Highfield Boats, the world’s leading aluminium RIB supplier, was finally able to reveal its brand new ultra-high specification support RIB for Alex Thompson’s next campaign when the new HUGO BOSS IMOCA 60 was christened just a few weeks ago.

The HUGO BOSS support RIB was built and fitted out in the utmost secrecy.  Using the base template of Highfield’s popular 8.5m hull, the RIB has been customised especially for the Alex Thompson Racing Team.  It is the highest specification RIB ever built by Highfield, which has a formidable track record in supplying RIB fleets to world class sailing events and sophisticated military applications alike.

The support RIB will serve a number of purposes – to be a highly visual symbol of the HUGO BOSS campaign, accommodate guests in extreme comfort over considerable distances and be able to support the IMOCA race boat with towing, moving and transferring people and equipment. Amongst the many additional features are a super-strong rear towing extension, stereo system with sub-woofers, LED lighting and comfortable bucket seats for passengers.  The graphics on the RIB create the same high impact as those on the yacht.

The RIB is powered by twin 250 hp Honda outboards providing highly economical fuel consumption as part of Honda Europe’s commitment as a long term engine partner to both Highfield Boats and Alex Thompson Racing. The RIB’s extra-large fuel tank gives it a range of up to 300 nautical miles, so that it is able to be out at sea rendezvous-ing with the yacht over long distances. At the same time title sponsor HUGO BOSS’s valued guests and supporters will be able to experience the thrill of speeds of up to 55 knots.

“Having access to a well-designed, reliable RIB for use in the many locations in which we operate is crucial for our team” said skipper Alex Thomson. “When it came to selecting a partner Highfield Boats was the clear choice for us because of its broad product range and reputation for durability and performance. Our custom-designed RIB is the perfect way for our team, and our guests to travel.”

The ethos of caring for the planet follows right through the HUGO BOSS campaign.  While the new IMOCA yacht itself will be fossil fuel free with its electric battery systems, Highfield Boats follows a similar green pathway.  All the aluminium hulls in the Highfield range are able to be fully recycled.

Steve Harrison, European Brand Manager for Highfield Boats, expands on the partnership. “Our relationship with the IMOCA fleet just keeps growing ever stronger since we supplied a fleet of 50 Highfield RIBs to the 2016 start of Vendee Globe,” he says, adding: “When aspiring to work with world-renowned sailors, you don’t look much further than Alex Thomson. Developing a high tech, high powered chase RIB for such a high tech IMOCA has been an incredible project for us.”

Alex Thompson Racing Team is now one of six IMOCA racing teams that Highfield supports but HUGO BOSS is the most iconic of them all.  “We knew when we formed the partnership with such a high-end global icon we had to build something really exceptional,” continues Harrison.

The custom-branded black RIB mirrors the brand identity of the racing yacht. A striking pink A-frame echoes the fluro pink showcased on the boat’s coach roof, keel and rudders, while the canopy features the same carbon-inspired silver pattern seen on the foredeck of HUGO BOSS, devised by industrial designer Karim Rashid.

The Highfield Boats – Alex Thompson Racing contract will run through to the end of 2021.  Highfield will be supporting HUGO BOSS right from the first event, the Transat Jacques Vabre, and ultimately the solo around the world Vendée Globe in November 2020.

The custom RIB is just one example of Highfield’s bespoke capabilities for a wide range of applications from small tenders to ocean going vessels.  The HUGO BOSS RIB, like a number of other custom boats from Highfield, was fitted out in the UK by Highfield’s partners Rob Perry Marine.

Highfield Boats has built a reputation as the ‘go to’ trusted supplier for some of the world’s biggest sailing events.  The RIB fleets are used for crowd control, escorts to competing yachts, sponsor hospitality and on the water management. As well as for the 2016 Vendee Globe the company has provided a security fleet for the PAN AM games and RIBs to the ORC and TP52 Championships in 2017, the Extreme Sailing Series in 2017/2018, the Invictus Games 2018 in Sydney, Route du Rhum in 2018 and again for the 2019 ORC Championships. Highfield Boats also supplies tenders to many of the world’s leading shipyards to equip their luxury cruising yachts.

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