Alex Thomson buys controversial Vendée Globe yacht
Alex Thomson has bought Banque Populaire’s IMOCA 60 following the team’s withdrawal from the next Vendée Globe in 2024 due to the controversy over dropping female skipper Clarisse Crémer.
5 West Ltd, represented by British four-time Vendée Globe competitor Alex Thomson, announced it had reached an agreement with Team Banque Populaire on the company’s social media channels earlier this week (21 March 2023).
Banque Populaire posted a similar message via its social channels, stating: Team Banque Populaire has concluded an agreement for the sale of its IMOCA with the company 5 West Ltd represented by A. Thomson, for a project which will allow a future skipper to participate in the Vendée Globe. [Banque Populaire] wishes them success in this new challenge.
As yet, the skipper has not been announced, although some fans are hoping that Clarisse Crémer might return to the helm of the boat for the 2024 event.
Crémer came 12th overall in 2020/2021 Vendée Globe, and was the first woman to complete that iteration, becoming a record holder in the process. She was shockingly dropped by her sponsor Banque Populaire in February (2023) after she gave birth to a baby girl in November 2022.
In October 2021, new rules were implemented to qualify for the Vendée Globe. Previously, finishers automatically qualified for the next edition. Now skippers must gain points by participating in intermediate races with only the first 40 qualifying. Crémer’s maternity leaves meant she couldn’t accumulate enough points.