Matthew Pryor: How are things right now?
Alex Thomson: Good. I’m sailing a bit more upwind than I have been for the last three days so a little bit slower, I’ve got 16-20 knots of wind, it’s quite comfortable.
MP: We spoke to Jean-Pierre (Dick) earlier and he was saying that he hasn’t given up catching Francois and Armel does that help you?
AT: No one is going to give up hope until the end. As I look at the weather ahead and he does, both of us are going to need extraordinary events to be able to catch this significant number of miles up. I don’t really see any big opportunities ahead for me to catch Jean-Pierre and I don’t see any big opportunities for him to catch the two in front, so I think we’re looking for something extraordinary. There’s always hope, you don’t know what’s going to happen in the Vendée Globe.
MP: We’ve had a series of misfortunes for Alessandro at the back, he’s been up the mast twice, he’s lost a gennaker, then a spinnaker and a small spinnaker and he’s broken a rib. We can see how these accidents can change things, not that you wish misfortune on anyone in front of you, but does it mean you have to keep close to take your chance.
AT: At the stage of the race we’re at now, I would be very sad for anybody who has a problem. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, I’ll just try my hardest, sail my best and see what happens. My motivation is to get the boat round in under 80 days. If I can do that I’ll feel a real sense of achievement.
MP: That’s pre-empts my next question, Alex, is it more important to you to finish third or in 80 days?
AT: (Laughs) Well, obviously it’s more important to finish third. I couldn’t care if I finished fourth in 80 days or third in 120 days, I’d rather finish third.
MP: I suppose in other races, you would be very close to the leader, this is the closest Vendée there’s ever been with only 700 miles between the four boats coming towards the finish.
AT: Yes, it’s still a very close race and I’m sure over the next 24 hours I’ll close up a little bit as Banq Pop and MACIF slow down a bit. There’s always a chance, somebody could have a problem that slows them down. You just have to keep sailing.
MP: You haven’t been losing many miles on Jean-Pierre in the same conditions, that must be heartening?
AT: I have been losing miles I would say. This point of sale, tight reaching, is probably where I struggle the most against the newer boats. But saying that, being little bit more to the west, I’m sailing a slightly higher course and my VMG to the finish is a little better, so it probably doesn’t look as bad as it may be. But I’m bleeding pretty much at every sked (ranking).
MP: Jean-Pierre said that even at this stage you still have to find time to switch off, do you agree with that and have you been able to do that?
AT: I think it’s important the whole way through the race to try and find time to relax and make sure you get proper rest. And as the race goes on and on your fatigue levels go up and it takes longer to recover The last three days haven’t been too physically hard for me, it’s been been hot and uncomfortable and difficult to rest, but I feel like my energy levels are pretty good and I’m looking forward to getting in the westerlies and getting back to going fast.
Christophe Favreau: You’ve done 90% of the race already, can you describe this Vendée Globe?
AT: I think this Vendée has been one of the most competitive, the two front boats have been neck-and-neck the whole way, lots of battles. The most impressive thing is the preparation of the boats and so many are still in the race.