|finishing at les Sables D'Olonne, France|
Alex Thomson Tells it Like it is - Vendée Globe 2012-2013:
Wednesday, January 30 2013 Alex Thomson sailed into the legendary canal, the artery into the heart of Les Sables d’Olonne this morning at typically breakneck speed. With more than 30 kts of wind and mountainous seas Thomson was in no mood to hang around.Taking third place in the Vendée Globe, the solo non stop race around the world which has dominated his life for the last ten years and which he had twice failed to finish, Alex Thomson set a new non-stop round the world record for a solo British sailor, smashed the existing race record set by Michel Desjoyeaux in 2008-2009, and became only the third ever British skipper to finish on the podium.His result exorcised many of the ghosts of his past failures, most particularly abandoning his Open 60 in 2006 in the South Indian Ocean when his keel feel off during the Velux 5 Oceans, retiring from the last two Vendée Globes – the 2008-9 edition after just 24 hours – and retiring from the 2009 Transat Jacques Vabre after hitting a floating object.After 80 days at sea Thomson finally enjoyed the traditional Vendée Globe welcome afforded by the thousands who lined the banks of the canal. Three times he has loved the rousing send off on start day, but at last this was the welcome back that he had craved since he first set out on his Open 60 ocean racing career back in 1999.In a warmly received press conference Thomson was thanked for his recent actions in moving to stand by friend and rival Jean-Pierre Dick, shepherding the French skipper who has lost his keel off Virbac-Paprec 3, through a night of brutal winds and big seas before heading north to the finish.He spoke of the vital repairs he had to make to his hydrogenerators which kept his hopes of finishing alive, of the pleasure in staying with the faster, newer generation of IMOCA Open 60’s, doggedly hanging on the leaders. And at the end of it all, having finally realised his long held ambition, he made his French hosts smile when he confirmed that he had arrived dreaming only of ‘the golden arches’ longing for a Big Mac and lots of mayonnaise!
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