Excellent news from the Transat Jacques Vabre: the operation to recover Alex Thomson’s boat has been successful. The British sailor and his team have managed to tow the brand new foiler to the port of La Coruna.
In storm force conditions, the new IMOCA 60 yacht had suffered unspecified damage. While Thomson and Altadill had made initial repairs, they were heading for La Coruña in Spain, where their technical team was to meet them and assess the damage.
At the time of the capsize, they were hove to and making slow progress in 30 knots of wind and big seas. They were nursing their boat and waiting for the weather to subside before making quicker progress for La Coruña.
The Transat Jacques Vabre is a 5,4000 mile ocean yacht race from Le Havre in Northern France to Atajai in Southern Brazil. There are four classes, each having their own race: Class 40, IMOCA 60, Multi 50 and Ultime. In the IMOCA 60 Class, half of the fleet of the original 20 starters have been forced to abandon the race, including Alex Thomson and his co-skipper, Guillermo Altadill, aboard Hugo Boss. She was capsized by a rogue wave that dismasted her and caused structural damage to the extent that she was in danger of sinking. Alex and Guillermo were rescued by helicopter.
Alex and Guillermo managed to close the hatches and secure the situation whilst inverted. Alex immediately hit the canting keel button, bringing the boat back upright. They then alerted the rescue services and technical team of an emergency situation.The yacht had taken on a substantial amount of water and the rig had sustained damage requiring the skippers to leave the yacht.
A few hours later, the operation succeeded. “The boat is back and safely moored up,” said a pleased Alex. “The whole team has done a remarkable job. Now we can focus on our Vendée Globe campaign. In the past we had to overcome similar problems and we are more determined than ever to succeed.” Stewart Hosford, the CEO of Alex Thomson Racing thanked his team and the Spanish rescuers before confirming, “”The team will now be working hard to solve the problems, to get the boat back in shape to sail her as soon as possible, so that we can continue to train for the Vendée Globe.” Which is good news for everyone.