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Caterham Composites and Alex Thomson racing on the water

News International-French

21 Jun 2012

The first tangible example of the partnership between Caterham Composites and Alex Thomson Racing (ATR) has recently launched with Alex’s new-look boat being presented to the media on the water in Gosport, UK.

Caterham Composites has been actively involved in the refit of Alex’s Vendée Globe 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 AT Racing’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, said: “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 common place in F1 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 added: "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."

Phil Hall, Caterham Composites Managing Director: “We want to make sure Alex’s racing yacht is fast and reliable, and enable Alex to finish each stage of his preparations for the Vendée Globe stronger than before. Alex is an exceptional sailor who we are delighted to support with our knowledge and experience and it is very encouraging to see that our partnership with AT Racing, the first for Caterham Composites within the marine industry, is proving to be a major success for both AT Racing and Caterham Composites.” 


About Caterham Composites

Caterham Composites are the experts in unrivalled lightweight structural solutions. Part of the Caterham Group, Caterham Composites is a specialist company delivering turn-key solutions with a focus on the aerospace, automotive and motor sport industries including Formula One, the leading sector for structural lightweight solutions and applied technology. Through the highest level of involvement, covering more than 25 years, Caterham Composites uses its vast experience to harness groundbreaking technology to tailor cutting edge innovative solutions for all its clients’ needs.


About Alex Thomson Racing

Alex Thomson is the youngest skipper ever to win a round the world race, claiming victory in the 1998/99 Clipper Round the World Race; a record he still holds today. Alex then launched onto the solo racing scene with a bang, breaking the world distance record in 2003. However his first two solo round the world attempts were met with frustration when structural failure of his yacht forced him to retire early from the Vendée Globe 2004 and Velux 5 Oceans Race 2006.

In November 2011, Alex completed the Transat Jacques Vabre double-handed race from Le Havre, France to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, securing another 2nd place podium finish. He is now even more determined to achieve his dream to become the first Briton to win the Vendée Globe, which begins in Les Sables d’Olonne on 10 November 2012.


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