Alex Thomson Dismasting Forced Retirement from the Barcelona World Race

Double-handed skippers Alex Thomson (UK) and Pepe Ribes (ESP), sailing aboard the IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss, suffered calamity when they were dismasted during the nonstop, around-the-globe Barcelona World Race (BWR) in January, 370 miles off the Brazilian coast.
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 Photo by Mark Lloyd

Photo by Mark Lloyd

Double-handed skippers Alex Thomson (UK) and Pepe Ribes (ESP), sailing aboard the IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss, suffered calamity when they were dismasted during the nonstop, around-the-globe Barcelona World Race (BWR) in January, 370 miles off the Brazilian coast. At the time, Thomson and Ribes were leading the eight-strong fleet by 60 miles, after having shown the others their transom pretty much from the start back in Barcelona, Spain, on New Year’s Eve. The cause was a single pin, which sheared and set off a chain-reaction of failures.

“The rig kind of hovered there for a few seconds and then fell backward into the water,” said Thomson, for whom the setback was the latest in a long list of difficulties. “It’s extremely disappointing.” Thomson is next expected to compete in the 2016-17 Vendée Globe aboard a new VPLP/Verdier-designed IMOCA 60 that’s currently under construction.

 Thomson—still smiling in the face of adversity. Photo courtesy of Gilles Martin-Raget/Barcelona World Race

Thomson—still smiling in the face of adversity. Photo courtesy of Gilles Martin-Raget/Barcelona World Race

Thomson’s Travails

No one ever said professional offshore sailing was gonna be easy, but over the years Alex Thomson has received his share of hard knocks, and then some.

2004—Structural hull damage forces retirement from the Vendée Globe Race

2006—Structural hull damage forces retirement from the Velux 5 Oceans Race

2008—A collision at sea forces retirement from the Vendée Globe Race

2011—Retires from the BWR due to a medical emergency involving his son, this after trouble joining the race because of appendicitis (his son recovered fully)

2014—Dismasted on delivery from England to New York

2014—Misses New York to Barcelona Race because it conflicts with the due date for the birth of his second child; Ribes and U.S. sailor Ryan Breymaier go on to win

2015—Dismasting forces retirement from the BWR

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