Please select your home edition
Rooster 2020 - Impact BA - LEADERBOARD

Alex Thomson returns to racing action in the Rolex Fastnet Race

by Rory Nicklin 4 Aug 2017 13:49 BST 6 August 2017
Alex Thomson is set to compet in the Rolex Fastnet Race © Cleo Barnham

Six months after his historic second place finish in the Vendee Globe, British sailor Alex Thomson will return to offshore racing on Sunday 6th August, competing in his tenth Fastnet Race. The race, which starts in Cowes, is the world's largest offshore sailing race with 400 boats and over 4,000 crew expected at this year's start line.

Racing onboard his record breaking HUGO BOSS IMOCA 60, Thomson will be joined onboard by Irish sailor Nicholas O'Leary, for the 600 mile race around the Fastnet Rock, in Ireland. As a young talent in short-handed ocean racing, O'Leary has ambitions to race in the Vendee Globe himself in the future and is looking forward to gaining experience racing with Thomson onboard HUGO BOSS.

Earlier this week, Thomson, who broke his own record as the fastest Brit to sail solo around the world on a monohull in the 2016/17 Vendee Globe, and holds the world sailing speed 24 hour distance record, was awarded with the Chichester Trophy at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. The prestigious award was presented by The Princess Royal in recognition of Thomson's offshore sailing achievements, and has only previously been presented sixteen times. The first sailor to be awarded the trophy was Sir Francis Chichester in 1967 and since then it has been awarded to other sailing legends including Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Dame Ellen MacArthur.

Speaking about the upcoming race, Thomson said; "I'm excited to be back racing this weekend in the Fastnet and it's great to see a good turnout of IMOCA boats on the start line, with some new competitors on the circuit. It's fantastic for the sport to see so many boats on the water."

The race takes the boats from the Solent out through the English Channel, around the Fastnet Rock and finishes just off Plymouth. A notoriously testing race that often sees winds up to gale force in strength, the race tests even the most experienced of offshore sailors.

Technical Director Ross Daniel stated; "With the current upwind forecast, the conditions from the start to the Fastnet Rock are not favourable for the foiling IMOCA's. The challenge will be staying in contention with the non-foiling IMOCA's to the Rock, and then the foiling boats will come into their own in the reaching conditions to the finish in Plymouth."

Five of the nine IMOCAs taking part in this years' Fastnet are foiling boats, meaning they have appendages on either side of their hulls, designed to help lift the boats out of the water to reduce drag and increase speed. Foils were first introduced to the IMOCA class in the build-up to the Vendee Globe 2016, leading to significantly increased top speeds for those boats which had utilised them.

Related Articles

A message from Alex
Speaking for the first time after his dreams of Vendée Globe victory end Alex Thomson speaks for the first time after his dreams of Vendée Globe victory end in heartbreak. Posted on 30 Nov
British sailor Alex Thomson 'back in race mode'
On the charge towards the Southern Ocean Alex Thomson is back in action in the Vendée Globe and preparing to enter the Southern Ocean, after structural damage onboard his HUGO BOSS boat temporarily halted his hunt for the title. Posted on 27 Nov
Alex Thomson preparing for the Southern Ocean
Taking advantage of the light conditions to further reinforce the repairs Update from Ross Daniel, Technical Director at Alex Thomson Racing: "Yesterday evening, Alex decided to take advantage of the light conditions to further reinforce the repairs to increase the safety factors before he enters the Southern Ocean." Posted on 27 Nov
Alex Thomson 'sailing once again' aboard HUGO BOSS
Just 48 hours after he unearthed structural damage to his boat Just 48 hours after he unearthed structural damage to his HUGO BOSS boat - on day 13 of the Vendée Globe round-the-world yacht race - British sailor Alex Thomson has confirmed that he is sailing once again. Posted on 23 Nov
Alex Thomson carrying out structural repair
Damage to a longitudinal beam at the front of HUGO BOSS Yesterday evening, while Alex was carrying out a routine inspection onboard HUGO BOSS, he spotted what he believed to be some structural damage in the bow area of the boat. Posted on 22 Nov
Vendée Globe: Alex Thomson 'In it to win it'
Continuing to lead with two of his toughest French rivals in hot pursuit "I go out there to win so I want to be leading from the early stages". On day 13 of the Vendée Globe, Alex Thomson continues his lead with two of his toughest French rivals in hot pursuit Posted on 21 Nov
Alex Thomson races south towards the equator
Sailing away from Storm Theta's centre in the Vendée Globe The routing had Hugo Boss tacking just before the eye of the storm, however 70 miles from the centre with consistent wind of 50 knots and five metre waves, the boat violently broached. Posted on 14 Nov
Alex Thomson off to a solid start in Vendée Globe
HUGO BOSS skipper taking on the challenge for the fifth time Alex Thomson is now three days into his Vendée Globe journey, which began on Sunday from the seaside town of Les Sables-d'Olonne in France. Posted on 11 Nov
New video from Alex Thomson Racing
With one week to the Vendée Globe start Alex Thomson Racing have released a new video of the IMOCA Hugo Boss with just under a week to go until the Vendée Globe start in Les Sables-d'Olonne. Posted on 2 Nov
Britain's Alex Thomson heads to France
Ahead of the Vendée Globe race aboard HUGO BOSS British sailor Alex Thomson has bid farewell to his home base of Gosport, Hampshire and begun his journey to Les Sables-d'Olonne, the French seaside town which will play host to the start of the upcoming Vendée Globe race. Posted on 15 Oct