CHAMPION skipper Alex Thomson’s dream to become the first Briton to win the Vendée Globe is in serious jeopardy after his yacht was hit by a French fishing boat as he arrived at the start line.
Mr Thomson, who remains the youngest ever winner of the Clipper Round-the-World race, has spent the past four years preparing for the single-handed round-the-world race, which is regarded as the ultimate in solo racing.
His yacht had been moored two miles from the entrance to Les Sables d’Olonne when the 60ft fishing boat smashed into the starboard side early yesterday morning. The mast, which had been specially made in New Zealand, was brought down in the collision, and the yacht was left with a severe hole in its bow.
His father Peter, who lives in Jersey and is due to meet him son in France today, said: ‘Alex was delivering his boat to the start of the race and it was moored up in Les Sables d’Olonne. At about 2.30 am yesterday morning, it was rammed by a French fishing boat. The body of the boat is damaged and the mast is at the bottom of the sea. It’s absolutely disastrous for Alex and his crew – they have been preparing for this race for four years.’