Hugo Boss might be repairable, but do the cracks go deeper?


As poor Alex Thomson nurses his wounded Hugo Boss back to Les Sables d’Olonne today after discovering a crack in the hull, his team will frantically be trying to work out how to repair the boat and whether it can be done well enough in time to restart by the Vendée Globe deadline next Wednesday.

The latest press release says that the crack ‘is located between the aft keelbox and bulkhead’. That could easily be the result of the collision with a fishing boat two weeks ago because, at moment of impact, there must have been a considerable twisting force on the hull of Hugo Boss and it is in this highly loaded area that consequential damage is likeliest.

If the crack is on the keelbox, I’m told that might not be too serious or too difficult to repair. The bulkheads forward and aft of the keelbox are very high load areas, but although bonded to these the keelbox itself is not under a lot of load; its main purpose is to keep water out.

If it is merely a case of beefing up the keelbox area, Alex will be able to get back out again. But his worry will be if whether there are more problems lying in wait.

Whatever the case, if he goes again it will surely be with even less confidence in his boat. That will make this race a hugely stressful few months. How comfortable would he be going up to those record 24-hour speeds again?