Alex Thomson back in the race onboard Hugo Boss

Just 48 hours after he unearthed structural damage to his Hugo Boss boat, Alex Thomson has confirmed that he is sailing once again in the Vendée Globe.

Thomson discovered damage to the bow area of his IMOCA yacht on Saturday evening UTC and, after alerting his team on shore, was forced to bring the boat to a stop while he carried out a complex repair at sea to reinforce the structure inside.

With the help of his team, led by design manager Pete Hobson – together with naval architects, VPLP and structural engineers, Gurit – Thomson was able to stabilise the boat, undertake the repairs, and has now begun sailing once again.

“I’ve got a sail up again,” says Thomson. “I’m sailing in the right direction and I’m back in the race. I’m super happy about that. It’s been a tough couple of days, an awful lot of work – cutting, grinding, sanding, gluing and there’s still a lot more to go. It’s certainly not over yet but the structure in the bow is now stable, it’s not moving anymore and so I can sail in these moderate conditions, in the right direction. Happy days.”

Thomson has dropped to fifth place, around 400nm behind the race leader, Frenchman Charlie Dalin. However, with the race only around a fifth of the way through, and more than 19,500 miles still to go, the opportunity to rejoin the leaders is still very much alive.

“It’s obviously disappointing, but I’m not going to dwell on the negatives here because I think there are way more positives,” says Thomson. “It’s positive that I found it before it was catastrophic, it’s positive that it happened in the conditions it happened in, which meant the leaders and the rest of the fleet weren’t moving away at 500 miles a day. So, I’m just super happy that I’m still in the race. It could so easily have been the end of the race for me.

“I’ve been here before, and all you can do is get back on your feet and keep pushing forwards. I’ve probably still got a night and a half of work to do but, looking at the weather, the next few days are going to be quite light, so good conditions for me to finish the job.”

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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