The yacht carrying Lewis Hamilton for his first taste of sea racing managed to collide with another boat before the starting gun was fired – and then faced disqualification.
Hamilton was aboard the Open 60 Hugo Boss, alongside Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie and world record-holding sailor Alex Thomson, when it was involved in the incident before the Round the Island Race yesterday morning.
But we should say, before the temptation to draw silly comparisons with his pit lane incident in Canada or his disputed chicane cutting in France becomes too strong, that the F1 driver was not involved in sailing the boat.
Rather, a race spokesman said, he was “sat out on the weather rail, clearly enjoying himself.”
Slated for a 6am starting slot, and among the first competitors to get under way, the Open 60 Hugo Boss collided with the Farr 45 Atomic, which was dismasted.
Its bowsprit was damaged but it was able to continue the race. However it was subsequently disqualified.
Hugo Boss is an official McLaren partner as well as being involved in sailing sponsorship. According to the team website: “Sports sponsorship activities invest the BOSS core brand with an aura of success, fascination and dynamism.
“Part of this integrated sponsorship programme is the partnership with McLaren in the Formula 1 World Championship which first began in 1981 and is now the longest sponsorship in sporting history.
“As part of the agreement, the company outfits the entire team in tailor-made and specially designed functional apparel. Furthermore, BOSS also design and provide clothing for employees who work in the manufacturing and assembly areas at the McLaren Technology Centre.”
Hamilton told Sporting Life that he enjoyed his sailing experience despite the crash.
He said: “I am gutted because it is a beautiful boat and I have been to the front and the bow has been snapped off.
“This is the first time I have been on a sailing boat. It is very technical and the cool thing is it has a lot in common with Formula One.
“It is very complex and I was very fortunate they allowed me to drive it for 30-40 minutes but surprisingly I did a pretty good job.
“Working with Ben Ainslie has been phenomenal, especially with him on the same boat telling me I am doing a good job. This is one of the coolest things I have ever done and I will hopefully I will be invited here again.”
Also taking part in the Round the Island Race, which is an annual event in which competitors tackle a 50-mile course round the Isle of Wight, were Dame Ellen MacArthur, Britain’s America’s Cup strategist Rob Greenhalgh and Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson.
The race attracted a record entry of 1,875 competitors this year.