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Racing: The Vendée Globe & Alex Thomson

Thomson‘s partnership with Hugo Boss was one of the longest-standing sponsorships in the sport of sailing

Thomson‘s partnership with Hugo Boss was one of the longest-standing sponsorships in the sport of sailing

For fans of the Vendée Globe, the “Boss Boat” and its skipper Alex Thomson have long been favorites. In a race so heavily dominated by the French, the charismatic, boisterous Englishman stood out both for his skill and personality, with onboard media that was more accessible to English-speaking audiences. Thomson has competed in the IMOCA 60 circuit for 19 years, including five consecutive Vendée Globes and numerous world records. Thomson’s Vendée career was marked by equal parts joy and heartbreak—breakages forced him to retire from half the races he competed in, but when he did finish it was on the podium. Following damage to his brand-new IMOCA 60 during the 2020 Vendée Globe, though, he announced he was suspending his campaign and would not compete in the 2024 edition of the race.

“I have had the privilege to compete and race IMOCA 60s for almost 20 years,” Thomson said. “I love the sport, but it’s time for me to spend more time on land with my young family. My wife, Kate, has singlehandedly raised our children for the last 10 years whilst I have pursued my dream. Now I want to support Kate and allow her the same opportunity that she has given me. This doesn’t mean that I am retiring, just changing my role, from spending most of my time at sea to spending more of it on land.”


This is not to say we won’t see more from Thomson out on the water. He continues to be an ambassador for the sport and was spotted aboard the new Gunboat 68 Tosca during the RORC Transatlantic Race. Thomson also said he and his team 5 West Ltd. will remain together and that he still very much has his eye on a win in the Vendée Globe, though maybe as a mentor the next time around rather than as a sailor.

“The goal has always been to win the Vendée Globe, which to me remains the toughest sporting challenge left in the world today, and we haven’t accomplished that yet,” he says. “This is the start of a new chapter, with a new skipper, and we will provide him or her with all the tools, knowledge, experience and environment to win.” For the latest on Thomson’s career, visit

Photos courtesy of Alex Thomson Racing.

February 2022



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