After extensive sea trials, the team discovers a potential problem

In his bid to get to the start line Alex Thomson has been undertaking extensive sea trials on board the repaired Hugo Boss. After three days of trials the team uncovered a potential problem with the main halyard.

“Following the sea trials we were able to confirm that structurally Hugo Boss is fine. The issue with the halyard only came to light after some time on the water sailing, and fortunately for us, we were able to get the boat out sailing in enough time to identify the issue,” explained Harry McGougan, Operations Manager.

The alloy chaff plate within the mast was corroded from the time it spent on the sea bed – following the collision. This corrosion was causing chaffing to the main halyard inside the mast. To rectify the problem, the team used halyards covered in hard jackets, which were wound up and down under load with the aim of polishing the chaff plates. Continuously for 15 hours (throughout last night) the team devised a shift system to hoist the halyard up and down the mast, a total of 1800 times. This has effectively smoothed the corroded area.

“For the amount of wear it has received, the halyard has come out with the acceptable level of chaffing. We are going to be spending the next few days ensuring more precautions are implemented and we will be checking all the other chaffing systems within the boat. The general boat preparation is coming along well, we still expect to be ready to hit the start line,” concluded Harry.

Whilst most Open 60 skippers are preparing mentally for the 26,000 non-stop round the world race, Alex is able to focus on little else but getting to the start line this Sunday:

“Until the incident with the fishing vessel, I felt as prepared as I have ever been for a race. I felt physically strong, mentally ready and after completing the Barcelona World Race in second position and breaking the world distance record – I felt I had a strong chance of becoming the first British skipper to win the Vendée. Since the accident – all I have been able to think and focus on is getting hugo Boss repaired in time for the start.”