Ronstan

Thomson penalized in Route du Rhum

Published on November 16th, 2018

(November 16, 2018; Day 13) – The British sailor Alex Thomson has today crossed the finish line of the four-yearly solo Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe transatlantic sailing race, as the first in the IMOCA Class.

Thomson crossed the finish line at Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe at 12:10:58 (UTC) after 11 days, 23 hours 10 minutes and 58 seconds at sea.

However, following an incident earlier this morning in which Thomson ran aground in his all-black Hugo Boss boat on the north end of Grande Terre, the jury has made the decision to give Thomson a 24-hour penalty for using his engine.

Paul Meilhat on SMA could now be the new winner of the race. As of 06:44 (UTC), he has 105.6 nm to go and is travelling at 19 knots. In order to beat Thomson he must cross the finish line by 12:10:58 (UTC) tomorrow.

Regarding Thomson’s incident, he was sailing on port tack at the north end of Grande Terre island when his boat ran aground on rocky cliffs this morning at around 0145 (UTC). The accident occurred at the north end of Grande Terre, just south of the Grande Vigie lighthouse on La Pointe à Claude.

Upon hitting the cliff, Alex Thomson had to lower his sails and start his engine to reverse his boat from these rocks. He was able to extract himself from the reefs before re-hoisting his sails to resume his passage. Thomson stopped his engine and then set a new seal on the propeller shaft.

The skipper was not injured but there is damage to his boat. The crash box in the bow is damaged and has taken in water but it is contained, and the bowsprit is damaged. The water is contained by the forward bulkhead.

Also damaged is the starboard foil and the keel and its structure are certainly also affected. More will be known following a thorough inspection.

Thomson had been leading the 3,542-nautical mile solo transatlantic race almost from the start on November 4 off Saint Malo and was approaching the Guadeloupe archipelago when he over-slept, allowing his boat to hit the rocks on the northernmost tip of Grande Terre island.

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Background: The 11th edition and 40th anniversary staging of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe solo transatlantic race got underway on November 4. This iconic 3,542-nautical mile course will take the record entry of 123 skippers in six divisions – Ultime, Multi 50, Imoca 60, Class 40, Rhum Multi, and Rhum Mono – from the start off the Brittany port of Saint Malo (France) to Guadeloupe.

Source: Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe

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