Sailing-Britain's Thomson to skip 2024 Vendee round world race

FILE PHOTO: British sailor Alex Thomson poses next to his IMOCA 60 yacht "Hugo Boss" moored in London, Britain, September 19, 2019. Picture taken September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Alexander Smith

(Reuters) - Britain’s Alex Thomson will not compete as a skipper in the round-the-world Vendee Globe solo race in 2024, although he said on Monday he did not rule out a return.

Thomson’s last Vendee Globe attempt ended in disappointment in November 2020 when a broken rudder on his boat HUGO BOSS forced him to abandon his dream of becoming the first non-French winner of the 24,000 nautical mile non-stop race.

“This doesn’t mean that I am retiring, just changing my role, from spending most of my time at sea, to spending more of it on land,” Thomson said in a statement, adding the change would allow him more time with his young family and give his wife Kate “the same opportunity” that she had given him.

Thomson, with financial backing from German fashion house Hugo Boss, has competed on the IMOCA class circuit for 19 years, including five successive Vendee Globe, in which he achieved two podium finishes and several world records.

Thomson said he and his team will remain together but with a new skipper, adding that they would provide “him or her with all the tools, knowledge, experience and environment to win”.

The ninth edition of the Vendee Globe was eventually won in January by Yannick Bestaven, who was awarded a time compensation for his role in the rescue of fellow Frenchman Kevin Escoffier, whose boat sank during the gruelling race.

Reporting by Alexander Smith; Editing by Christian Radnedge