18 January 2013 - 14:53 • 2813 views



The transcript of the interview with Alex Thomson on Vendee Globe TV on Friday, January 18, 2013

Matthew Pryor: Did you celebrate crossing the equator?

Alex Thomson: I think I’ve been across the equator something like 15 times so those celebrations stopped a little while ago.

MP: Doesn’t Neptune always require some kind of offering?

AT: He (Neptune) gets a bit of olive oil but that’s really about all I do nowadays. Right from the beginning for me there wasn’t going to be any celebratory points until the end, in my mind there’s a long hard slog and it’s over when it’s over. There’s a couple of bottles of Champagne, I know there’s a little bottle of gin, maybe I’ll sneak that in at some point (laughs). But I’ve just got to get on with it stay focussed and not get complacent.

MP: As well as the race, does the pressure just to finish get greater the closer you get?

AT: For me it doesn’t, it’s the same the whole way around. Actually, as you get closer the problem is it’s easy to think that the last 3,000 miles it’s nice and close it should be easy, it shouldn’t be a problem, but the reality is that it’s the same 3,000 miles that you’re going to do anywhere else and actually the last four or five days could be some of the windiest and most dangerous with the traffic.

MP: You’re going to be entering the doldrums later today, how is the passage looking now, are you confident?

AT: I don’t really see it being too much of a problem. When you look at the satellite images there’s quite a lot of cloud, but the cloud is quite a long way north and for if I can get another 85 miles, another 8-10 hours, then I’m fully out. I’ve got the wind now in ENE so I’m not expecting it to be too much of a stop. Francois had probably the toughest time so far out of everybody, hopefully for myself and probably for Jean-Pierre (Dick), who’s probably nearly out, it’s not going to be too arduous.

MP: You wondered whether the French boats, maybe wondered is a little bit too weak, you said that you didn’t think that the new French boats would make it all the way round, has their durability surprised you, because they are very light?

AT: Yes, it’s surprised everybody probably, actually the attrition in the race so far has been amazingly good considering last time. If you take away the three horrible accidents, two fishing boats and poor old Vincent (Riou) hitting the unidentified object and having to pull out, there really haven’t been many boats dropping out from technical issues. We all expected it and I think the reason it hasn’t happened is because of the preparation of the boats and that talks about the professionalism of the teams and it’s a real credit to the shore teams. I am surprised but I am actually quite happy as well, it’s great to see, fingers crossed, that so many boats are going to finish - including me.

MP: There’s Mike Golding’s British record of 88 days from the 2004-05 race is that something in your mind as well as still trying to win this race against newer boats?

AT: You’ve got to stay motivated and if my goal was to win, frankly right now I’d probably be a bit demotivated because it would be a bit out of my grasp, so my goals at the moment are to try and finish third and to try and break 80 days. If I don’t beat 88 days then I’ve had a serious problem.