Alex Thomson's eye-catching, new generation Finot-ConqOpen 60 hits the water 19/7/07

British solo sailor Alex Thomson took the helm of his brand-new, new generation Open 60 Hugo Boss for the first time this week.

According to Thomson, this state-of-the-art racing machine is faster and more powerful than her predecessor and looks like no other on the Open 60 circuit. Thomson’s previous Hugo Boss suffered keel failure in the Southern Ocean in November 2006 see previous news story here. 

The new yacht was designed by Finot-Conq over an 18-month period to be a top competitor in the Barcelona World Race 2007 and the Vendée Globe 2008. Project managed by Jason Carrington and built by Neville Hutton in the UK, she is guaranteed to turn heads when she competes in Cowes Week and the Fastnet Race in a few weeks’ time.

Construction began on Thomson’s new generation Open 60 in October 2006 at Hutton’s Boatyard in Lymington. She was built from a female mould and is the result of extensive research, including a comprehensive campaign of tank testing, CFD and routing simulation, followed by 26,000 hours of building.

Despite being notably lighter, the new Hugo Boss is significantly wider and therefore more powerful than her predecessor. She has been engineered by a team from SP Technologies led by Paolo Manganelli, using Kevlar honeycomb and Corecell core materials with Gurit custom optimized pre-preg carbon. The concept of this new boat is ‘powerful, simple and light’.

A key feature of the yacht’s deck configuration is the twin coach roofs giving a unique stylish appearance. The two steering wheels sit behind the coach roofs and the satellite dome is located on the foredeck in front of the mast. This deck layout offers greater protection for the helmsman and excellent visibility while driving.

She has an innovative carbonfibre canting keel, which was built by Multiplast in France and is instrumental to her performance. Technically, an innovative and complex element, it was manufactured in collaboration with an aeronautical sub-contractor in order to ensure a high degree of precision.

The mast is from Southern Spars and is a development of the mast on Thomson’s previous Open 60. However, the British sailor has chosen Future Fibres to supply the standing rigging and for the sails Thomson and his team have selected North Sails New Zealand. Sail Designer Gautier Sergent has been involved with the project from inception and has been instrumental in developing the right sail plan for Thomson’s sailing style.

Thomson was forced to abandon his previous HUGO BOSS Open 60 when she suffered keel failure in the Southern Ocean in November 2006. However his retirement from the VELUX 5 Oceans has enabled him to be involved throughout the decision process of the new boat build, ensuring that she is totally custom built to his style of sailing.