As Gabard and Cleach race their way to sub-80-day monohull circumnavigation history, it looks like Alex Thomson is giving up his chance to do the same in order to stand by the keel-less JP Dick as low pressure moves over the course. Anarchist extraordinaire Popo translated Dick’s most recent and emotional missive here (JP’s note reads “Alex: Take your third place carefully!”) and below is Thomson’s plan for Dick and the coming gales. Perhaps more than anything else in this incredibly exciting race, Alex’s move epitomizes the spirit of the Vendee Globe. Bravo. Don’t get the title of this piece? Go here.
“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 choses 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.”