Gosport sailing star Alex Thomson breaks world record in race
SAILOR Alex Thomson has today smashed the world record for the greatest distance sailed solo in 24 hours.
The Gosport sportsman is currently taking place in the Vendee Globe and broke the record on 60ft racing yacht notching up 536.8 miles in one day.
Alex, 42, sits second place just 70 miles behind French race leader Armel Le Cleac’h with 1,000 miles to go to the finish line.
During the 24-hour period Alex sailed his racing boat Hugo Boss at an average speed of 22.4 knots, or 25.7mph.
His distance beats the record of 534.48 miles set by French sailor Francois Gabart in the 2012-13 edition of the Vendee Globe.
Three years ago, Alex was made a Freeman of Gosport to mark his successful races around the globe.
It is the highest honour a borough council can give and was awarded at the end of a ceremony and procession through the town’s centre.
Alex was among a fleet of 29 mostly French solo sailors that set off from Les Sables d’Olonne in the Vendee region of France on November 6.
He bested Gabart’s record two weeks into the race, sailing 535.34 miles in 24 hours, but the rules of the record state it must be superseded by one whole mile.
He previously held the record between 2003 and 2012 with a distance of 468.72 miles. The new record will now be ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.
Thomson is expected to arrive in Les Sables d’Olonne on Thursday after 74 days at sea.
It is the fourth time he has competed in the Vendee Globe, which is considered among the toughest sporting challenges in the world. He finished third in the previous edition.