Launched in the summer of 2019, Hugo Boss, the seventh of the name, a VPLP design conceived in partnership with the technical team, including Alex Thomson and Pete Hobson, is characterised by its innovative look and notably its completely enclosed cockpit, exterior visibility largely being provided by cameras.
On the dock in Les Sables d’Olonne prior to the start of the Vendée Globe 2020-2021, Hugo Boss, with her black and fuchsia pink livery and futuristic look, does not go unnoticed. Everything is carried out below deck and the on-board energy is largely supplied by solar panels specially integrated in the deck. The curved foils are also unique.
Despite some stunning performances at race starts, especially on certain points of sail (reaching), the new Hugo Boss finds it a real struggle to finish them. Indeed, the keel pulls out of the boat during the Transat Jacques Vabre 2019 alongside Neal McDonald, but the duo manages to get the boat safely back to land. A major refit ensues. Race favourite in the Vendée Globe 2020-2021, on his fifth participation, the British skipper takes risks to remain at the head of the fleet, not thinking twice about skirting the centre of tropical depression Theta and racking up a staggering average speed. However, the boat’s structure cannot withstand the constant hammering and the longitudinal stringers come unstuck. Despite a makeshift repair at sea, Hugo Boss is handicapped and, in the South Atlantic, her damaged starboard rudder forces the skipper to make for Cape Town and retire from the race.
He also decides to retire from competitive sailing to devote his time to his family, putting what was undoubtedly the most sought after secondhand IMOCA in the fleet on the market. In October 2021, Swiss sailor Alan Roura, the youngest skipper in the previous edition, hits the jackpot and purchases Hugo Boss, and is promptly joined by another prestigious sponsor, Swiss watchmaker Hublot. The new skipper announces that armed with one of the best IMOCAs around he aims to win the Vendée Globe 2024. After a thorough check-up, the only modification being a change of livery, Alan Roura discovers how demanding the machine is, together with her ‘brutality’ and her specificities. He finishes 15th in the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race, then 7th in the Vendée Arctique Les Sables d’Olonne, having clearly found the keys to this avant-garde boat, which launched the trend for enclosed cockpits.