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Irish Influence Remains In Vendée Globe’s Final Hours

19th January 2017
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The Alex Thomson-skippered HUGO BOSS is expected in second place in the Vendeé Globe tonight The Alex Thomson-skippered HUGO BOSS is expected in second place in the Vendeé Globe tonight

#VendéeGlobe - Despite Enda O’Coineen’s New Year mishap taking him out of contention, the battle for victory in the Vendée Globe retains a distinct Irish flavour.

Although he conceded yesterday that his chances of victory were slimconfirmed by the latest race update — Alex Thomson is still in hot pursuit of race leader Armel Le Cléac'h and Banque Populaire to clinch second place on the home stretch to Les Sables.

The route took Thomson’s record-smashing HUGO BOSS and the rest of the fleet just hours south of Cork Harbour, where the British skipper spent many formative years affirming a love of sailing that’s taken him to the peak of the sport.

His team boss at Alex Thomson Racing, Stewart Hosford, is also based in Cork, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

“In the year that saw Ireland win an Olympic medal for sailing, and the first Irish entry to the Vendée Globe, it would be wonderful to see the team led by an Irishman win the globe’s most challenging race”, said Hosford earlier this week.

Other Irish connections were present earlier in the race, in the form of French yacht SMA — whose team director is a Corkonian, Marcus Hutchison – and the Japanese entry Spirit of Yukoh, managed by Dublin-born Tony O'Connor.

And while both boats have since retired, their contention remains a good omen for Ireland’s place in global sailing — and might influence greater Irish participation in the next Vendeé Globe in 2020.

Published in Vendee Globe
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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