Alex Thomson with a design/build update on his new, powerful Open 60 30/8/06

In May this year Alex Thomson announced plans to build a new Groupe Finot design Open 60 to be launched in spring 2007, in time for the Barcelona World Race 2007. The brand-new, state-of-the-art Open 60 project to be led by Jason Carrington and built by Lymington (UK) based boat builder Neville Hutton will replace Thomson’s current Hugo Boss after the Velux 5 Oceans race which starts in eight week’s time.

Commenting on his choice of design and build team Thomson said: “With over 35 years of experience in the industry and in excess of 30,000 boats to its name, I really felt the Finot-Conq design team has an unrivalled pedigree in yacht design. They have an outstanding record in the Vendée Globe, my ultimate goal in 2008.

“Of the five races run since the inaugural Vendée Globe in 1989, four of the winning boats were Groupe Finot designed and I feel that this team has the most to offer the project.

“Our project manager, Jason Carrington, is arguably one of the best project managers and composite boat builders in the world and having built Volvo 60s and 70s and competed on them, he certainly knows his stuff. Neville Hutton has a proven track record in boat building, and together with Finot-Conq we will build a new boat, which is at the cutting-edge of technology and is totally custom built to suit my style of sailing.”

Although Thomson has been very much involved in the design of the new yacht he will have to step back during the build process because the majority of this will take place while he’s competing in the Velux 5 Oceans Race.

Chatting about the build process plans Hutton commented: “Jason and I have put together an expert team of boat builders who have worked with the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race. It is very exciting to be involved with an Open 60 campaign. They are very fast, extreme boats and the people who sail them are highly talented. It’s a pleasure to work with someone like Alex who exudes so much enthusiasm that it all rubs off on the rest of the team.”

According to Carrington, the new generation Open 60 will be wider and more powerful than the previous generation adding: “There is not much more that we can reveal at this stage, but we certainly have a few ideas which we will be discussing with the Finot-Conq design team. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but I am really looking forward to working with both Finot-Conq and Neville. The project will get more and more exciting as it develops and I feel the whole team is committed to produce a special boat for Alex.”