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Vendee Globe Favourite Alex Thomson Issues Alert on 'Possible Structural Issue' for Hugo Boss

22nd November 2020
Hugo Boss - now working to assess the extent of the structural issue and determine a repair programme and timeline Hugo Boss - now working to assess the extent of the structural issue and determine a repair programme and timeline

One time leader of the Vendee Globe British Skipper Alex Thomson who lost the lead in the race on day 13 yesterday has now notified race officials and his team of 'a possible structural issue' on board. 

Thomson, the race favourite, is 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 is currently only making six knots. His four-hour average is the same so it appears he is doing something to try and assess or make a repair over the last four hours.

Interestingly, new race leader Linked Out is also way down on speed also and has averaged 10 knots for the last four hours, whereas next best Apiva is doing an average of 15 knots when all seem to be in a similar strength wind.

A statement has been released by Thomson's team: 

At approximately 19:00 UTC on Saturday 21st November, British Skipper Alex Thomson notified his team onshore of a possible structural issue onboard the HUGO BOSS boat.

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.

Published in Vendee Globe
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The 2020/2021 Vendée Globe Race

A record-sized fleet of 33 skippers will start the ninth edition of the Vendée Globe: the 24,296 nautical miles solo non-stop round-the-world race from Les Sables d’Olonne in France, on Sunday, November 8 at 1302hrs French time/1202hrs TU and will be expected back in mid-January 2021.

Vendée Globe Race FAQs

Six women (Alexia Barrier, Clarisse Cremer, Isabelle Joschke, Sam Davies, Miranda Merron, Pip Hare).

Nine nations (France, Germany, Japan, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, and Great Britain)

After much speculation following Galway man Enda O’Coineen’s 2016 race debut for Ireland, there were as many as four campaigns proposed at one point, but unfortunately, none have reached the start line.

The Vendée Globe is a sailing race round the world, solo, non-stop and without assistance. It takes place every four years and it is regarded as the Everest of sailing. The event followed in the wake of the Golden Globe which had initiated the first circumnavigation of this type via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn) in 1968.

The record to beat is Armel Le Cléac’h 74 days 3h 35 minutes 46s set in 2017. Some pundits are saying the boats could beat a sub-60 day time.

The number of theoretical miles to cover is 24,296 miles (45,000 km).

The IMOCA 60 ("Open 60"), is a development class monohull sailing yacht run by the International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA). The class pinnacle events are single or two-person ocean races, such as the Route du Rhum and the Vendée Globe.

Zero past winners are competing but two podiums 2017: Alex Thomson second, Jérémie Beyou third. It is also the fifth participation for Jean Le Cam and Alex Thomson, fourth for Arnaud Boissières and Jérémie Beyou.

The youngest on this ninth edition of the race is Alan Roura, 27 years old.

The oldest on this ninth edition is Jean Le Cam, 61 years old.

Over half the fleet are debutantes, totalling 18 first-timers.

The start procedure begins 8 minutes before the gun fires with the warning signal. At 4 minutes before, for the preparatory signal, the skipper must be alone on board, follow the countdown and take the line at the start signal at 13:02hrs local time. If an IMOCA crosses the line too early, it incurs a penalty of 5 hours which they will have to complete on the course before the latitude 38 ° 40 N (just north of Lisbon latitude). For safety reasons, there is no opportunity to turn back and recross the line. A competitor who has not crossed the starting line 60 minutes after the signal will be considered as not starting. They will have to wait until a time indicated by the race committee to start again. No departure will be given after November 18, 2020, at 1:02 p.m when the line closes.

The first boat could be home in sixty days. Expect the leaders from January 7th 2021 but to beat the 2017 race record they need to finish by January 19 2021.

Today, building a brand new IMOCA generally costs between 4.2 and €4.7million, without the sails but second-hand boats that are in short supply can be got for around €1m.

©Afloat 2020

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