The solo sailing blog: Supporting fellow competitors

Alex Thomson
jean pierre 300x225 The solo sailing blog: Supporting fellow competitors

French skipper Jean-Pierre Dick (Getty Images)

On Saturday morning I decided to change my course to stay with Jean-Pierre Dick, just until I knew that he was happy with the boat and made his decision about what to – whether to stop or to continue in the race with a broken keel.

The front passed over myself and JP and I stuck around him to make sure he had company in case anything had happened to him. JP is a great sailor and I am confident in his ability to sail safely to wherever he chooses but I know that if I was in his position I would like to have someone watching my back through the strong winds.

He did not ask me to assist in any way but I felt that I could not just sail off and leave him until I knew that he was confident and had confirmed his intentions. It was simple for me really, if he had a problem I would try and help him and once he had got through the worst of the weather safely and was happy with the boat, if he then decided to continue with the race safely, then I would adjust my course and continue with mine. This is exactly what I did. I just didn’t want to be too far away from him, in case he had an issue with the coming strong winds.

This is my correspondence with Jean-Pierre, where I made my plans clear to him.

“Hello Jean-Pierre,

The sea is increasingly big today.

I’m not letting you navigate alone only when the wind will strengthen in a few hours. I’ll come and join you jibe, navigate at your side until the weather conditions (wind and waves) become more moderate in the Azores.

I know you did not ask for assistance, but it will not make a big difference to my race and anyway, I do not see any other boats for a few months, I feel alone!

I hope everything goes well for you,

Alex ”

Response to JP Alex Thomson

“Thank you Alex. It touches me deeply.

I will study the weather to see if I can continue to safely navigate to the Sables d’Olonne. I sent a photo with a message for you, “Alex, take this 3rd position with care” (take care of the third place). It is important to me!

Do not hesitate to call me.

JP ”

Yesterday JP called me on the phone to thank me for staying with him overnight and to also say he feels fully confident in his ability to now sail towards Portugal. With the good forecast and improving conditions, I was happy that the big danger had passed and I am now heading back towards Les Sables, and the finishing line!

I’m still getting your messages on Twitter @AlexThomson99 so please do keep them coming.

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