VG2020 : Alex Thomson gives up

GOSPORT, GREAT BRITAIN – SEPTEMBER 9: British skipper Alex Thomson is training on Imoca Hugo Boss for the Vendee Globe sailing race off Gosport, United Kingdom, on September 9 2020. (Photo by Alex Thomson Racing)

Unable to repair the starboard rudder, damaged on Friday evening, Alex Thomson (HUGO BOSS) decided to give up completing the 9th Vendée Globe. The British skipper is the second to throw in the towel after Nicolas Troussel on November 16, following the dismasting of CORUM L’Epargne.

Alex Thomson had no choice. Deprived of her damaged starboard rudder last night, the British skipper had been advancing at low speed ever since. Impossible, except to repair, to advance at good speed around the world without a rudder on starboard.

However, as Alex Thomson said in a statement released this Saturday at 3:30 p.m., “A repair is not possible. So we accept that this is the end of the race for us. Myself, my team and our partners are of course deeply disappointed. We think the best was yet to come in this race ”.

Adventure? The Briton did not envisage it and, in any case, a skipper cannot find himself steering the boat, since the autopilot can no longer replace the sailor.

Alex Thomson is currently 1800 nautical miles from Cape Town (Cape Town, South Africa). At 10 knots, her median speed since yesterday, she should reach safe harbor within seven days. For this, he will have to organize his navigation, flat, in order to be able to rely on the port rudder.

Last week, in the top three, the British skipper had to concede some ground to devote time to consolidating a structural bulkhead forward of his IMOCA.

Thomson and the Vendée Globe, a story full of contrasts

Alex Thomson will have been an intensive host of this ninth Vendée Globe, even before the firing of the gun on November 8: his career, his determination, his approach to this round the world tour make the Briton an icon of ocean racing.

His four participations, before these, were lands of contrasts. The adventure, the discovery, began during the Vendée Globe 2004. On board Sill, the former boat of Roland Jourdain, Alex Thomson took the start of his first Vendée Globe, but the Briton had to give up in Cape Town, saw the mule. broken.

In 2008, he set off aboard a Finot-Conq plane, but the story was cut short: even before the departure, his boat was struck violently by a trawler. And despite a good repair to start, Hugo Boss 2 must throw in the towel after four days of racing, hull delaminated.

In 2012, in terms of Bruce Farr Design ex- Estrella Damm, Thomson this time finished in third place in 2013, behind the duo Gabart-Le Cléac’h.

In 2016, in an IMOCA designed by the flagship architectural tandem VPLP-Verdier, and despite damaged foils, HUGO BOSS climbed to second place in the 8th Vendée Globe, in the wheel of Armel Le Cléac’h.

Throughout these years, Alex Thomson has played strong images (the Keel Walk in 2012, the Mast Walk in 2014, the Sky Walk recently), and breathtaking 24-hour lap times – he has the best performance in IMOCA with 536.81 miles. Feats which had made him one of the great contenders for victory in this 9th Vendée Globe, yes, but also a darling of the public.

Charlie Dalin still in the lead

In the 3 pm standings, Charlie Dalin (Apivia) was still leading the race. In the southern seas, the skipper from Le Havre is 296 miles ahead of Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) and 369 over Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!). At this time, 18 boats are tasting or are in the process of tasting the southern seas.


Alex Thomson (HUGO BOSS)

Unfortunately, a repair is not possible. So we accept that this is the end of the race for us. Myself, my team and our partners are of course deeply disappointed. We think the best was yet to come in this race.

Clarisse Crémer (Banque Populaire X)

After a few days in underwater mode where I was not in great physical shape, especially because of the squalls phase which completely messed up my ability to sleep, I’m slowly getting back on my feet! I have the impression that after a fortnight, I had to pass a course and relearn how to live on my boat, as if my body said to itself Ah yes in fact, it is not a joke: we did not go just for a Transatlantic there! It’s not easy to see the little buddies going into a depression that I can’t follow because I’m too far behind, but at least I still have a few hours of respite and then the road is long… And I am not not alone: ​​Romain (Attanasio) as a hare, Alan (Roura) as a hunter… I am not particularly a “hunting fan” but I hope to be the doe who overtakes the hare without being fooled by the hunter.

Maxime Sorel (V and B – Mayenne)

There, there is a cloud eating away, the sea is starting to grow and the temperatures are dropping … We are still on the port tack, it will take a left, we will jibe, approach the ice zone. We are starting to be in the systems of the great South. I’m going to jibe 70 miles from Tristan De Cunha Island, I’ll find myself between it and Gough Island but I’m not going to see land. I haven’t seen an albatross yet. The South Atlantic part was long, it gave us plenty of time to reflect on ourselves… It was quite an interesting road for that, it was a great introspection! The Cape of Good Hope is still a bit far away: I should cross it between December 1 and 2 depending on the routing. Spending so many days at sea is really new to me, it’s the great discovery. Yesterday I felt like I was on the doorstep of something I didn’t know. I have a little apprehension, a little fear and stress. Apparently it’s hostile and it’s a little scary! You can still feel them during the twenty days at sea. But the days go by very quickly and, when you think about the number of days left to do, it seems a lot!

Damien Seguin (Groupe APICIL)

My arm is no longer a problem: there is no longer any problem because I took good care of myself and I followed the doctor’s instructions to the letter! I cleaned everything up yesterday morning, took off the bandage and changed it. I am still careful in the maneuvers. There, we got to the heart of the matter last night with a nice depression in the buttocks: it feels good to move forward, but it’s a bit like the signature of the South Seas. Even though we’ve been prepared for it, it’s been a big change of pace from the last few days. We have good averages. Now we will have to go beyond the Cape of Good Hope and concentrate on the passage of the front. We must preserve the equipment, but for the moment, the big difference with the Northern Hemisphere is that we are caught up by the weather phenomena, unlike “at home”. It’s a little new for me to have depression in my butt …

Photo Credit : Alex Thomson Racing

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