An emotional interview with Mike and Alex as relief and sadness flood in

In an emotional interview with me today, Alex Thomson admitted that his rescue by Mike Golding at dawn this morning had come in the nick of time. He recalls the sound of splintering carbon and the keel swinging around as he left, and he says he believes the keel will part and the boat will “go down today or tomorrow”. Listen to both skippers’ accounts here

This exemplary act of seamanship was carried out by Mike Golding in extremely difficult circumstances: a 15ft swell, a bitterly cold 25-knot wind and worsening engine problems. A fuel problem that has been plaguing Golding was compounded by a jammed throttle and a broken shear pin on his propeller. The situation worsened when Alex Thomson crushed his hand in the liferaft webbing, his rocket-fired line thrower failed to work and his liferaft was swamped by water.

Golding had “four or five” attempts before successfully bringing his bow alongside the liferaft. Alex Thomson transferred on board, bring survival kit and food and gave Mike “a big smile and a hug.”

“It’s the happiest and saddest day of the race,” Alex told me, adding tearfully: “It’s bad. It’s very, very difficult for me.”

The pair are heading towards Fremantle, not yet in racing mode but in a “low key” way, according to Golding, as they both come to terms with what has happened.

Alex particularly wanted to thank and praise race director David Adams, his own team at Alex Thomson Racing and, above all, Mike Golding and his team in the UK.