Alex Thomson officially earns 3rd place in the 2018 Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe.
In what has been a dramatic finale for Alex Thomson Racing in the Route du Rhum, Alex can finally celebrate a well-deserved podium finish. The British sailor, was the first IMOCA 60 over the line, but the unfortunate grounding of his boat on the northern tip of Grande Terre island and use of engine to get going again, subsequently cost him the 1st place victory.
Alex comments after the race, "It’s something to learn from, the land of hard knocks .. it is a shame, it is a real shame. And I am obviously devastated and disappointed... but the reality is there are lots of positives. Clearly we have the fastest boat, clearly I sailed a great race and I’m here more than 12 hours before anybody else."
After crossing the finish line Alex was given a 24-hour penalty by the race jury for using his engine. At that point it was uncertain whether Alex would place in the top three before his competitors beat his total elapsed time with his penalty added.
Putting on a brave face, Alex greeted the press in Guadeloupe, "The jury has decided that I have a 24-hour penalty which will mean I will not win the race. How do I feel about that? Well I think that is very fair because I don't think I should win the race after hitting Guadeloupe." The crowd reacted with an applause.
French skipper of SMA, Paul Meilhat, ultimately took the trophy for the IMOCA fleet in the 2018 Route du Rhum, 11 hours and 48 minutes inside Alex's total elapsed time.
Meilhat gave praise to Alex, "I'm a big fan of Alex," he added. "He's sailing incredible races with the choices he makes, his speed, his style and he's a great guy. What you need to remember is the talent he has. You have to absolutely remember what he did on the racecourse. He is the extraordinary character, whether he won or not. It's really good to have guys like that with us on starting lines."
Yann Eliès finished in second place behind Meilhat just over two hours later on UCAR-Saint-Michel. French skipper Vincent Riou on PBR crossed the finish line 21 minutes and 30 seconds shy of Alex's 24-hour penalty, making Alex Thomson 3rd place winner.
All in all, Alex Thomson Racing has taken away some positives from the event which he will take with him into the 2020 Vendee Globe,
“Good speed, some good tactics, some good navigation, and I managed to get some media off the boat as well. We learned a lot technically – there’s stuff we can do better still. We will take this opportunity to be stronger, to be better and to learn more.”