Brian Thompson är rutinerad, och har dragit runt jorden i olika typer av båtar, men är relativt ny i Open 60-klassen. Pindar är ritad av Juan K, och en av de kraftfullaste båtarna (säkert en meter bredare än de flesta). Säkert toksnabb i rätt förhållanden, men inte särkilt lättseglad. Och man har haft rejäl otur med masten som har ramlat ner ett par gånger.
What are you major challenges the last few months before the start?
The major challenges come in the last few weeks before the start. Keeping the boat safe and avoiding damage is something I am very aware of. I also spend time undertaking as much training as possible, making sure I am fully prepared for the race. We have just had new sails fitted on the Pindar Open 60, so it is important to test them and check their reliability. It is also a time where I am learning as much as I possibly can about the boat before I set sail alone for three months.
What’s the biggest improvement this time in the Open 60 class? Hull, keel, rig, sails, systems?
All of the above have experienced huge improvements; the build quality, the design and the engineering, which results in far more powerful yet lighter boats. The boats are far bolder and technologically advanced than in previous years, which will make for an exciting race.
Sleep is always an issue sailing solo. What’s your approach?
It is important to establish a sleep pattern that works for me as early as possible into the race, which involves sleeping in short periods. Before the start, I try to be as well rested as possible, I don’t acclimatize myself to the sleeping pattern adopted at sea, it would be difficult to do that with a young family and I usually find that I fall into a pattern quite quickly anyway. Each skipper is different and the above method is a tried and tested approach that works well for me.
Which top three skippers will we see at the podium at the end of the race?
I think there will be a British skipper in the top three, and I think that those who stand the biggest chance are Mike Golding, Alex Thompson and I. It would be great if I were on the podium, but it is a long race and so much can happen during three months at sea. The French skippers really know their game and Loick Peyron would have to be my race favourite. Michel Desjoyeaux and Sebastien Josse also have a good chance of a podium finish.
Sixth in the last Route du Rhum on Artemis, this British yachtsman, who is still not very well known by the general public, is a true chameleon, who has such an exceptional ability to adapt to circumstances that he has become a vital figure on a large number of boats with one or two hulls, and not the least insignificant ones at that. The reason for this is Brian Thompson knows how to get the most out of everything that floats. There has to be a good reason for being named watch leader on giants like Cheyenne and PlayStation. Among his achievements, the Oryx Quest 2005, the round the world record in 2004 on Cheyenne, the Columbus Route the previous year on PlayStation… Brian has sailed a lot in recent years with his compatriot Mike Golding, who this time will be his rival in the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe. Rightly considered as one of the most experienced sailors on the international scene, he certainly will not be there just for the pleasure of going around the world.
Inspired directly by the boats in the Volvo Ocean Race (crewed round the world race), Pindar, designed by the architect Juan Kouyoumdjian is without any doubt the most powerful boat in the IMOCA fleet. Particularly speedy in light airs, she will certainly be tougher to handle than others in the southern seas. Her performance in the forthcoming Vendée Globe may well influence many future projects, as the boat is based on some radical choices.