safely and not just fast!”
Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Race veteran Andrew Cape commented: “I have sailed in numerous round the world races and this has certainly been one of the toughest. To be at sea for such a long period of time with just one other person is hugely wearing on the body and mind. Alex and I have had a great race, and our congratulations go to Damian and Jean-Pierre for a superb performance.”
The next adventure for Alex Thomson will be the Vendée Globe, a solo round the world race which begins on 9th November and has never been won by a Briton. Cape meanwhile has his sights set on returning to fully crewed racing.