Alex Thomson holds back to wait for Jean Pierre Dick's decision
Today, we recieved this message from Alex Thomson,
"“I am back into real North Atlantic conditions again and the wind is colder and the sea state has started to get pretty rough again. Over the last few days I have been worried about JP Dick and him sailing without his keel and even though my optimum route takes me more North and West of my current course and back to Les Sables fast and direct, this morning when I experienced the conditions I decided to change course to stay with JP until I know that he is happy with the boat and he has made his decision about what he will do regarding stopping or continuing.
Tonight and tomorrow morning a front will pass over myself and JP with some strong breeze and I will stick around him to make sure there is someone close by if something was to happen to him. JP is a great sailor and I am confident in his ability to sail safely to wherever he chooses but I know that if I was in his position I would like to have someone watching my back through the strong winds that are coming.
He has not asked me to assist in any way, but I really feel that I cannot sail off and leave him until I know that he is confident and has confirmed what his intentions are. It is simple for me really, if he has a problem I will try and help him and once he has got through the worst of the weather safely and happy with the boat tonight, and if he then decides to continue with the race safely, then I will adjust my course and continue with mine. What I don’t want is to be too far away from him if he has an issue with the coming strong winds and before he knows if he is fully capable of continuing.”
This is a noble gesture from a man who has faced the icy peril of the ocean and survived. A man who has been rescued himself. It has not been requested by the race office and so he will not be compensated for any ground lost. The gap between Hugo Boss and the 5th place boat Jean Le Cam is significant enough for him to sacrifice the miles but make no mistake it is a sacrifice. This noble gesture could also sacrifice the potential to be the first British person to sail solo around the world in under 80 days but in this instance Thomson clearly has put Jean Pierre Dick's safety first.