Vendee Globe winner Alex Thomson to receive the Freedom of Gosport

Alex Thomson
Alex Thomson

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SAILING legend Alex Thomson is set to receive Gosport’s highest honour.

The 39-year-old will have the Freedom of the Borough, awarded to him after he came third in a round-the-world solo circumnavigation of the planet.

Next Friday, his racing yacht Hugo Boss will be in Portsmouth Harbour as Gosport Borough Council gives him the honour at Esplanade de Royan.

Alex said: ‘It’s amazing, it’s a real honour.

‘Very few people get it so I feel privileged to be part of it.

‘I’m looking forward to being there with my family and friends.’

People who come along will be able to see his new boat on the water, which is being prepared ahead of the 2014 Ocean Masters New York-to-Barcelona Race.

Alex is due to take part and hopes to be one of the favourites.

He said: ‘It coincides with us putting the new boat on the water. It’s a exciting week for us.

‘We’re on schedule and on time, which is always good.

‘There’s a lot of work that’s been done to develop it to try and get it to be one of the favourites for the race.’

The ceremony starts at Esplanade de Royan at 10am on Friday, April 11.

Alex, of Gosport, will be there with his wife Kate, 39, and son Oscar, three.

As reported, councillors agreed to bestow the honour in July last year in recognition of his success in the Vendee Globe.

He won third place in race, in a time of 80 days, 19 hours, 23 minutes and 43 seconds.

In 1999 he was the youngest skipper to win a round-the-world yacht race in the Clipper Round the World Race.

And in 2003 and 2007 he broke the single-handed 24-hour monohull distance record.

Then in 2012 he sailed his way into the record books again, breaking the single-handed monohull transatlantic record by more than 24 hours.

Councillor John Beavis is the mayor of Gosport.

He said: ‘Gosport is extremely proud of Alex’s outstanding achievements.

‘He is a man who has not only set a fine example of courage and inspiration to the young people of the borough – he has also done his utmost to promote Gosport as his home town.

‘In doing so has really put Gosport on the map.’

He added the honour was given ‘in recognition of his input into the maritime history of Gosport’.