Caterham Composites, Alex Thomson Racing unveil first boat

Caterham Composites is working with Alex Thomson Racing (ATR) to optimize ATR's boat for the Vendée Globe around-the-world race, which starts in France later this year.

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Caterham Composites (Hürth, Germany) reported on June 15 that the first tangible example of the partnership between Caterham Composites and Alex Thomson Racing (ATR) has recently launched with Alex’s new-look boat presented in Gosport, U.K.

Caterham Composites has been involved in the refit of Alex’s Vendée Globe around-the-world race challenger. The specialists in composite design and manufacture have played an integral role in the refit, including designing and developing several components to improve the boat’s reliability and performance and supporting the team with its extensive composites expertise.

Having left Monaco and headed to Barcelona for more scheduled maintenance, Alex will soon be heading across the Atlantic for more extensive trials before the Vendée Globe starts in November 2012. In Barcelona Alex was joined by Caterham Composites who sent their marine expert to spend five days with ATR’s engineering team to oversee upgrades to the mast and hull structure aimed at maximizing the boat’s reliability and durability for the next round of training exercises and onwards to the Vendée Globe.

Caterham Composites CEO, Mike Gascoyne, who joined Alex during the recent Monaco Grand Prix on board the boat, says, “I am delighted that we can already see the first evidence of how Caterham Composites and Alex Thomson Racing are working together. We have applied the same composite industry-leading expertise we bring to our racing and road car operations to Alex’s Vendée Globe boat and I believe we will see how that will help improve both reliability and outright performance as he takes part in the forthcoming Vendée Globe.

“One specific area of interest for us has been to look at improving the durability of certain key areas of the boat’s composite items. All too often, sailing syndicates head into competition without applying the same rigorous standards to composite design, manufacture and testing that are commonplace in F1 [auto racing] and that is something Caterham Composites has been able to do immediately. The sailing industry can learn huge amounts from the many years of expertise F1 has built up in this area and this is why our partnership with Alex Thomson Racing is such a positive step forward for both Caterham Composites and AT Racing.”

Stewart Hosford, managing director of Alex Thomson Racing, adds, "As we move closer to the Vendée Globe, the focus for the whole team is ensuring that the boat is fully tested and all systems and structures are as reliable as they possibly can be. We strongly believe that is the key element to being successful in this race. During our scheduled maintenance period in Barcelona recently it was great to have members of the team from Caterham Composites working alongside our technical team. The partnership with Caterham Composites is continuing to be a great asset to our team as we are benefiting from their expertise and technology to ensure we're giving Alex and the boat the best opportunities, both over the training miles that he is going to be covering this summer and going into the Vendée Globe in November."

Vendée Globe starts Nov. 10, 2012 at Les Sables-d'Olonne, France, and will end there about 82 days later. Visit www.vendeeglobe.org for more information.

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