MEMBERS have the public have called Alex Thomson an inspiration following his achievement in the Vendee Globe.
Viv and Terry Fry, from Funtley, said they followed the 42-year-old’s progress throughout the contest.
Viv, 62, said: ‘I think Alex did fantastically and what he has achieved is really good for the local area. I don’t know when he would have slept!
Terry, 78, added: ‘It is a wonderful thing, but I kept thinking “why would you want to do that!” It shows how lucky we are to be here with the Solent.’
Keith Ryan, 72, of Peel Common, said: ‘It is marvellous. But his timing wasn’t the best on the same day with Donald Trump being sworn in.
‘With Alex and Ben Ainslie in the area, it has really helped put Gosport and Portsmouth more on the map than they already are.
Success breeds success and, for the local area, it can mean nothing but good for the future.Derek McArthur
‘I have been to some places he sailed and the Bay of Biscay is not a pleasant place at the best of times.
Keith’s wife, Margaret, 68, said: ‘He could only have a maximum of 45 minutes’ sleep at a time, which is incredible.’
Derek and Mildred McArthur were on holiday in Lee-on-the-Solent from Bath and followed the closing stages of the race.
Derek, 79, originally from York, said: ‘It is a wonderful achievement. We were in Vendee about 25 years ago and remember how big sailing was there. We watched him cross the finishing line and he deservedly got the reception for what he achieved.
‘Success breeds success and, for the local area, it can mean nothing but good for the future.’
Diana Moore, 69, from Gosport, said: ‘Sailing on the Solent is really popular and he can help inspire youngsters.’
Jeffery Porter, 69, said: ‘I think he did really well, especially with the early problems that he had when he was ahead.
‘It is a great achievement and for the area.’