The start of last year was spent finishing the repairs to Hugo Boss after the Route du Rhum where Alex Thomson finished second after receiving a time penalty. We completed the repairs in Antigua and then took the boat to Mexico to provide Hugo Boss with some fantastic sailing off the coast of Cancun. Last year we spent a lot of time on both the old Hugo Boss and the new one but that’s not to say we haven’t had a very busy year with a number of different boats also.
Last year being a Fastnet race year meant that race boats large and small descended onto the South Coast in the early Summer. Most of which had just completed a few thousand miles crossing the Atlantic either racing or in delivery mode and had the wounds to show for it. While Alex and Will were hurriedly working on the commissioning of the brand new VPLP designed Hugo Boss 7, we were also preparing and repairing boats in anticipation of what is historically one of the hardest races in the offshore calendar. The biennial race, which starts at Cowes in the Isle of Wight and finishes in Plymouth in Devon, hosted 388 boats of which we were working with a number of to achieve success. Many of which following the race had to quickly get down to the Mediterranean to continue their racing programme for the year meaning the work we did pre-Fastnet had to last.
One of the boats we were preparing, the Finnish Xp44 Xtra Stærk, was one such boat that had to go onto a ship quickly post Fastnet to get down to Malta to participate in the Middle Sea Race. This gave Alex the opportunity to be able to sail with the team and see first-hand the improvements we had made. Incidentally I am writing this recap of the year whilst on a plane to Helsinki to celebrate the great year the Xtra Stærk team have had and to discuss their plans for this year and next.....watch this space!
Other racing last year saw Will sailing onboard Inoui again for the St Barths Bucket in the Caribbean. One of the most prestigious and glamorous races held on the French Caribbean island known for its opulence and style, not to mention perfect sailing conditions. We also raced our own boat Cumara in Cowes Week again which turned out to be an exciting week of strong winds and some new top speeds.
Other exciting events last year included the acquisition of our new workshop premises in Trafalgar Wharf at the top of Portsmouth Harbour. The new shop has allowed us the space to increase capacity when required and positions us geographically in the ideal position to be able to work anywhere along the South Coast. It has also given us the space to be able to improve our services with specific winch and deck gear servicing facilities.
Finally, other changes in 2019 included personnel changes. Olly Young has moved on to work in France as the boat captain for the new Leyton Multi 50 and in his place Alex Grant joined us. Alex started with us after finishing a long stint abroad sailing super yachts. He brings with him a wide knowledge of the sailing industry and experience racing and preparing a number of different types of yachts.
Onto 2020 which feels like we are hurtling into at a vast rate of knots. It's set to be busy. Will is overseeing the preparation of the current Hugo Boss up until the Vendee Globe start in November. And Alex will be looking after our current clients' needs in the UK and abroad, as well as being on hand to assist with any new enquires. We’re also starting to talk to clients about some very exciting projects coming up as we move into the new year.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank both our clients and suppliers for their support over the last year and we look forward to working with you in the future.