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Barcelona World Race

Alex Thomson’ substitute skipper to race during first days

Thursday 30 December 2010Redaction SSS [Source RP]

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Record Record #sailingrecord -breaking British skipper Alex Thomson is to fulfil his dream to compete again in the 80 day round the world epic Barcelona World Race Barcelona World Race #barcelonaworldrace after his entry was thrown into doubt following emergency surgery for acute appendicitis just two days before the race start on New Year’s Eve.

Today his team announced that substitute skipper Wouter Verbraak will sail yacht HUGO BOSS alongside Andy Meiklejohn for the first several days of the race until Alex Thomson has recovered enough to join the boat. Alex, who is expected to have made a full recovery within two weeks, is due to take the helm alongside Andy at the first opportunity once he has been passed fit.

This decision allowing Alex to join the race after the start on December 31st was agreed by the Race Organisation Organisation #organisation (FNOB) after consultation with independent adjudicators and The IMOCA Imoca #IMOCA Class. The Notice of Race allows for a replacement skipper to be nominated in the event that either of the skippers must retire from the race for certain exceptional medical circumstances. No provision existed within the current race regulations in the unlikely event that the skipper is unable to begin the race so close to the start. After careful consideration and with the full backing of the other IMOCA Imoca #IMOCA skippers, the Race Organisation Organisation #organisation will issue an amendment to the race rules Rules #irc #ims for this one unique circumstance relating to Alex Thomson and his team’s entry in the Barcelona World Race Barcelona World Race #barcelonaworldrace .

Alex Thomson said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in the race after such a devastating setback so close to the start and would like to thank everyone who has made this possible from the Race Organisation to the excellent Barcelona World Race Barcelona World Race #barcelonaworldrace medical team. I am lucky to have a talented skipper such as Wouter on standby and I’m confident in his abilities to see HUGO BOSS through the first phase of the journey alongside Andy.”

Wouter Verbaak is one of Holland’s most talented sailors and an expert navigator with over 10 years experience in offshore racing, including the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race Volvo Ocean Race #VolvoOceanRace (VOR) for Team Russia and Navigator in 2009 VOR for Delta Lloyd.

Stewart Hosford, Alex Thomson Racing Director, said: “We are delighted the team is able to start the race as planned, and we are very fortunate to have substitute skipper Wouter Verbaak stepping in for Alex. Wouter has worked with our team for some time and is well known and trusted by both Alex and Andy.

The setback has of course been a huge disappointment for Alex but the team have every confidence in Wouter taking on the challenge and working with Andy to complete a successful first phase of the journey. Throughout this Alex has remained determined to take part so the news that this is now possible is fantastic. Our focus is now on his swift recovery as we cheer on Andy and Wouter as they set off tomorrow.”

It is thanks to Alex’s fast acting team and medical staff for ensuring his symptoms were diagnosed so quickly and an operation performed immediately. Had it not been detected and Alex had started the race, the consequences of this could well have been fatal. He is now recovering and whilst bitterly disappointed about not being at the start he is in good spirits as he looks forward to joining Andy as soon as possible.

- Press info www.alexthomsonracing.com



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