Sunday, 9 November 2008

Vendee Globe- They're Off!

We wish Alex all good fortune as he crosses the start line. It must have been totally nerve wracking as the team struggled to repair the seriously damaged Hugo Boss after its collision with a French fishing boat. But they made it and now he has to focus on the 90 or so days ahead.
I am certain he will be enjoying a bacon sarnie some time later today and reflecting on what an achievment it has been to get to the start tine on time!

Go for it Alex!

You can follow the race on Alex's website.

Goal one achieved – Alex Thomson starts the Vendee Globe

9th November 2008

Alex Thomson has made the start of the Vendée Globe 2008, crossing the startline on port tack at 13.02 local time today.

“When I drove HUGO BOSS into Les Sables D’Olonne three weeks ago, she had a big hole in the side and the mast was 2 miles out to sea at the bottom of the seabed. It’s so incredible to be coming out of the canal today and seeing so much support for us. Although it is much easier to deal with than last time, I am still choking a bit, but managing to hold it back,” said skipper of HUGO BOSS Alex Thomson “Since the incident the objective was always to get to the start line and we have done it, my whole team have done such a great job to get us here. .”

The conditions for the start were 15-18 knots of wind with large swell of 6ft – 9ft. This is forecast to increase through the night, which will test the single handed sailor and his repaired boat, HUGO BOSS:

“After the last couple of weeks I’m hoping the next week will feel like a bit of a holiday! But I think we’re in for a hard couple of days. We’re expecting 30 knots tonight building to 40 knots tomorrow. It’s definitely going to sort out the men from the boys. This is either going to be good or bad for us, it could be bad if we break something, but if we do I would rather do it close to the start.”

After an emotional farewell, the crew of HUGO BOSS were cheered through the canal by thousands of well wishers. Sir Keith Mills, Alex Thomson Racing Chairman, Team Principal of Team Origin and deputy chairman of the 2012 London Olympics, was onboard HUGO BOSS as they exited the canal. “This is unbelievable; no event is quite like this in the world. It is quite extraordinary. What a great send off for the skippers, it’s all a bit emotional,” commented Sir Keith Mills.

Alex Thomson’s race to the start has been deemed one of the most miraculous repair story in the Vendée Globe history – as Alex and his team triumphantly overcame the disaster of being stuck by a fishing vessel only 3 weeks ago.

At 9.23 this morning, friends and family had gathered on the docks to wave Alex and HUGO BOSS goodbye. Alex and his brother, David Thomson, will both be in the Southern Ocean at the same time, as his brother competes in the Portimão Global Ocean Race; for his family this is a testing time.

“We are very proud to see Alex on the start line. My first reaction was the feeling of relief that Alex and his team have achieved the impossible by making it to the startline. It is a complete miracle. We haven’t had much time to think about him going. Now the realisation that he is gone now for 90 days is very hard but we just have to grin and bear it. We have a very strong family – and Alex will call us a lot whilst he is away – like he always does. It doesn’t get any easier – particularly as both Alex and his brother David are away at the same time. I will be particularly worried the whole time he is in the Southern Ocean. And certainly when he reaches Cape Horn we will all breathe a sigh of relief.” Peter Thomson, Alex Thomson’s father

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