Veteran British solo-sailor Alex Thomson has announced he won’t compete as a skipper in the 2024 Vendée Globe. However, he isn’t ruling out returning to the race in 2028. Thomson has competed in the IMOCA circuit for 19 years, including five successive Vendée Globe’s with two podium finishes and numerous world records. His record has also been marked by more than its fair of disappointment and heartbreak due to equipment failures. In 2016 he was solidly in the lead off the Cape of Good Hope, but then lost his starboard foil after hitting an unidentified floating object. He still managed to finish second behind France’s Armel Le Cléac’h.
In the 2020 Vendée Globe he was forced to withdraw after just 19 days of racing because of damage to one of his two rudders.
“I have had the privilege to compete and race IMOCA 60s for almost 20 years. I love the sport, but it’s time for me to spend more time on land, with my young family. My wife Kate has single-handedly raised our children for the last 10 years whilst I have pursued my dream. Now I want to support Kate and allow her the same opportunity that she has given me. This doesn’t mean that I am retiring, just changing my role, from spending most of my time at sea, to spending more of it on land,” Thomson said.
“Aside from being a skipper, I have always believed that it is my role to be an ambassador for our sport, telling the story to an international audience. In the last 20 years we have sailed to every corner of the globe, from Russia to Mexico, Canada, Australia, and Taiwan and even up the River Yangtze to Shanghai, China. There is a huge global fanbase who follow and love the Vendée Globe. I want to continue to promote the sport, tell the story and share my knowledge and experience, but with a focus on the next generation,” said Thomson.
Thomson also said he and his team 5 West Ltd. will remain together, and that his eye is still very much on a win in the Vendée Globe. “The goal has always been to win the Vendée Globe, which to me remains the toughest sporting challenge left in the world today, and we haven’t accomplished that yet. This is the start of a new chapter, with a new skipper, and we will provide him or her with all the tools, knowledge, experience and environment to win.” For the latest on Thomson’s carrier, visit https://www.alexthomsonracing.com.