Alex Thomson is fast, but can he and Capey hold the Hugo Boss beast back?


Bravo to Alex Thomson and Andrew Cape, who spiced up Barcelona World Race news yesterday with a corking story. They are claiming a new speed record for Open 60s, a hair-raising 499.22 miles in the new Hugo Boss, thereby beating Alex’s own record in the old Hugo by 31 miles.

You can work out the average speed statistically, but I’d say they’ll have been sitting on 25 knots plus a lot of that time.

When Alex set the last record on his first ever solo Open 60 race, Mike Golding commented in a TV interview that Alex wouldn’t do that when he had more experience. It sounded a wee bit churlish but it was meant exactly as it was said: he would soon learn not to push a boat to such extremes.

The French, who follow solo sailors more closely than we do, doubt that Alex has learned, and think he’s fast but a bit of a crash and burn merchant. Clearly this is an image he wishes to shake off and yesterday he said: “We have slowed the boat down now to take the pressure off a little. This is about winning a race and not about breaking records. We have a long way to go and we must keep the boat together if we are to be competitive.”

He also said, apropos his new boat: “When I broke the record on my last boat in 2003, the average wind speed was 35 knots, compared to just 23 knots which we have experienced over the past 24 hours. The new Hugo Boss is a beast – there is no doubt about it!”

Photo by Oliver Bossecker