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Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Thursday, 13 November 2008

Thomson pulls out of Vendee Globe

Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss
Thomson and Hugo Boss return to Les Sables d'Olonne

English skipper Alex Thomson has been forced to quit the Vendee Globe race because of damage to his yacht's hull.

Thomson's Open 60 Hugo Boss was hit by 50-knot winds on Monday and returned to the French port of Les Sables d'Olonne.

"They think the repairs are going take a matter of weeks, not days, so it means I'm out of the race," he said.

"We worked really hard and built a new boat, just to get ready for this one race, and to be out of it after just three days doesn't feel right at all."

Hugo Boss has a transverse crack that runs 5m through its outer and inner skin, thought to have been sustained by a collision with a submerged object.

Thomson's shore crew had worked around the clock to get the boat repaired after it was holed and dismasted by a fishing vessel while training for the race last month.

On his debut in the Vendee Globe in 2004, Thomson was forced to retire early on with damage to the previous Hugo Boss.

His boat also lost its keel in the Southern Ocean during the 2006 Velux Five Oceans around-the-world race and he was rescued by fellow Briton Mike Golding.

Thomson vowed that he would be back in four years time to compete in the next Vendee Globe.

"We will be back here in 2012 to do it again, we are not going to give up now," he said.

"We know we've got a great team of people and the dream isn't over for sure, we're just going to have to put it off for a while."

ROB HODGETTS BLOG

Thomson's withdrawal is the fourth since the start of in the world's toughest round-the-world non-stop solo sailing race after that of Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel), Marc Tjhiercelin (DCNS), and Yannick Bestaven (Aquarelle.com).

At 1000 GMT on Thursday, Gitana Eighty skipper Loick Peyron had extended his lead by about 10 miles since the last scheduled position report, with Seb Josse (BT) now in second, duelling with Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac 2).



see also
Racing around the world
07 Nov 08 |  Other sport...
Vendee Globe yachts get under way
09 Nov 08 |  Technology
British hope suffers Vendee blow
17 Oct 08 |  Other sport...


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