Alex Thomson Racing, whose HUGO BOSS sailboat, an IMOCA 60, has one of the world’s first Oceanvolt Servoprop electric propulsion systems, is about to start the world’s premier sailboat race, the Vendée Globe, on November 8th in two days. We at Green Yachts are excited to see Alex Thomson isn’t the first electric sailboat to enter the Vendée Globe.
In 2016, New Zealander Conrad Colman made history, when he crossed the finish line of the Vendée Globe in 16th place having burned zero fuel because his sailboat had a electric propulsion system that was supplied by renewable energy from solar and hydroregeneration, the first time an electric sailboat and zero-emission boat competed in an around the world race. Conrad completed the race in 110 days, 1 hour, 58 minutes and 41 seconds after sailing 27,929 miles and averaging 10.57 knots. Conrad had been in 10th place until the last days of the race when late on the evening of Friday 10th February 250 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal, Colman’s boat was demasted. Out of food and eating the rations off his emergency life raft, he and his crew constructed and stepped a remarkable jury rig which allowed him to sail the final 740 miles to become the first electric sailboat to finish the Vendée Globe. an electric sailboat demonstrating the viability of electric sailboats competing at the highest level of sailboat racing.
Now, Alex Thomson is building on the Conrad Coleman’s pioneering leadership of electric propulsion in the 2020-2021 Vendée Globe with an electric propulsion that adds a competitive advantage because it is lighter than a diesel engine and through solar and hydroregeneration can supply the vast amount of energy used by the advanced electronics and communication aboard. Will Alex finish? Will he best Coleman’s 16th place and become the highest placing entrant using an electric motor? Will he become the first British sailor to win the race?