THE BLOG

Vendee Globe - Fending Off The Competition

28/11/2016 11:01

It has been an interesting few days onboard HUGO BOSS, to say the least! I am currently leading the fleet, after enjoying a period of low pressure where our speed really came to the fore.

I made it across the Equator in record time, and we have also broken the unofficial record for the most distance covered in 24 hours in Vendee Globe history.

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I was forced to slow the boat down on Saturday, however, after it hit a submerged object in the South Atlantic. One of the boat's two foils, which help lift it out of the water to give it more speed, was broken in the collision with the unidentified object floating beneath the surface, resulting in me losing part of the foil.

On Saturday morning having had pretty quick night where the boat was sailing high averages and the boat was super uncomfortable I had retracted the foil 30% early this morning and was sailing the boat pretty conservatively in a building breeze.

I was down below at the time trying to sleep and the boat was sailing in 22kts of wind with a J2 and one reef in the main. I was averaging 24kts of boat speed when I heard an almighty bang and the boat stopped and turned to starboard by about 30 degrees and the rudder popped up. I quickly went on deck, eased the main sheet and realised I must have hit something. I put the rudder back down, eased the boat down wind and went to take a look and the starboard foil had broken off.

I didn't see anything in the water but it felt like the boat wrapped itself around something and it has caused some pretty significant damage to my foil. I was instructed to carry out an internal inspection of the boat and there does not appear to be any structural damage to the hull that I can see. For now I am going to continue and asses when I get the chance.

It's frustrating as it doesn't matter how much planning goes in to making sure you limit risk in the race, hitting something submerged in the water is something you simply cannot account for.

Aside from the problem with the foil, I feel that I have really found my rhythm. I am sleeping well, not needing alarms. I am really in the swing of things and I've been really enjoying sailing this boat. It is one of the things, which I suppose is the same for other skippers, that when you get the chance to build, to be part of the design with the people who put together one of these machines, and then you get to go and race it - it is a real honour.

To follow Alex's progress in the Vendee Globe, visit www.alexthomsonracing.com

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