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13 December 2003, 11:08 am
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Le Defi Atlantique
Salvador de Bahia (BRA) - La Rochelle (FRA)

Alex THOMSON still hasn't quite come to terms with breaking the World Speed Sailing 24hr Monohull Record yesterday morning, as he focuses on expanding and controlling his 15m advantage over PRB (Riou)
"It still hasn't really sunk in, but I've been bowled over by all the people who've sent messages to me. I think it'll hit me when I've crossed the finish line... Now the race with PRB is closer than ever, so I'm preparing myself today for a pretty difficult 36 hours ahead - but I'm going for the bullet."

In the same day as breaking a World Sailing Speed Record, AT Racing stopped completely for one and a half hours after the wind instruments failed and short-circuited all the electrics and autopilots: "I'm lucky this didn't happen when I was going for the record, but I still got really frustrated, as I broached when the pilot went and then lost 10 miles with the boat dead in the water whilst I got the second autopilot going. I still have no wind instruments, and so now I've got to stay out on deck most of the time to trim the boat to the smallest wind shift, which is crucial for boat speed."

Alex has only praise for the love of his life - his boat of course: "I'm so lucky, I've ended up with exactly the right partner, she is the most beautiful boat I've ever sailed, and I can't wait to look after her, she's looked after me so well during the race - I love her!"
Mary Scrambler
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