Hugo Boss skipper 'doesn't really want to go back' to the Southern Ocean

Alex Thomson is considering his future in ocean racing after his harrowing experience in the Southern Ocean. The cocksure 32-year old who left Bilbao on November 22 at the start of the 5 Oceans has returned to the UK contemplative and humbled. He said that he will make decisions after Christmas about his original intention to follow the 5 Oceans race by competing in the 2007-08 two-handed Barcelona World Race and the 2008-09 Vendee Globe.

Thomson said that at the moment his plans would remain unaltered but he added: ‘I need time to think about the whole thing and make sure I make the decision for the right reason. I’ve signed up for Barcelona and for the Vendee Globe, but this has been a pretty traumatic experience and I don’t want to say, ‘Yeah, I can’t wait to get back to the Southern Ocean’, because at this very moment I don’t really want to go back there. It is time to reflect.’

Having to abandon the stricken Hugo Boss will weigh heavily on Thomson’s mind, but, like Golding, he is one of the best-funded sailors in the business and he does have a new boat under construction in Lymington that is scheduled to be delivered in April.

Thomson has been shaken by his second narrow escape from the Southern Ocean. Ending up limping back into Cape Town and drinking in the same bar, two years after his withdrawal from the 2004-05 Vendee Globe when a mast broke, can do strange things to a superstitious sailor. Golding- who also abandoned the 5 Oceans race after turning back in Ecover to rescue Thomson – looked just as exhausted, and said that has been plagued by a recurring nightmare in which he fails to save Thomson.

Original interview by Matthew Pryor in the Times, for full article click here