British skipper Alex Thomson has set off to compete in the Route du Rhum race for the first time ever today, Friday 2 November

Alex Thomson is competing in La Route du Rhum: Destination Guadeloupe for the first time ever.

The British sailor joined 123 skippers, across six different classes, and departed from Saint-Malo, Brittany today (Friday 2 November) to compete in one of the most famous French solo offshore races.

Thomson was one of 20 IMOCA skippers to set off from the starting line.
Despite never competing in the Route du Rhum before, Thomson begins the race as one of the favourites within the IMOCA class. He will compete on-board ‘HUGO BOSS’, the boat he sailed to a second place, record-breaking finish, in the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe.

Ahead of the race start today, Thomson said: “It’s great to be here in Saint-Malo. This is one of my favourite French cities and I can’t quite believe how many people have travelled here to see the boats depart. It’s just incredible. For me, this race is a real opportunity to test myself and push the boat in order to deliver what we know she is capable of. We saw from the last Vendée Globe that ‘HUGO BOSS’ is one of, if not the, fastest IMOCA in the fleet so I’m excited to see what we can do in this race.”
This will be the final race that Thomson will compete in on-board the current HUGO BOSS boat. In summer 2019, Alex Thomson Racing will launch a brand new IMOCA 60, which the skipper will race in the 2020-2021 Vendée Globe.

In its 40th year the Route du Rhum takes place every four years in November. The race starts in St-Malo, Brittany and ends in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe.