Thomson searches for a new skipper as he stays grounded

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Thomson has competed in the IMOCA circuit for 19 years, including five successive Vendée Globes with two podium finishes and numerous world records.

The 47-year-old, who has close family ties to Jersey and brought his £6 million boat Hugo Boss to the Island last month is now on the lookout for a new skipper to take his place.

‘I have had the privilege to compete and race IMOCA 60s for almost 20 years. I love the sport but it’s now time for me to spend more time on land, with my young family,’ he said.

‘My wife Kate has single-handedly raised our children for the last 10 years while I have pursued my dream. Now I want to support Kate and allow her the same opportunity that she has given me. This doesn’t mean that I am retiring – just changing my role, from spending most of my time at sea, to spending more of it on land.

‘Aside from being a skipper, I have always believed that it is my role to be an ambassador for our sport, telling the story to an international audience. In the last 20 years we have sailed to every corner of the globe, from Russia to Mexico, Canada, Australia and Taiwan, and even up the River Yangtze to Shanghai, China. There is a huge global fanbase who follow and love the Vendée Globe.

‘I want to continue to promote the sport, tell the story and share my knowledge and experience, but with a focus on the next generation,’ he added.

‘The goal has always been to win the Vendée Globe, which to me remains the toughest sporting challenge left in the world today, and we haven’t accomplished that yet. This is the start of a new chapter, with a new skipper, and we will provide him or her with all the tools, knowledge, experience and environment to win.’

In the 20 years since Thomson first appeared on the IMOCA 60 scene, the sport of offshore sailing has changed considerably; the yachts have evolved to push the boundaries of technology and innovation in a similar way to Formula 1, with Thomson’s team producing some of the most ground-breaking IMOCA’s 60s in the last 10 years.

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