Thomson is attempting to become the first non-Frenchman to win sailing’s greatest solo offshore race
Credit: Getty Images
Alex Thomson’s Vendee Globe hopes have suffered a setback with the British skipper reporting structural damage to his boat Hugo Boss overnight on Saturday.
Thomson, who led the round-the-world race for most of the opening fortnight, has slowed to assess the damage, dropping to third in the official rankings by Sunday morning.
A statement issued overnight said Thomson was working with the team’s appointed naval architects and structural engineers to determine a repair programme and timeline.
“At approximately 19:00 UTC on Saturday 21st November, British Skipper Alex Thomson notified his team on shore of a possible structural issue onboard the HUGO BOSS boat," the statement read.
4/5 Alex is safe and well onboard, and in regular dialogue with the team. The @VendeeGlobeENG race organisation has been notified and is being kept well informed.
— Alex Thomson Racing (@ATRacing99) November 22, 2020
“At the time, Thomson was located approximately 800 miles east of Rio de Janeiro in the South Atlantic ocean, and was 13 days into the Vendée Globe round-the-world yacht race.
“Thomson and his team, together with their appointed naval architects and structural engineers, are now working together to assess the extent of the structural issue and to determine a repair programme and timeline.
“Thomson is safe and well onboard, and in regular dialogue with the team. The Vendée Globe race organisation has been notified and is being kept well informed.
“We kindly ask that members of the public refrain from attempting to contact the team at this time. A further update will be released on Sunday 22nd November.”
The development brought messages of support from his rivals. Charlie Dalin, now lying second on Apivia just behind Thomas Ruyant’s LinkedOut, told the official Vendee Globe website: “I hope it’s not too bad and the extent of the damage is limited. Above all, I hope that this does not mean the end of the Vendée Globe for him. We have a great race with him, and this trio we are in is very stimulating ”.
Pip Hare, one of three British women competing in this edition, tweeted: “Wishing @ATRacing99 all the best of luck in dealing with whatever problem he has. We may be sailing solo, but we’re all together in wishing him a safe and speedy return to the race.”
Thomson is attempting to become the first non-Frenchman to win sailing’s greatest solo offshore race.
He had just told Telegraph Sport how confident he was feeling after surviving an “intense” opening fortnight. “At this stage of the race I couldn’t have asked for any more,” he said, adding that he felt for French rival Jeremie Beyou who had to sail 600 miles back to Les Sables d’Olonne after suffering damage to his boat Charal.
“It can happen to anybody,” Thomson said. “That’s the problem with this race."