Alex Thomson is having a new Open 60 built in Lymington for Vendee 2008

Record-breaking solo skipper Alex Thomson (GBR) has 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. Led by highly experienced boat builder Neville Hutton and project managed by Jason Carrington, the brand new state-of-the-art Open 60 will be built in Lymington, UK, and will replace Thomson’s current boat after the VELUX 5 OCEANS race.

With over 35 years of experience in the industry and in excess of 30,000 boats to its name, the Finot-Conq design team has been selected by Thomson for its unrivalled pedigree in yacht design. It has an outstanding record in the Vendée Globe, in which Thomson will compete 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,” says Thomson, who is sponsored by stylish fashion house Hugo Boss.

“Jason Carrington is arguably one of the best project managers and composite boat builders in the world and having built Volvo 60s and VO 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.”

Thomson’s role will be crucial in the design and build of the new yacht. Head Boat Builder Neville Hutton has 35 years of experience building custom racing boats, with a considerable amount of success, whilst Jason Carrington has extensive experience both as a professional round-the-world sailor and as a boat builder, having sailed in four Whitbread / Volvo Ocean Races and led the construction team for a Volvo 70 in the recent edition of the race.

“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,” comments Hutton who lists Ellen McArthur’s Kingfisher amongst the projects that he has worked on. “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 Jason Carrington, the new generation Open 60 will be wider and more powerful than the previous generation. “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.” says Carrington. “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.”