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Boss speed

Dec 7, 2007 And you think you’re screaming along when you have a 168-mile day. Alex Thomson aboard the Open 60 Hugo Boss just set a record for monohulls up to 60 by covering 500 miles in one day while sailing on the Barcelona World Race.

From the press release: "We just covered 500 miles in 24 hours!" shouted an overjoyed Alex Thomson during today's video conference. As the Barcelona World Race enters its second quarter with the majority of the fleet in the Southern ocean, Hugo Boss has been putting on a real show for the past 48 hours, culminating with a new world record (monohull, up to 60 foot - subject to WSSRC ratification).

Alex Thomson and Andrew Cape are now about to overtake Veolia Environnement and take third place, while the fleet is slightly compressing up in front. Paprec-Virbac is just 1 mile behind race leader PRB!

Wet, wild, shaky... Surely Alex Thomson will remember this ride for the rest of his life, but his first words were for the designers of his new and amazingly fast "baby": "I want to thank Pascal Conq, Jean-Marie Finot and all the team, they've done a fantastic job!" The French design office can certainly be proud of the achievement, and Alex expressed his gratitude even before giving us an account of this incredible feat.

"This is my first 500 mile day! Of course, for Capey it's different because he's already done half a dozen", said the cheerful Alex explaining that the conditions were "wetter and wetter, with thousands and thousands of liters of water" running on deck. "We helm with an ice hockey helmet for protection, and at night you can't see the waves."
A bit like driving a race car with no lights and no windshield on a road laden with pot holes... in the pouring rain! "We have slowed the boat down now to take the pressure off a little", said Alex this afternoon. "This is about winning a race and not about breaking records. We have a long way to go and we must keep the boat together if we are to be competitive."

Only 6 miles away from Veolia Environnement when we spoke to him, Hugo Boss's skipper is obviously expecting to overtake the French tandem, even though as he noted "Bilou is not giving up very easily!" Indeed he isn't, and has also been doing amazing speeds, registering a 470 miles run in 24 hours... which in itself is also better than the 2003 record which Alex just broke! At 16:00 GMT, Hugo Boss was only 126 miles away from PRB in terms of distance to the finish, but more importantly, the leader has Paprec-Virbac 2 just one tiny mile behind her transom and considering the speed advantage Dick and Foxall seem to have (0.7 knots), we may well see a change in leadership soon...