We were wondering about Alex Thomson the other day, so we fired off some questions, and here are his answers.
SA: Where the hell have you been?
AT: Making plans for what we do next!
SA: Will there be another Vendee effort?
AT: Yes there will for me and my team, although I won’t be the skipper, we plan to do the 2024 race which leaves the door open for me in 2028. For 2024 we will go again, but with a new skipper and right now we are actively looking for partners. Our goal remains the same- to win the Vendee Globe.
SA: What are your future, if any, sailing plans?
AT: I don’t have any plans at the moment, we are focusing on raising the money and finding the right skipper to be competitive in 2024, but I am certainly not giving up sailing!
SA: What are your thoughts on the latest generation IMOCA boats?
AT: The only one we can see is 11th Hour of the very latest generation, it looks like a nice evolution but it’s not far away from anything that currently exists. These boats today are beasts, difficult to manage, and very unconformable, but they are amazing machines. The question that is always asked is when will we fully fly – it’s hard to see today how we can fully fly without active control on the foils and the elevators.
For me this brings up two questions, philosophically is it right to sail a Vendee Globe with a computer controlling flight? The event is pure and I worry that something could be lost and I would hate it for the team with the best computer to win the race. Also, perhaps a bigger question, how would we power this? For me today that is not clear.
SA: Would you do crewed events?
SA: What are your thoughts on the America’s Cup? The boats, the teams? Mercedes Benz involvement?
AT: When I started 20 years ago it felt like the America’s Cup was in the stratosphere, and we were considered the amateurs. But over the last 20 years our sport has evolved a great deal – the adventure and human endeavour is still central to what we do and the storytelling of this has inspired millions of people around the world, leading to huge growth in audience numbers, which is incredible.
It feels to me like the America’s Cup has lost something and there doesn’t seem to be an incentive for the organisers of the Cup to grow the audience and that is a real shame.
I am sure a cup team can benefit from the knowledge that an F1 team has, but I am guessing that works both ways, particularly with the budget cap in F1.
SA: Do you think our sport is in good shape?
AT: I think parts of the sport are in good shape, we are seeing a huge increase in participation of short-handed offshore racing and I am sure this is down to the challenge and the wish for owners to do more. It is such a pity that the mixed offshore event was dropped from the Olympics.
SA: What is a week in Alex Thomson’s life like?
AT: For the last couple of months we have pretty much been back to pre-COVID normality and it feels great! At the moment we are on the ‘road’ with the boat sailing with our partners and this week we will complete our tour of the Med. Each week is different but usually pretty busy! Right now my focus is working with my team to raise money for the next campaign so we can go again and to get a new skipper confirmed.
SA: Thanks mate!