Emergency rescue in high seas – VELUX supports safety as top priority
Early morning Thursday 23 November, 1,000 miles south of South Africa's coast skipper Alex Thomson on board Hugo Boss suffered a severe keel damage that caused him to abandon ship.
Early morning Thursday 23 November, 1,000 miles south of South Africa's coast skipper Alex Thomson on board Hugo Boss suffered a severe keel damage that caused him to abandon ship. Fellow British skipper Mike Golding, ECOVER, the nearest competitor, immediately responded to the request for assistance and turned back upwind for a dramatic rescue.
Safety and solidarity
Friday morning 24 November, VELUX 5 OCEANS skipper Mike Golding completed a successful rescue operation of his nearest competitor and compatriot. Alex Thomson was sailing through the treacherous Southern Ocean, 1,000 miles southeast of the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) when suddenly he suffered severe keel damage that almost capsized his boat and made it impossible for him to continue. Mike Golding had to sail upwind in 30 knots of wind and big seas in order to reach Alex Thomson. Early Friday, around 06:35GMT, the two skippers breathed a sigh of relief when Alex finally boarded ECOVER and the two embraced in a warm hug.
I am very grateful for Mike's invariable support. This is no doubt the scariest experience of my life. This boat has been my life for three years. It is wrong to leave her here, and I would have sacrificed everything to save her, if possible,
The rescue operation was completed despite the high waters of the treacherous Southern Ocean and additional engine problems for Mike Golding. The success of the rescue is a testament to the priority of fellow safety and the professionalism and bravery of both skippers. As race sponsor VELUX supports the priority of safety and the mutual concern among the brave competitors of VELUX 5 OCEANS.
Only for the most experienced skippers Thomson and Golding are both highly experienced yachtsmen and they carried out the rescue operation with the utmost caution. It took four attempts to get Thomson safely onboard ECOVER and the transfer took one hour and 45 minutes. Now ECOVER will turn back towards Fremantle and focus on Leg 1 of the VELUX 5 OCEANS. Mike Golding, who had been setting an impressive pace in second place before turning back to assist HUGO BOSS, will not be penalised after this heroic rescue. His time will be altered to take into account his courageous act of solidarity to a fellow competitor in a time of crisis.
VELUX supports safety Race sponsor VELUX supports the safety and mutual solidarity among these brave circumnavigators. In VELUX 5 OCEANS, recognized as the longest thoughts sporting event for an individual, safety must have top priority.
As race sponsor our top priority is of course the safety of the skippers. Mike Golding's extraordinary rescue of fellow competitor and countryman Alex Thompson clearly expresses the character of these brave skippers. Safety always comes first,
Alex Thompson is regrettably out of the race leaving only six skippers still competing in the VELUX 5 OCEANS.