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Luckiest Man Alive BWR#2

January 5, 2011

Alex Thomson, co-skipper, Hugo Boss

In a dramatic events just hours before the start of the Barcelona World Race, skipper of race favourite Hugo Boss, Alex Thomson was rushed into hospital for an emergency appendectomy. The operation was a success and he has now returned to UK for recuperation. This completely compromised the Hugo Boss plans for the start of the race. The IMOCA Race Committee, with the unanimous support of all the race teams, has allowed famous racing tactician ‘Wouter the Router’ to stand in until Thomson is fit to rejoin the boat.

He may not think so now but Thomson’s luck has turned. Life expectancy with a ruptured appendix can be measured in hours. One can only imagine what would have happened if at sea. He apparently had no symptoms and was only diagnosed during a routine check-up before the race. Thomson mentioned he had a slight stomach ache to his doctor and was not showing other common symptoms. Unusually, the doctor insisted on a Cat Scan (pun alert?). A further twist to the tale is that Thomson’s partner is about to give birth within days so that now the proud father to be will, I believe, be there! I am sure everyone from HOEOCA will extend their very best wishes to all.

Thomson’s comments here.

Alex is no stranger to drama. One of these days, he will top the podium but in previous world races Hugo Boss sunk in the southern ocean due to keel damage and in the last Vendee, she hit a UFO on the second night (container or log). Hugo Boss was also t-boned by a fishing boat just days before the start of the Vendee causing very serious structural damage. In the first edition of the Barcelona World Race 2007-8 however, ‘The Boss’ with Thomson very much in control, finished second.

As predicted in my previous blog and true to form, Virbac Paprec and Foncia lead the way into the Atlantic in this Edition with Caffari and Corbella aboard Gaes very much in touch and gaining on the leaders some 150nm behind. The leaders are west of Morocco. The fleet has been beset by light winds in the Med and many have struggled down to Gibralter. There is a distinct psychological advantage to be through the Straits first but in such a long race much can happen. Tactics and weather routing are key. It can sometimes be a mixed blessing to be leading early on.

Follow the race here. There is a leader board and routing map. I’ve had great fun fiddling with the controls to see how events unfold. There are 14 Open 60 yachts taking part, each with a two man crew.

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