Alex Thomson sailing Hugo Boss is undoubtedly the wild-card of the Vendee Globe fleet. Yachtingworld.com finds out how far he's going to push it
Thirty-year-old Alex Thomson is undoubtedly the wild-card of the Vendee Globe fleet.
He may have proved himself with his his racing success in Open 50s and 60s which includes setting a new 24-hour solo monohull world record during last year’s La Defi Atlantique, but he’s never sailed alone in the Southern Ocean and is possibly the least prepared for the start.
Although Thomson seems to have totally the right attitude for for this sort of event, he only signed the Hugo Boss sponsorship deal a couple of months ago which meant he had very little time to sort the boat.
Thomson however, being the plucky sort of chap he is, pulled out all the stops and together with his Hugo Boss team, has managed to put together one very interesting campaign. So interesting in fact that at last night’s naming ceremony thousands of visitors poured down to the Vendee Globe village to witness the occasion including the likes of Formula 1 racing driver David Coulthard and TV presenter Davina McCall.
Despite all the Hugo Boss glitz and glamour that surrounds his campaign Thomson is possibly one the most down to earth sailors in the fleet. He’s young, cool, witty, gutsy, and seems to have that special something that will never fail to attract the media. But has he got what it takes to race singlehandly around the world and will his seemingly fearless, slightly naive attitude be his downfall?
Talking to yachtingworld.com this morning Thomson said: “I’m just going to go out there and sail the race. I’m certainly not going to start off softly, softly but also I’m not going to start off and wipe out on the first corner. We all have our own limits and there’s a time when you feel you need to back off.”
But when it comes to the Southern Ocean, – the first time he’s been down there – Alex reckons he’s not going to be phased by it adding: “I’m not scared by it at all. In fact I’m really looking forward to it. I was more worried the Hugo Boss presentation last night. If there’s one thing that does really worry me out there however, it’s the thought of icebergs. The other thing of course is the loneliness. That’s where you need to be strong enough to cope with that sort of situation.”
Looking ahead three months to when the race is over, a positive Thomson says we’ve got a big year ahead with Hugo Boss including a refit and then down to Cannes for the Film Festival and to Monaco for the Grand Prix. “We had a guy here from McClaren yesterday and he says we’re going to have a good time down there. We then doing quite a lot more events and then finishing in Sydney next year. And depending on whether I love this event or hate it, I’d like to do the 5 Oceans Race maybe on a new boat. Who knows, it might even be a 60ft trimaran!” Help!