Record hit for Gosport sailor

Alex Thomson smashed the long standing trans-Atlantic sailing record just ahead of the London Olympic 2012 opening ceremony  Picture: Christophe Launay

Alex Thomson smashed the long standing trans-Atlantic sailing record just ahead of the London Olympic 2012 opening ceremony Picture: Christophe Launay

Sir Ben Ainslie

Ainslie on a mission for Queen and county

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Gosport solo sailor Alex Thomson has smashed the single-handed monohull trans-Atlantic record aboard his Open 60 Hugo Boss by more than 24 hours – and in time for the 2012 Olympics.

The 38-year-old sailor crossed the line at 6.17pm on Thursday, setting a new time of eight days, 22 hours, eight minutes – beating the previous record which had been held for 10 years.

‘It has been a long few days,’ said Thomson.

‘The first half from New York was great, with weather conditions in our favour.

‘But things started to slow down the closer I got.

‘But the wind has held out and it’s so fantastic to have broken this record.’

Thomson set sail from New York on July 17 and covered 2,800 nautical miles in a quest to break the record for what is officially known as the ‘West to East Ambrose Lighthouse to Lizard Point Under 60ft Single-Handed Monohull Record, Male’, which stood at 10 days, 55 minutes and 19 seconds – set by Swiss sailor Bernhard Stamm aboard Bobst Group-Armor Lux 10 years ago.

Thomson’s secondary aim was to get home in time for the 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremony in order to support chairman and good friend, Sir Keith Mills.

‘When I set off I had no idea if I was going to be able to do it,’ said Thomson.

‘And it has been hard. Lack of sleep, broken instruments on the boat and constant exposure to the elements has really taken it out of me.

‘But it’s such a good feeling to have beaten it by such a great margin.’

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