Thomson forced to retire from Transat race

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The Independent Online

The gremlins which have plagued Alex Thomson’s ocean racing career have struck again, a hole in the bow of his Open 60 Hugo Boss forcing him to retire from the Transat Jacques Vabre when lying in fourth place.

He and co-skipper Daniel Ross were heading for the Azores, rueing yet another dose of bad luck which forced him out of the Vendee Globe solo round the world race a year and, earlier out of the Around Alone.

A hole in the starboard bow was letting in a controllable amount of water, but could not be repaired and there were 2,500 miles to the finish in Costa Rica. The boat is expected in Horta, Azores on Thursday.

Race leaders are still Marc Guillemot and Charles Caudrelier-Benac in Safran but Mike Golding and Javier Sanso have given up second place to Kito Pavant and Francois Gabart in Bel. There is then a gap of 230 miles to Roland Jourdain and Jean-Luc Nelias in Veolia while the British pair of Dee Caffari and Brian Thompson move up to seventh. Still last, but battling on, are Sam Davies and Sidney Gavignet in Artemis.

In Nice the four semi-finalists in the Louis Vuitton Trophy will be Emirates Team New Zealand, Britain’s Team Origin, Italy’s Azzurra and Russia’s Synergy, which races ETNZ today (Tuesday) when ETNZ will choose its semi-final opponent, leaving the other two to face each other.

Pulling out of an attempt to set a new Jules Verne Trophy non-stop round the world record, Franck Cammas reported that the giant trimaran Groupama had broken its aft beam bulkhead and was slowly making its way 1,700 miles to Cape Town.