For the past 6 months I have been working with Alex Thomson Racing’s management company “5 West” in my search to find a partner for my Vendee Globe Project USA.
Our cooperation took another step recently, when I was asked to race onboard HUGO BOSS for the upcoming Ocean Masters race, a double-handed transatlantic from New York to Barcelona, starting on June 1st.
Alex needs to be home for the birth of his second child, due in the first week of June and has asked me to take his place. This is an incredible opportunity for me, and I am very proud to have Alex and HUGO BOSS put their trust in me to fill his shoes in such an important way.
The boat is the ex Virbac-Paprec 3, sailed to 4th place by Jean-Pierre Dick in the last Vendee Globe and winner of the Barcelona World Race 2010. It’s a latest generation VPLP-Verdier design; the same hull as winner Macif with a different deck layout. It’s a quantum leap ahead of Neutrogena that I sailed in the BWR in 2010, and one of the fastest boats in the fleet today. Each time we’ve been out sailing over the past couple of weeks I’ve been floored by its sheer speed and ease of handling.
Along with an incredible boat, I have the privilege of sailing with Pepe Ribes, who needs no introduction here. FOUR times around the world in the Volvo Ocean Race, at least TWO Americas Cup campaigns, and 4th place just ahead of me in the last Barcelona World Race, Pepe is a wealth of knowledge and experience. He’s hugely competitive and a great guy to go sailing with. As serious on the water as he is relaxed off it, I could not ask for a better team mate.
So, I have been in Gosport, UK at the ATR base working with the team for the past few weeks, training and helping prepare the boat and we are due to leave for the US on April 22nd. We will be in New York at North Cove Marina from approx. May 11th -19th and will arrive in Newport on May 20th to prepare for the warm up race from Newport back to New York starting on May 24th. From May 26th there will be a race village set up at North Cove and on the 29th we have another ‘friendly’ race on the Hudson. If you are in the area, come and see the boats, and feel free to say hello!
As for the race itself, what an awesome racetrack; leaving iconic New York City to hook into a depression, ride it to the Portuguese trades, and then through the tactically challenging Mediterranean to my favorite European city of Barcelona, which also happens to be Pepe’s current hometown.
We’re going to be gunning for a HUGO BOSS win, and all the pieces are in place to make it happen!