Alex Thomson's first born
British skipper Alex Thomson welcomed the birth of his first child yesterday. This was a moment he did not expect to see as he was due to set sail on the Barcelona World Race on New Year’s Eve, but was suddenly taken ill with acute appendicitis just 48 hours before the race start.
Following emergency surgery on 29 December, Alex was discharged from hospital after three days and spent a further period of recuperation in Barcelona. In a bid to gain medical clearance to join his IMOCA 60 race boat Hugo Boss, he travelled back to the UK early this week to complete his rehabilitation. As luck would have it, this setback unexpectedly gave Alex the chance to make the birth of his first child as his partner Kate Denham went into labour yesterday.
Son Oscar was born at Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton at 14:02 yesterday, weighing just under 6lb, and comes as a welcome boost as Alex completes an intensive rehabilitation programme in preparation to join co-skipper Andy Meiklejohn in the race.
With the help of his medical team, psychologist and nutritionist, Alex is hoping to be certified medically fit to sail in the coming few days. His team will then prepare for him to join the vessel at a location to be agreed with the Race Organisation (FNOB), where he will be taking over from substitute skipper Wouter Verbaak.
Talking about the new addition to his family, Alex said: “Obviously I was devastated to miss the race start, but missing the birth was not going to be easy either, so I’m over the moon at having been here for Oscar’s birth. He’s brilliant – my boy rocks! Neither of us could have expected this would happen. Throughout the whole pregnancy Kate’s been amazing and the hospital staff have really looked after us, we couldn’t have wished for a better outcome.
“Now that I know Kate and Oscar are both okay, I’m desperate to join Andy on board Hugo Boss. I’ve had my sights set on this race for the last four years, so my focus is now on getting back in the race with my young family cheering me on.”
Kate Denham said: “Although this has not been under the best circumstances, I’m thrilled that Alex had the chance to be at Oscar’s birth and that we could spend these precious moments as a family before he hopefully sets sail.
“We’re all so relieved that Alex is doing well and we are fully supporting him to fulfil his dream of competing in the Barcelona World Race once again. We had expected he’d first see our baby when he crossed the finish line, but now Alex has been with Oscar there is even more reason for him to get back onboard Hugo BOss with Andy, with an extra person cheering him on!”