HUGO BOSS moves from fourth to second in VELUX 5 Oceans

Saturday, 18 November 2006

British solo skipper Alex Thomson, one of the favourites in the VELUX 5 Oceans race, has climbed from fourth to second place aboard his yacht HUGO BOSS. He passed Kojiro Shiraishi on Spirit of Yukoh (JPN) yesterday afternoon and Mike Golding’s Ecover (GBR) late last night. The race to Fremantle (AUS) is hotting up, with Thomson leading Golding by approximately 76 nautical miles as they head into the remote freezing wastes of the Southern Ocean. Bernard Stamm (SUI) continues to lead the race. 

Earlier this week, Thomson made an astute tactical decision to break away from the leading pack and head south-west around an area of high pressure that was blocking his path to the Southern Ocean. Despite covering many extra miles heading in the opposite direction to Fremantle, HUGO BOSS benefited from more wind than Ecover and Spirit of Yukoh which both got caught up in the high pressure. Yesterday was the moment of truth and Thomson’s course paid off. 

“At times last night I was averaging more than 30 knots,” said Thomson this morning. “It is quite hairy and extremely noisy, but I am absolutely loving it! I am conscious of maintaining that balance between speed and safety, but occasionally the adrenalin takes over. It’s a great feeling to be in second place and I am really pleased with the navigational choices I have made.” 

Thomson is 700 nautical miles from the next waypoint at 44°S 0°E, which all the boats must leave to starboard. HUGO BOSS will then dive further south into the icy cold depths of Latitude 50°, otherwise known as the Furious Fifties. This is what many sailors strive for, providing some of the most exhilarating and extreme sailing on the planet. It is also an area they fear the most, where they can encounter 50 foot rolling waves and must be constantly on the lookout for icebergs. Entirely exposed to the elements, the skippers will be completely at one with nature; thousands of miles from any land and their only company the occasional albatross or whale. 

“I have now passed the area where I was forced to retire from the Vendée Globe and I have never sailed in this part of the Southern Ocean,” says Thomson. “It was great to sight my first albatross - I am sure they will be with me all the way as we head further south.” 

The first yachts are expected to arrive in Fremantle, Australia, anytime from 6 December. The VELUX 5 Oceans will depart Australia for leg two on 7 January, headed for Norfolk, USA, before returning to Spain at the end of April 2007.


Last Updated ( Saturday, 18 November 2006 )