British sailor Alex Thomson today embarked upon The Ocean Masters New York to Vendée Race, a 3,100 mile, single-handed sprint from downtown New York across the Atlantic to Les Sables D’Olonne, France.
The challenge marks Thomson’s first single-handed offshore race on board his new IMOCA 60 race yacht, HUGO BOSS, which – after more than two years in the making – was unveiled by the Alex Thomson Racing team just last year.
The New York to Vendée Race sees Thomson compete against 13 other IMOCA 60 boats in the hope of securing victory. This is Thomson’s final offshore solo race before the all-important Vendée Globe, which begins in November.
Known to most as ‘the Everest of sailing’, the Vendée Globe is one of the toughest sporting challenges on the planet. The gruelling 25,000 nautical mile race requires skippers to sail solo, non-stop, without assistance around the world. The race, which takes place every four years, has only ever been won by a French competitor. This year, however, Thomson and his team have their sights set on victory.
Thomson has not been in competitive action since the Transat Jacques Vabre (TJV) race in November 2015 which resulted in him, together with his co-skipper Guillermo Altadill, being rescued at sea after HUGO BOSS inverted in the Atlantic. Ever since then, the Alex Thomson Racing team has worked tirelessly to repair and reinforce the multi-million pound yacht.
“We have been up against it since retiring from the Transat Jacques Vabre” said Thomson. “It is important that we now spend as much time on the water as possible and The New York to Vendée Race is a key opportunity for us to do just that.
“I am incredibly confident that we have built a racing yacht capable of winning the Vendée Globe and I am excited to be back on the water and racing, once again.”