Brian Thompson on the Vendee Globe

Mark Lloyd /
The former Bahrain Team Pindar skipper gives his assessment of the solo round the world race
Getting bored of hearing ourselves drone on about the Vendee Globe, we thought we might get the view of Brian Thompson, who competed in the 2008-9 Vendee Globe, successfully singlehanding the giant Bahrain Team Pindar around the planet. Thompson had hoped to compete in this Vendee Globe, but was unable to secure the necessary funding. However he says he is following it avidly and hopes to do the next race. Of the latest split among the Vendee Globe leaders, with Armel le Cleac'h and Banque Populaire charging off to the southeast and the rest in the west, Thompson says he likes where Jean-Pierre Dick and Virbac Paprec 3 are (ie in the west). “To me it looks like Jean-Pierre is doing the classic ‘get south’ thing and the new northwesterlies are going to come in and he’s clearly going to get into them first. Whereas Armel is heading for the ice gate directly and Francois Gabart has put some gybes in to get out. “My gut feeling is that Jean-Pierre is going to come out ahead, but Armel is never going to do something stupid. He is my favourite and I’m sure he is doing a smart thing. If it wasn’t Armel, I’d put my money on Virbac going south, hooking into that wind and then running along beneath them. I don’t know how fast the front is going, if they can keep up with it... and there is always stronger wind to the south and once the guys are hooked into that they can keep going southeast.” “I think J-P [Dick] enjoys going to the south. On the last Vendee he was always pushing south the most.” An exciting prospect is that because the frontrunners out to the west are having a hard time getting through this ‘transitional’ phase before they hook