Please select your home edition
Edition
SOUTHERN-SPARS-AGLAIA-SPARS_728X90 TOP

Alex Thomson: "This race has consumed me for the past 20 years"

by Alex Thomson Racing 5 Nov 2020 09:42 PST 8 November 2020
Alex Thomson set for the Vendée Globe © Alex Thomson Racing

Alex Thomson is just days away from beginning a sporting challenge widely regarded as one of the toughest in the world today.

The 46-year-old from Gosport, Hampshire will depart on Sunday (8th November) onboard his HUGO BOSS boat from Les Sables-D'Olonne on France's west coast to begin the Vendée Globe - a 24,000-mile, solo, non-stop, unassisted race around the world.

This will be Thomson's fifth attempt at conquering what remains the ultimate prize in solo sailing, one which takes place just every four years and has only ever been won by a French skipper. Having finished third in 2012-13 and second in 2016-17, Thomson finds himself one of the favourites heading into the 2020 edition.

Together with 32 other skippers, Thomson will begin the race on Sunday 'behind closed doors' after the Vendée Globe's famous race village - which, every four years attracts some two million visitors - was forced to close amid France's national COVID-19 confinement measures. Thomson, like his rivals, will have spent the seven days prior to the start of the race in isolation, and will depart dry land on Sunday in the absence of a roaring crowd.

"The race start is going to look very different this time around and I feel very sad that I won't be able to meet all the fans and wave to the spectators along the canal" said Thomson "That moment is really something special, the atmosphere is incredible. That being said, this race was made to be consumed digitally so I think this is a real opportunity for us to engage people all over the world via the internet. This sport has so much to offer and it's our job to tell that story."

Together with their Technology Partner, Nokia Bell Labs, the British sailing team have installed an array of nine cameras across the HUGO BOSS racing boat, which will enable Thomson to record and stream content for fans even from the middle of the ocean. For the very first time, fans will also be able to view data around the clock, including insight into Thomson's sleep patterns, activity levels, calories burned and heart rate.

"The pandemic has given us more reason than ever before to use technology to encourage people to follow the race online" he continued. "We're going to do our very best to make the public feel like they're onboard HUGO BOSS with me. I'm looking forward to entertaining everyone!"

Thomson won the hearts of people around the world in the 2016-17 edition of the Vendée Globe when, after breaking the hydrofoil of his boat just 11 days into the race, he went on to vie for the title, losing out to the winner - Armel Le Cléac'h - by just 24-hours, after 74 days, 19 hours and 35 minutes at sea. This time around, the Brit believes new records will be set:

"These boats are incredibly fast and incredibly physical so I certainly think we could see a winning time well under 70 days. But I'm not going out there hunting for records. It doesn't matter how long it takes us; what matters is that we finish the race and I think if we can do that, we stand a very good chance of being at the front."

For the past 17 years, the British sailing team - together with its Title Partner, HUGO BOSS, has set its sights on gold in the Vendée Globe. "Third, second - there's only really one place to go! So yes of course we want to win it. This race has consumed me for the past 20 years so it's difficult to put into words what a win would mean. But I won't allow myself to think about that just yet..."

Related Articles

Tanguy Le Turquais, dreaming big
Working his way up to achieve his goal of competing in 2024 Vendée Globe After recently acquiring an IMOCA, Tanguy Le Turquais is methodically working his way up to achieve his goal of competing in the 2024 Vendée Globe. Posted on 22 Jan
The dream builders
Putting together all of the building blocks for a successful Vendée Globe project Putting together all of the building blocks which form a successful Vendée Globe project is a seemingly endless task. Posted on 16 Jan
Germany's Riechers on a good course for 2024
Jörg Riechers is in the best shape possible to be on the start line of the Vendée Globe Having had to the watch the last two Vendée Globe races from the side lines after his previous projects foundered 53 year old French based German skipper Jörg Riechers feels he is in the best shape possible to be on the start line of the 2024 race Posted on 12 Dec 2021
Paprec Arkea skipper for Vendée Globe announced
Yoann Richomme to sail new IMOCA from the Finot-Conq group Paprec and Arkéa are strengthening their commitment to ocean racing as they lead a new campaign for the 2024 Vendée Globe. Posted on 4 Dec 2021
Big win for Ruyant and LinkedOut
After a 3-way shoot-out in the Transat Jacques Vabre After a three way battle for the overall victory, fought between LinkedOut, APIVIA and Charal it was was the partnership of Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagravière which prevailed to score the first major trans-ocean race win for the LinkedOut team. Posted on 29 Nov 2021
21 Vendée Globe skippers set to race the TJV
The strong IMOCA class sees 22 boats racing No fewer than 21 skippers from the last Vendée Globe 2020-2021 will leave to cross the Atlantic Sunday from start line of the Transat Jacques Vabre, the double handed race which this year follows a 5800 nautical miles course finishing in Martinique. Posted on 6 Nov 2021
Alex Thomson: "What they want is to have a father"
Interview after his confirmation he will not compete in the 2024 Vendée Globe To many it comes as a shock, even if he has been unusually quiet since he had to retire from the last Vendée Globe. But British skipper Alex Thomson confirmed that he will not compete in the 2024 Vendée Globe. Posted on 29 Oct 2021
The suspense is at its peak!
Vendée Globe Atlantic eSeries is living up to all its promises This first edition of the Vendée Globe Atlantic eSeries is living up to all its promises: boats everywhere, total uncertainty about the weather conditions to come... the race is exciting! Posted on 28 Oct 2021
2024 Vendée Globe Notice of Race published
Rules of participation are put in place three years before the start The SAEM Vendée, the organizing entity behind the Vendée Globe, has just published the Notice of Race which details the rules for competing in the 10th edition of the Vendée Globe. Posted on 21 Oct 2021
Louis Duc: This is a boat which wanted to go again
The qualifying route in the Vendée Globe 2024 has many key stages Some one month before the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre race, Louis Duc (Kostum - Lantana Paysage) who is looking to race the 2024 Vendée Globe is stepping up his preparations with Marie Tabarly, his coskipper for the Transat Jacques Vabre. Posted on 10 Oct 2021
Zhik 2021 Dec Choice of Champions FOOTERASB21-SW-1456x180-Banner-Bottom-5Lloyd Stevenson Catalyst 45 728x90px1 BOTTOM