Vendée hopeful Alex Thomson is out of the race following serious structural damage to Hugo Boss

Alex Thomson has retired from the Vendée Globe race. The damage sustained to Hugo Boss on Monday evening (10 November) can not be repaired by the restart deadline – Wednesday 19 November. Read previous story here .

There is a transverse crack that runs through the outer and inner skin of the boat. The crack extends 5 metres to almost the centreline. The unidirectional fibres that make up the outside layer of the boat have peeled off from the start of the crack to the back of the boat. There is also a 10cm x 10cm compression to the hull which has pushed the core in and a deflection inside the hull.

Alex commented: “They think that the repairs are going take a matter of weeks not a matter of days, so it means I’m out of the race, that that’s, the end. So four years and this is where we get to, it’s very disappointing. But enough’s enough, we’ve looked at it and if there was a possibility of fixing it we’d fix it. But apparently there isn’t a possibility.”

“It’s just awful, not just for me but the team, you know we worked really hard and built a new boat, just to get ready for this one race, and to be out of it just three days in just doesn’t feel right at all, it feels very hard to be back here again.”

Asked if his dream of completing the Vendee Globe is over, Alex replied: “We will be back here in 2012 to do it again, we are not going to give up now. We know we’ve got a great team of people and the dream isn’t over for sure, we’re just going to have to put it off for a while.”

Pascal Conq – the boat’s designer – shared his thoughts on what could have happened to cause the 5metre long crack: “There is an area of compression on the hull, which has also pushed the core in, plus there is a deflection inside the hull which would signify an impact with something underwater. We have ruled out panel failure from the boat slamming into the waves as the panels run in the wrong direction for the crack.”

Asked if the structural damage was in anyway related to the fishing boat impact last month, he concluded: “Of course at this stage we can’t say this isn’t anything to do with the fishing boat. We will continue to investigate.”