Gosport sailor Alex Thomson’s Vendee Globe solo around the world race is over

Luckless Alex Thomson’s dream of becoming the first non-French winner of the Vendee Globe race is over.

Saturday, 28th November 2020, 2:45 pm
Alex Thomson. Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images.

The Gosport-baed sailor has been forced to retire after his £5.5m yacht Hugo Boss suffered damage to the starboard rudder.

The incident occurred on the 19th day of racing, and came hard on the heels of Thomson having to carry out days of repairs following structural damage to the bow.

Thomson disconnected the starboard rudder on Friday night and has since been sailing the yacht with just one rudder.

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After assessing the situation today, the skipper and his team have decided that the only course of action is to cease racing and sail the boat to Cape Town.

Thomson said: ‘Unfortunately, a repair is not possible. We therefore accept that this will be the end of the race for us.

‘Myself, my team and our partners are of course deeply disappointed. We believe the best was yet to come in this race.’

Thomson - who had been leading the race prior to the problems with the bow, is currently approximately 1,800 nautical miles from Cape Town.

It is expected to take him around seven days to make land.

Thomson’s technical team will travel to Cape Town to meet the yacht upon arrival.

This is the sailor’s fifth Vendee Globe and the third team he has had to retire. In 2004/05 he suffered a hole in the deck and in 2008/09 a cracked hull.

Thomson was third in 2012/13 and runner-up in 2016/17.

Frenchman Charlie Dalin is currently leading, around 300 nautical miles ahead of Thomas Ruyan.

Portsmouth-born Samantha Davies is ninth, around 559 nautical miles adrift of the leader.