THE RACE BOAT
Alex Thomson Racing acquired the Farr-designed race boat in September 2011. It was built in 2007 and has previously been raced by the Estrella Damm, BT and Veolia Environnement teams.
Open 60 monohull yachts are among the fastest modern racing boats. Built predominantly of carbon fibre, they are designed to be as light as possible and strong enough to withstand the extreme weather conditions that offshore sailing involves. The name 'Open' refers to the freedom that the boat designers have in the design process. There are few limitations other than boat length (60ft/18.3m), depth from the water to the lowest point of the boat (4.5m maximum) and mast height (28m). Open 60 yachts weigh on average between 8 and 10 tonnes.
There are 3km of rope on board the boat, used to hoist a total of about 600 square metres of sail - the equivalent of a football pitch! The ropes, or lines are also used to change the direction of the boat during a tack or gybe. The largest sails can weigh as much as 120kg - more than a rugby player - and Alex can be required to change sails multiple times in a day during a race as the wind conditions change.
Open 60 yachts can travel at top speeds of around 30 to 40 knots. In 2003, Alex broke the 24 hour distance record for a single-handed sailor on a monohull, sailing 468.7 nautical miles at an average speed of 19.5knots. In 2007, he broke the double-handed (2 crew) record, sailing 500 nautical miles in 24 hours at an average speed of 20.9knots.