Alex Thomson spoke to his team early Sunday evening to give an update on his thoughts and progress as he starts to repair a damaged longitidunal frame near the bow of HUGO BOSS.
With the imminent requirement to plunge south for more than one month in the inhospitable waters between the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn, Thomson will want to have complete faith in the repairs and in his IMOCA afterwards.
But a statement issued by his Alex Thomson Racing Team this morning confirms he has the materials and the methods to effect the necessary repairs and aims to be back on course as quickly as possible.
In a conversastion with his team he explained the progress to date . . .
‘The first part was to stabilise the hull so that involved some cutting, gluing and bolting. That’s done now and it’s been laminated.
The next part is to get the rest of the repair prepped. I need to get all the materials together and do as much of the cutting now while it’s still light.
I’ve still got a couple of hours of light left so I plan to get the cutting done and then the rest of it doesn’t matter because it’s in the bow and it’s dark in there anyway.
It’s really humid, it’s pretty hard up there (in the bow).
But we carry quite a lot of materials – under-water resin, glues that can deal with humid conditions – so the materials can deal with it quite well. I imagine a lot of teams don’t carry as much as we do.
I’m in a rhythm now so I’ll keep going for as long as I can. It’s quite an intricate job so I can’t rush it and I need to make sure it’s right.
I’m disappointed obviously but this is the Vendée Globe. This is what it entails. You’ve got to be able to deal with this stuff. This is why we carry these materials and tools and why we’re generally very good at being able to deal with these things.
Normally I feel angry and sad and emotional but I don’t this time. I just need to get on with it.
I’m sure at some point the emotions may go the other way but, for now, there is only one thing to do, and that is to get the job done as best as I possibly can. I will do whatever it takes to stay in the race.’
Yoann Richomme, winner of the last Route du Rhum in Class40 and double winner of La Solitaire du Figaro explained the likely scenario . . .
Supposing it takes Alex 24 hours to effect a repair and get going again he would rejoin the chasing group with Arkéa Paprec, Initiatives Couer and PRB, he would lose quite a bit as that would put him 1000 miles behind at Cape of Good Hope.
But, I have been looking at the history of the race as well and remember that last time on the last race he rounded Cape Horn 800 miles behind Armel Le Cléac’h and so I would not call this ‘game over’.
Vendée Globe Leaders – Day 16 – Mon 23 Nov – 08:00 hrs UK
1st FRA Charlie Dalin – APIVIA – 19,501 nm to finish
2nd FRA Thomas Ruyant – LinkedOut – 18 nm
3rd FRA Jean Le Cam – Yes we Cam! – 262 nm
4th FRA Kevin Escoffier – PRB – 274 nm
5th GBR Alex Thomson – HUGO BOSS – 294 nm – damaged, drifting at 5.4 knots
6th FRA Louis Burton – BUREAU VALLEE 2 – 346 nm
7th FRA Boris Herrmann – SEAEXPLORER – 354 nm
8th FRA Yannick Bestaven – Maître CoQ IV – 355 nm
9th FRA Sebastien Simon – ARKEA PAPREC – 382 nm
10th GBR Sam Davies – INITIATIVES-COEUR – 424 nm
11th FRA Benjamin Dutreux – OMIA – Water Family – 606 nm
20th GBR Pip Hare – Medallia – 1809 nm
26th GBR Miranda Merron – Campagne de France – 2145 nm
Retired: Nicolas Troussel