Third place for Thomson in Vendée Race

Alex Thomson Picture: Mark Lloyd Images
Alex Thomson Picture: Mark Lloyd Images
Picture: Lloyd Images

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Alex Thomson arrived into Les Sable d’Olonne, France, yesterday after successfully finishing the Ocean Masters New York to Vendée Race in third place.

Crossing the finishing line at 6.43pm CEST, Thomson completed the race in nine days, 21 hours, three minutes and 34 seconds.

‘This is a fantastic achievement – not only for me but for the entire team,’ said Thomson.

The Ocean Masters New York to Vendée Race is a 3,100-mile single-handed sprint from downtown New York across the Atlantic to Les Sables D’Olonne.

It is the penultimate challenge before the all-important Vendée Globe, which begins in November.

Thomson led for the majority of the race, positioning himself ahead of the 13 other competitors in the fleet and, at times, outpacing them.

However, during the skipper’s fifth night offshore, he experienced difficulties with the autopilot system on-board his IMOCA 60 race boat, HUGO BOSS, and was forced to work through the night to make emergency repairs.

Operating on little sleep, in winds of over 40 knots, Thomson was able to make the vital repairs before fighting his way back to a podium position.

The last few days of the race saw him – together with rival race boats Maitre Coq and Edmond de Rothschild – switch places, as each fought to secure a spot on the podium.

By finishing the race in third position, Thomson has positioned himself as a firm contender to win the upcoming Vendée Globe.

‘Just weeks ago the boat was in the shed, undergoing major repairs,’ added the Gosport sailor.

‘Yesterday we crossed the finish line in third place, in what was an incredibly challenging race.

‘This is a superb achievement, and a testament to the hard work of the whole team.’

Prior to the New York to Vendée Race, Thomson had been forced to retire from the Transat Jacques Vabre (TJV) race, back in November, after his race boat was capsized by a rogue wave while in the Atlantic.

The setback forced Thomson and his team to spend months making significant repairs to the boat, which had only recently been unveiled following a two-year long design and build process.

Now, the British skipper has his sights firmly set on the non-stop, unassisted round the world Vendée Globe race.

‘This result has put us in a fantastic position ahead of the Vendée Globe,’ he said.

‘We are incredibly confident that we have built a racing yacht which is capable of winning the Vendée and its performance in this race has only reinforced that.’