Then he overslept.
Thomson — who like many sailors sleeps in 20-minute bursts all through the day — had forgotten to cost his shockwave watch, specifically designed to launch an electrical shock to wake him up.
As an alternative, the 44-year-old from Gosport, England awoke to the thud of a broken stern, bow and foil on the starboard aspect of his 60-foot Hugo Boss yacht — and the pangs of a damaged coronary heart.
“It is an actual disgrace for me and the staff to be within the place that we’re in,” an emotional Thomson instructed reporters on Friday.
With no alternative however to begin his engine to flee the tough terrain, Thomson triggered a 24-hour penalty and has all however dashed plans for a champagne celebration.
Though he crossed the end line in Pointe-a-Pitre on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe first on Friday, the penalty means Thomson will possible place out of the highest three finishers of the race which started on November four off the coast of Saint Malo, in northern France.
“The jury has determined that I’ve a 24-hour penalty which is able to imply I can’t win the race,” he accepted.
“How do I really feel about that? Nicely, I believe that could be very honest as a result of I do not suppose I ought to win the race after hitting Guadeloupe.”
‘They do not suppose you are coming again’
Thomson completed second and third in consecutive Vendee Globe around-the-world solo races. He spent an astonishing 74 days at sea within the 2016-2017 version.
“In some methods it is simpler as a result of it isn’t fairly as daunting,” Thomson instructed CNN Sport days earlier than embarking on the Route du Rhum, “however on different hand, there isn’t any downtime and you’ll’t make a mistake — so it is a bit unforgiving,
“You are still racing throughout the Atlantic by yourself. The Vendee Globe is sort of gladiatorial — half 1,000,000 individuals flip up at first, most likely as a result of they do not suppose you are coming again.
“This one, I do not take into consideration not coming again. I take into consideration consuming rum within the Caribbean in just a few weeks.
“It is a totally different problem, however it’s not a leisure cruise. The boats have develop into sooner and sooner, in idea it is a downwind race which is fairly tense, there isn’t any time to get right into a rhythm and you will be extra drained than ever earlier than.”
That discuss of fatigue proved prophetic and spelled Thomson’s undoing.
Thomson deliberate to sleep in 20 to 40 minute bursts each two to 4 hours throughout this race, and made notice of an alarm clock wired to a loud horn to wake him up.
In case he was nonetheless asleep 5 minutes later, the shockwave watch was designed to ship a gentle however “not very nice” electrical shock.
Sadly, that system failed when Thomson slept proper by the horn on Thursday, and the modern-day threat of not charging one’s digital machine caught as much as him.