On November 6th, British yachtsman, Alex Thomson, will embark upon one of the toughest sporting challenges in the world, the Vendée Globe.
A gruelling solo, non-stop, averaging 25,000 nautical mile unassisted race around the world, the Vendée Globe – often termed ‘the Everest of Sailing’ – takes place just every four years and is the pinnacle of the offshore racing calendar.
One of sport’s most extreme endurance challenges, the Vendée Globe pushes even the world’s most capable sailors to their very limits in the quest for victory.
Just 71 of the 138 starters since the race’s inception, back in 1989, have successfully completed the race, and three have lost their lives along the way.
Thomson is one of the most talented skippers of his generation. The youngest sailor ever to win a round the world race, he has already broken multiple world records throughout his career. In the 2012-2013 Vendée Globe Thomson successfully completed the race in 80 days, finishing in third place and breaking the British record along the way.
This time around, however, Thomson is looking to make history and become the first British sailor ever to win this epic race.
Thomson’s quest for victory will take place on-board his new IMOCA 60 race boat, HUGO BOSS, a yacht which – after more than two years in the making – was unveiled at the end of 2015.
In preparation for the Vendée Globe, Thomson this year competed in the New York to Vendée race, a key indicator ahead of the Vendée Globe itself. Having led the fleet for the majority of the race, only a technical set back hindered Thomson’s hopes of winning, and he crossed the finishing line in third place. The result positioned the British skipper as one of the firm favourites heading into the Vendée Globe.
“The Vendée Globe is unlike any other sporting challenge.” said Thomson. “It’s not only about competing; it’s about staying alive. It’s about survival.
“The race only comes around every four years and it is without question the most important race that I will ever compete in. It’s a gruelling mission, which pushes you to the limits. It’s also incredibly unpredictable – things can change in a matter of seconds, and while I have a team back home supporting me, ultimately when I’m out there, I’m on my own.
“As a team we have put a great deal of time and energy into preparing for this race. Finishing third in the New York to Vendée demonstrated just what HUGO BOSS is capable of, and we now believe that we stand a very good chance of winning the race, something which would be without question the greatest achievement of my career.
“A win would not only reward the entire team for the many years of hard work and commitment that we have invested, but it would be a huge moment for British sport.”
Thomson will compete against a potential 30 other skippers in the race, which begins and ends in Les Sables d’Olonne, France. More than a million people are expected to travel to the village in order to watch the skippers bid farewell to their loved ones and depart from the starting line.
To date, the Vendée Globe – which began in 1989 – has only ever been won by a French sailor. This time around, however, Alex Thomson and sponsors HUGO BOSS and Mercedes-Benz, are looking to break that tradition.