Alex sitting in fourth position despite battling high winds and flu
In a dramatic and gruelling first week into the 2012 solo round-the-world yacht race, the Vendee Globe, Alex Thomson has already faced his fair share of challenges.
Not only has he been battling winds that have been gusting up to 38knots, as well as a lack of sleep, but he has also been fighting against what he refers to as ‘man flu’.
And with 23,000 miles to go, and almost three more months onboard HUGO BOSS to go, this is only the beginning.
“The first few days I got virtually no sleep at all,” said Alex. “It was such an emotional send off, then as I was getting settled in I only managed to have 2 ten minute naps in the first 24 hours. I still haven’t managed to get into a proper rhythm with sleep yet,” he said.
His aim in the first few days was to put some distance between himself and the group behind; “as the scenario is, the rich are getting richer,” he said.
Despite squally with gusts to 28 knots and lulls to 5 knots, Alex sailed both conservatively, aware of the challenges ahead, but at a solid pace in what has been a tactically astute race so far, and now finds himself in fourth position behind Armel Le Cleac’h, Francois Gabart and Bernard Staam.
“As of last night and this morning, Alex has managed to put some miles on Jeremie Beyou and JP Dick, and that is deeply satisfying for both Alex and the team,” said Team Director Stewart Hosford. “Fourth position – wow – better than any of us could have hoped for at this stage,” he said.
And that has all been while fighting ‘man flu’. “My whole family had been sick in Les Sables, so it was almost inevitable I would get it,” said Alex. “It was real man flu symptoms – temperature, chesty chough, and generally miserable! But thankfully I am feeling a lot better now.”
However, this is only the start of a very long race, and there are sobering reminders all around of just how big a challenge it is to even finish. Already out of the 2012 Vendee Globe are four skippers including the British sailor, Sam Davies.
“It is really sad news regarding Sam’s dismasting last night,” said Alex. “I’m glad that she’s safe and well, but it’s a sobering reminder of how vigilant I have to be.”
For Stewart Hosford, it is also a harsh reminder of the realities of the race. “It’s hard to get our head around the fact that there are already so many great boats out of the race. Knowing how much work goes into one of these campaigns, our hearts and our thoughts are with them,” he said. “For Sam – heartbreak. She is a great sailor and brings a huge amount to the race and the class. To be honest in the office today we are all gutted by the fact that she is out of the race. It will be a poorer race without her.”
Watch this week’s highlights here:
Follow Alex in the Vendee Globe here:
Friday 16th November
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