Sailor Alex races on after boat repairs

Herman and Candelaria Zapp and their children

Family on 17-year round-the-world road trip visit Portsmouth

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A GOSPORT man in a round-the-world yacht race has thanked people for their messages of support on Facebook and Twitter after he hit an unknown object.

Skipper Alex Thomson collided with the object on Sunday while travelling at a speed of 22 knots, during his bid to win the Vendée Globe, forcing him to slow down to repair the rudder aboard his boat, Hugo Boss.

In an update at the time, he said: ‘I am gutted to have lost so many miles but fortunate that the known damage is repairable and that I am able to continue on my way.’

Now that one hydrogenerator is beyond repair, his use of electricity is down to a bare minimum, meaning he can only use the boat’s autopilot, and email and download weather information twice a day.

He said: ‘I am getting used to the lack of comms on board. I certainly miss speaking to my wife and the team but we still communicate via email so it is not the end of the world.’

The restricted use of power means that he will no longer be able to appear via video link at Alverstoke Junior School, as planned for this week.

Marrissa Ballard, a Year 5 teacher at the school said: ‘We are hoping that he manages to repair any damage to his boat very swiftly and he continues to make headway on to the leading pack.’