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Transat Jacques Vabre: Alex Thomson and Neal McDonald arrive safely to the Cape Verde Islands

by Sarah Taylor 8 Nov 12:51 GMT
Alex Thomson and his co-skipper - fellow Briton Neal McDonald - departed from Le Havre - Transat Jacques Vabre 2019 © Alex Thomson Racing

This morning (Friday 8th November 2019), shortly after 08:00 UTC, Alex Thomson and Neal McDonald arrived safely into the Cape Verde Islands onboard the HUGO BOSS yacht.

The skippers, who had been racing in the 4,350 mile double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre, France to Salvador, Brazil, were forced to retire from the race when their IMOCA 60 race boat, HUGO BOSS, hit an unknown object submerged in the water.

The incident, which occurred on the morning of Sunday 3rd November - when Thomson and McDonald were just over a third of the way into the race - left the pair with no choice but to detach their 4.5m long keel from the yacht and abandon their attempts to finish what was their debut race onboard the new HUGO BOSS boat.

After cutting the keel free from the boat, the skippers - with support from their technical team based in Gosport on the UK's south coast - embarked upon an 800 nautical mile journey to the Cape Verde Islands in order to bring themselves, and the boat, to safety.

This morning, Thomson and McDonald were greeted by members of their technical team in Sao Vincente, Cape Verde, and together they brought the yacht safely into port.

Upon arrival, Thomson said: "It was a pretty scary experience for both of us and we're very pleased to be on dry land safely with the team.

"From here, the next steps are to lift the boat out of the water in order to do a thorough assessment of the damage. We will then bring the boat back to the UK so that we can begin the necessary repair work, with a view to getting back out on the water as soon as possible.

"This is of course a setback, but the team will be doing everything in its power to move swiftly forwards. As for our objective to win the Vendée Globe in 2020-21? Nothing changes. That remains the sole focus of our team".

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