The situation is desperate - and yet he doesn't: For days, the leading Armel Le Cléac'h has been taking "Hugo Boss" off miles, apparently at will. This morning it was already a total of 382, but Alex Thomson remains positive. "I can't change the situation, sail the boat as fast as I can, so it just doesn't make sense to be angry." With the smile with which he says it into the camera, it actually comes across as convincing. Even if he admits that the Southern Ocean is a world of eternal gray: "Not fifty shades of gray, more hundred!"
D39: Images from Alex Thomson / Vendée Globe by VendeeGlobeTV
Alex Thomson in the video from the South Pacific
The sailing world experiences an astonishingly changed Alex Thomson. Perhaps it is due to the psychologist with whom the Briton works, who advised him especially after the dream of salvaging his overturned, de-masted and half-full "Hugo Boss" in 2015. He had "a few nightmares" afterwards, he told the YACHT this summer. The coaching made it better, he talked a lot with his personal trainer, including the dark hours of a one-handed regattum around the world. His tired, tense face showed what it could be during the videos from the storm south of New Zealand. Perhaps Thomson has simply matured with the experience of four Vendée Globe campaigns, two BarcelonWorld Races and dozens of Transats. Over the years he had put up with so many setbacks that he seems a bit like a stand-up man. Now married and the father of two children, he exudes a calm and serenity in this Vendée that has made him a widely recognized French hunter. As the New Zealand sailing professional Mike Sanderson, winner of the Volvo Ocean Race, said so nicely in an interview with Thomson viTelephon a few days ago: "We Kiwis have adopted you. Your great performance and the positive way you report on board, they have Vendée made a giant theme here. " There is nothing to add.
Thomson reports on his dreams from on board: "It's funny: I've been dreaming not to be alone on the boat for a few days! It's a bit strange when one of the programmed alarms goes off, perhaps because the wind has picked up, and I wake up I will and think: Oh, stay where you are, XY will fix it! " Mostly Mister X is his brother or sailing buddy Josh. "Only after a while do I think: Oh no, you have to get out yourself!" So be it with the loneliness after 40 days of the Vendée Globe.
Status of the race today at 9 o'clock
What Thomson said in the video today is also that the situation is confusing for him: "The weather models are constantly changing. Sometimes they predict Armel on his south course that he's two and a half days ahead of me at Cape Horn, sometimes twelve hours. Everything is in flux! " In the meantime, however, he is already beginning to look backwards, which has practically no longer been necessary since the middle of the Indian Ocean. "The weather program has already said that they (the pursuers) will approach within one day," said the Briton.
Status of the race this morning
Indeed, the pursuers Paul Meilhat with his "SMA" and Jérémie Beyou with "Maitre Coq" are catching up with the slowly dissolving storm that caused so much trouble for the field off Australia. They are only 850 nautical miles behind, just under two days. And both will find good conditions in the next few days, your new low is approaching. So maybe in the next few days Alex Thomson will find himself in the unexpected position of having to defend his second place instead of fighting for the lead. Because Armel Le Cléac'h is currently sailing much further south in the better wind and with his foil, while Thomson is sailing without. Thomson reckons that they will round Cape Horn on Christmas or the first holiday.
The group of three around Yann Eliès, Jean Le Cam and Jean-Pierre Dick is also exciting, in fifth to seventh place. After the day before yesterday it looked as if Dick with his "St. Michel-Virbac" would lose a lot of miles to the fifth-placed Yann Eliès because of the detour through Bass-Strasse, he has been coming from the north at significantly higher speed for two days come back. Dick sails one of the ultra-modern foilers, Eliès is on one of the best non-foilers with the old "Safran" by Marc Guillemot. Jean Le Cam, up to now laughing third, had driven up to within 30 miles due to the storm that forced Eliès to turn, but now the newer, faster ships are taking miles from him again. The 57-year-old sails a ten-year-old ship, the "Foncia", with which Michel Desjoyeaux won his first Vendée Globe victory. It remains to be seen whether Jean-Pierre Dick will finally be able to work his way up to the long-awaited 5th place. So far, the Frenchman has not really been able to convince with the speed of his foil.
Status of the race this morning
In the main field behind, the once large groups have also been torn apart a little. Thomas Ruyant lost touch with Jean Le Cam about a week ago due to his ballast tank defect, who is now almost 600 miles ahead of him. Almost 700 miles behind is Louis Burton with "Bureau Valle", who is contesting a really impeccable race in his second Vendée. The 31-year-old has got his boat, the old "DeltDore" from Jérémie Beyou, which he has been sailing for over six years, under control and has not yet been hit by a major problem like the one that overtook so many skippers behind him. Behind it, the fairly large group of "finishers" begins, who have approached the race as an adventure and for whom, above all, arriving is the big dream.