29 January 2013 - 20:26 • 1525 views

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In the final furlong of the race Alec Thomson onboard is getting bashed in the Bay of Biscay.

Alex Thomson onboard Hugo Boss is experiencing horrendous, calamitous conditions in the home strait of the race. Having never completed the race before Thomson will be tense. He told the English Vendée Globe Live that he was in horrible conditions of 35 knots of winds and a very confused unpleasant sea. He anticipated that the wind would build later to 35 to 45 knots and then drop off to 25 to 30 knots.

It is the cruel nature of this race that in order to ensure the milder conditions in the Southern Ocean the fleet must depart and return to Les Sables d'Olonne at a time when the tempestuous Bay of Biscay is at its worst. Parts of the continental shelf reach into the bay, creating fairly shallow waters in many parts and also the rough seas for which the region is renowned. The Bay of Biscay is resident to some of the Atlantic Ocean's nastiest weather. Big storms hit the bay, especially during the winter months. Up until recently, it was not uncommon for merchant vessels to founder in Biscay storms.

It will be a tough 24 hours for Alex, his team, family, friends and fans as they cross everything in the hope that he makes safe passage to the finish line. His father and step mother flew back last night from New Zealand and made it into Les Sables d'Olonne in the nick time to greet him. Alex Thomson can expect a warm reception from his loved ones because his entourage is in town and they can't wait to get him safely ashore. Some of his team have been with him on all of his three race attempts and to date he has never managed to complete this race. They say third time lucky and in 24 hours we will know if it will be third time lucky and third place for Alex Thomson onboard Hugo Boss. Tense times indeed.

Clare Macnaughton