Stage set for Gosport hero Alex Thomson’s big return

The Vendee Globe 2016 - 2017
British yachtsman Alex Thomson onboard his Hugo Boss  IMOCA Open60. He finished 2nd in the Vendee Globe solo non stop around the world yacht race. Shown here in the Sables d Olonne port celebrating. He completed the solo non stop around the world race in Xdays. Xhours and X minutes

Photo by Lloyd Images PPP-170120-155803002
The Vendee Globe 2016 - 2017 British yachtsman Alex Thomson onboard his Hugo Boss IMOCA Open60. He finished 2nd in the Vendee Globe solo non stop around the world yacht race. Shown here in the Sables d Olonne port celebrating. He completed the solo non stop around the world race in Xdays. Xhours and X minutes Photo by Lloyd Images PPP-170120-155803002
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GOSPORT hometown hero Alex Thomson makes his grand return to the borough today after his incredible feats in a prestigious sailing competition.

Legendary Alex, 42, finished the Vendee Globe solo yacht race last month in just 74 days, matching Dame Ellen MacArthur as the best ever Briton in the race as she also finished runner-up in 2001.

He broke the British record by six days and also broke a world record for the most ground covered in 24 hours.

Alex will return to Gosport in a blaze of glory on his £3.5m Hugo Boss vessel, sailing into Portsmouth Harbour in a parade of sail from Spitbank Fort at 10.15am.

He will arrive at the ferry pontoon in Gosport at 11am where he will be met by the Mayor of Gosport, Councillor Lynn Hook.

From there, the dad-of-two will be given a guard of honour by councillors and Gosport sea cadets.

Then he and the mayor will give speeches in the Falklands Gardens before meeting members of the public.

Here is the timetable for Alex Thomson’s return;

8am Commence rigging Falklands Gardens for welcome home ceremony.

9am Falklands Gardens reception area preparations complete.

9.30am Councillors collect Robes from Town Hall. Gosport Solent Brass set up in Falklands Gardens.

ATR commentator in place in Falklands Gardens.

GBC Stewards and marshallers in place at Falklands Gardens for crowd control (with parade of sail at 10.15am-11am the public will arrive before 10am).

10.10am Gosport Solent Brass start playing.

10.15am Councillors and sea cadets arrive at Falkland Gardens.

10.15am-11am Parade of Sailing from Spitbank Forts and around Portsmouth Harbour.

10.30am Councillors and Sea Cadets form a backdrop along the ferry pontoon where Hugo Boss will berth.

10.45am Mayor and council VIPs arrive on ferry pontoon to welcome Alex.

11am Hugo Boss arrives alongside Pontoon (as the boat arrives alongside, a commentator announces three cheers for Alex).

11.05am Alex invites the mayor and GBC VIPs to see inside Hugo Boss.

11.15am (approx) After Gosport Ferry passengers clear, councillors and Gosport sea cadets form guard of honour along the ramp to cheer Alex as he passes through with the mayor.

11.20am (approx) Mayor to speak honouring the achievements of Alex. Alex will respond then will answer questions from the public.

11.45am (approx) Alex will go into the crowd an meet the public. During this time Alex Thomson Racing team is prepared to offer to supervise small groups for the opportunity to view Hugo from the ferry pontoon. They will not be able to board.

12.30pm-1pm Expected end of the homecoming.