8:09 AM Thu 27 Oct 2011 GMT
Transat Jacques Vabre, raced every two years by duos, begins on 30 October 2011 in Le Havre, France. Alex Thomson and Guillermo Altadil will race Hugo Boss, the IMOCA Open 60 which won last year's Route du Rhum La Banque Postale in the hands of Roland 'Bilou' Jourdain.
Thomson's best finish in this race is a second place in his second participation in the race when he raced alongside Bilou on the former Sill in 2003. The British skipper who has set two 24 hours speed records in IMOCA Open 60's and finished second in the first edition of the Barcelona World Race in February 2008, had to withdraw from the last Transat Jacques Vabre after damage caused by an unidentified floating object, and - unfortunately - missed out on the last edition due to health problems suffered by his infant son Oscar.
Now after a relatively settled summer at home in the UK, during which he got married, Thomson is back with an ambitious programme, looking to the 2012 Vendee Globe:
How has your preparation been?
'We have not had a lot of preparation time at all, but the boat is very simple and Guillermo has sailed it a lot when it was first launched. In essence we have just got some new sails, new rigging and branded it up and that is really about it.
And how does the boat compared to the Juan K design?
'It is very easy compared to the other boat, very easy which I am not unhappy about. I think we felt that for this period and for this race, and especially for the BtoB that to be competitive with the other boat was going to be too much, too hard. So we came up with getting this boat, a simple, proven, easy boat and go for it.'
What are your feelings about the boat, it is a winner but had problems in the last race?
' We feel pretty confident with this boat. The boat had been leading the last Transat Jacques Vabre when it nearly sank. What happened to the boat does not really worry me at all, we have spoken to the designers and are happy.'
'I have had a really good summer, spending a lot of time in the UK which has been really nice.'
And what will be key to your race?
'Looking at the weather ahead, now it looks like there will be two depressions, two bashings and once we survive them then hopefully some nice racing to the sun.'
'Guillermo brings a lot of experience, like eight round the worlds, plus he knows this boat so well, so for me it is really an ideal situation.'
Transat Jacques Vabre website
by Transat Jacques Vabre