Alex Thomson in the South Atlantic

Christophe Launay Photography /
The Hugo Boss skipper on the race so far, his lamination skills and protesting TSS violators
We have to keep fingers and toe crossed for Hugo Boss skipper Alex Thomson over the next few weeks, but his performance so far in this Vendee Globe has been exceptional. After the repeated catastrophies of the last few years, from his collisions before and after the start of the last Vendee Globe, to the appendicitis that puthim out of the last Barcelona World Race, Thomson has resolutely stayed in the lead group so far in this Vendee Globe and significantly among the top six, Hugo Boss is the only older generation boat. “It is fast enough when it is reaching, but there are definitely some areas where I’m slow,” Thomson told us yesterday. “I had Bernard [Stamm on Cheminees Poujoulat] next to me off Finisterre and he was significantly faster than me downwind in that breeze. Then we reached into the middle of the ridge and crossed into the low, then in the last of the low I sailed alright and I had some really good daily runs and sometimes I was catching them. I think that was down to sail selection - I think I am carrying some sails that they’re not. And then into the Doldrums it was a bit of a lottery, it was about playing the clouds and working hard. Then as soon as we came out of the Doldrums, those guys just off they went, fast upwind and I couldn’t match their pace. But now we are still upwind and not too strong, I am able to match them again. “If someone said to me before the start that I’d be in this position after the Equator, I wouldn’t have believed them to be honest...” Currently the front runners are fetching across the southeast trades in the northern part of the South Atlantic as they attempt