Why clubbing in Ibiza is all part of Alex Thomson's racing plans
To Ibiza to sail on Alex Thomson’s new Hugo Boss, the IMOCA 60 formerly known as Pindar.
This is a job I’m really looking forward to because the forecast today is for 30-35 knots from the north-west. In the lee of the island, we should be able to get the über-powerful Juan K-designed Hugo Boss up to fire hose speeds – provided she can be extracted from the marina without too much excitement.
Why Ibiza, though? That’s what I wanted to know. And I was told it was because the season for closing parties.
September sees the end-of-season parties at Ibiza’s famous nightclubs, a high point on the calendar, apparently, for the top DJs, fashionistas, party animals and slebs.
So it’s a big focus for Hugo Boss’s fashion-centric corporate hospitality, and there is a very busy programme here for Alex and his team. So much so that it has been a squeeze to find a slot for a few yachting journalists; we have been allocated half a day on the water tomorrow. The specialised attentions of the marine world is low down the priority list.
But before the fast life afloat, the fast life ashore. And here, I’m afraid, we yachting scribes are hopeless milksops. Not one of us rushed for the mentioned VIP tickets for Pacha (mega-famous club. No? Me neither). We were all thinking about the sleep we’d miss, and how that would feel in 35 knots of wind today.
“What time does it go on to?” someone other than me thankfully asked.
“Seven in the morning.”
You know you’re getting old when you’d be happy to do the last hour – maybe have breakfast there?
It’s all a long way from round the world racing, but the image of daredevil speed, edginess and glamour is exactly the Hugo Boss sponsorship is all about. I’m reminded by Stewart Hosford, the newish managing director of Alex Thomson Racing, that the Hugo Boss deal is one of the very, very few sailing sponsorships that is entirely business case-led, not the result of a CEO’s or some top executive’s personal interest.
Hopefully that gives it some protection from being guillotined if there is a big departure at the top.
But the tour of the Mediterranean’s grooviest spots, the corporate days out and the clubbing are immaterial to sailing success on the water. I’m just about to see what the big sums spent by Alex and his team on this now rather weird-looking boat (see the photo above) have achieved – and whether the new incarnation is as blisteringly fast as everyone says.
More on that on Monday.